There is a group I am considering joining in the fall called Sooners Without Borders, previously known as Engineers Without Borders. SWB goes on trips to El Salvador to help farming communities by installing solar-powered irrigation systems and other water systems, in 2014 they even planted a fruit garden for a local school. They usually go on these trips over Thanksgiving break and are accompanied by five faculty members. Going on a service trip with an organization like SWB or Global Brigades (a similar organization that also provides medical and dental services in addition to water treatment) has started to make more and more sense to me. As a civil engineer one of the biggest problems I will work on is water quality and management, and getting the chance to serve others while enhancing my engineering skill set is an invaluable experience. Another unique aspect of a trip of this nature is that you don’t see all of the touristy or stereotypical parts of a country, you get the chance to see the way everyday people exist in El Salvador.Their next meetings won’t be until next fall, and the last one of this semester was cancelled due to severe weather, but I am looking forward to attending the first meeting of the year and learning about the impact I can make as an engineer.
In conclusion here are the reasons I want to join SWB:
- Help people gain access to clean water.
- Use engineering in a real-world setting.
- Experience the culture of another country without the filter of a tourist.
- Learn more about CEES(Civil Engineering and Environmental Science).
Also here’s a link to a news story about SWB.