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NDSU students build school for Guatemalan village

Published December 02, 2013

Their goal is to build a better world, one project at a time. From the looks of things, the NDSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders is making headway.

In 2012, the civil engineering group built a water system for the tiny community of Las Tablitas in Guatemala. Then, during January and March 2013, chapter members went back to build a new three-room schoolhouse for the village and its children.

During 10 days in January, three NDSU students and a mentor constructed the school’s foundation and floor. The mission in March was for four students and their mentor to build the walls and put on the roof in the same amount of time.

“It basically was a replica of an old school they had at the same location,” explained NDSU senior Chris Larson, the chapter’s president from Maple Grove, Minn. “Their old building, which was torn down, was a very rickety structure. It was missing walls and it actually had a mud floor.” The new structure, with a concrete floor and cinderblock walls, meets U.S. building codes.

Engineers Without Borders is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that supports development projects around the world. At the same time, participants have experiences that transform their global perspective and strengthen their leadership skills.

Engineers Without Borders chapters make five-year commitments to their host community. The NDSU chapter is now designing a second water project for the people of Las Tablitas, and another trip is scheduled for early in 2014.

The NDSU students who participated in the January Guatemala trip were Kevin Kruger from Rice, Minn., Rae Freed from Maple Grove, Minn., and Bryce Oswald, who now lives in Kansas City. They were accompanied by mentor Josh Schroeder from Fargo, who works for Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson Inc.

Students who went to Guatemala in March included Larson, Dan Elemes from Fargo, Jordan Gerber from Fargo and Luisa Torres from Guatemala City, Guatemala. Their mentor was Joel Paulsen of Moorhead, who is with Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson Inc.


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