March 27, 2018

NDSU engineering students designing, building community center in Guatemala


The NDSU student group Engineers Without Borders is working to change lives for people in a small town in Guatemala.

NDSU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders has been working in the village of Las Tablitas since 2011, sending down teams to work with the community on a water distribution system and a new schoolhouse. Now they’ve turned their attention to designing and building a new community center.

“Our original plan was to finish the water distribution system we started so long ago, but the village asked us to construct a new community center,” said civil engineering sophomore Max Baker. “We were honored that the community reached out to us about what they needed most.”

The community center will be used for meetings, as a place for medical teams to provide volunteer medical assistance and as a general space for the community to use as needed. For the past several months teams of NDSU students have been working on the structural, water, sanitation and solar energy designs.

Due to the large scope of this project, it’s been split into two phases. Phase I consists of demolition of the existing structure, sanitation design implementation and hooking up the water distribution system. Phase II will consist of building the structure, installing solar panels and adding water filtration.

The total cost of the project is about $42,000 and the group still needs about $3,000 to fund Phase I.

Besides raising money for their project from local companies the students are also asking for community support through an online donation page.

“The mission of Engineers Without Borders is to build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities and we’re excited NDSU can be a part of that effort," said Paige Meskan, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and finance team lead for the NDSU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Engineers Without Borders is a nonprofit organization that partners with developing communities across the world, working towards improving the quality of life through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects.

The U.S. based organization has more than 300 chapters and has been a part of projects on every habited continent.

Membership is open to all students of NDSU, regardless of major.

As a student-focused, land grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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