New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Community Engagement Division
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) at Montana State University (MSU) is an organization that has been successful in generating increased student engagement through service learning and is unique in the degree to which the organization has been built and directed by student volunteers. For the last decade, students have shouldered the responsibility associated with developing an organization that collaborates with primary schools in the Khwisero district of Western, Kenya to develop water and sanitation solutions. The continued success of the organization requires students to overcome the difficulty of year-to-year continuity, develop skills to undertake complex problems, and work in an unfamiliar culture to implement projects. To address these challenges, students engage faculty advisors, professionals and their peers to generate solutions collectively. While in the United States, students learn to perform all the activities of an international aid organization while simultaneously developing the next generation of student volunteers. While in Kenya, students continue to develop skills to overcome difficulties associated with international development where strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication, project management, and an awareness of power differentials are necessary implement projects successfully. We propose that the achievements of EWB at MSU are a result of the level of responsibility the students have assumed, where there is real potential for failure, and the support of the MSU community for this style of organization. This case study explores the lessons learned in the development of a self-directed student organization conducting a long-term international service-learning project.
Plymesser, K., & Sheumaker, D. L., & Allen, C. R. (2016, June), Engineers Without Borders-Montana State University: A Case Study in Student-Directed Engagement in Community Service Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26681
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