Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Harrison Schultz

Nepal Team Founder

Harrison is a fifth year, materials science and engineering major from Davie, FL. He will be graduating this December. His favorite color is green, favorite animal is a penguin, and favorite food is Dhal Bhat. When asked for a fun fact, Harrison claimed the title of Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006.

When asked about the Nepal team, these were his answers:

How did you get involved with EWB?

I was once a young, naive college freshman, who had a dream of traveling abroad during my time at the University of Florida. I knew I wanted to do some sort of volunteer work in an exotic place, perhaps Africa, or maybe Southeast Asia. I also wanted to save the world. But, unfortunately, there was no such study abroad program.

And that's when I stumbled upon an Engineers Without Borders flyer. It told me to me to go to a meeting and learn all about the club. At this meeting, they discussed all of their past and current projects in Cambodia, Macedonia, and Bolivia. However, they also explained that not everyone can travel on EWB projects. EWB is a group effort, coming from all corners of the organization. This is when I realized that EWB, at its root, is not about traveling. Instead, it is about camaraderie, teamwork, and rallying around a common goal: to engineer sustainable projects for the greater good of communities in need. Whether an EWB member is designing engineering projects, fundraising for chapter expenses, or advertising our organization's mission, each member played a crucial role in furthering EWB's goal. In doing so, EWB has the potential to develop the global leaders of the future.

After my realization of this "greater good" that EWB has to offer, I set my travel aspirations aside. I was now hooked on helping EWB in any way possible. I started on the Domestic Teams and helped in several projects around the local Gainesville area. I then became the Involvement Chair, in which I promoted EWB through social media and fundraising events, eventually increasing membership in the organization.

But then my real breakthrough with EWB occurred when I received an email to apply to Technion University's Engineering in Developing Communities program in Nepal. After being accepted, I spent over a month in Nepal, working with some of the greatest minds in global engineering, such as Dr. Bernard Amadei, the founder of EWB-USA. My final project took place in the village of Khanalthok, in which I had to assess the issues that hinder the community's development. To say the least, I fell in love with the community, and couldn't let our relationship end. I wanted to continue the work I started that summer and see the village thrive as a "model community" for development.

Fast forward a few months into my senior year. With the help of EWB, the Nepal Team was assembled, with the most passionate students at the University of Florida. It is a humbling to see my journey start as a travel-hungry freshman to witnessing the start of a program that will change the face of a community on the other side of the world.

What are your goals for Nepal?

Khanalthok, Nepal is a community made up of driven and hard-working individuals, who all want to see their village thrive. They face many challenges, such as poverty, lack of clean water, very poor road access, limited medical treatment, lack of jobs and economic opportunities, and no diversity of crops for trade.

The Nepal Team has completed its assessment trip this summer of 2014, and we are now in the post-assessment phase where we have to decide what is most important for the community's development and quality of life. I hope that we choose a fitting first project that will make a sustainable impact on Khanalthok.

I also hope that our relationship with Khanalthok continues for several years after our first project ends, in which EWB-UF can continue providing projects to the community. My goal is to see Khanalthok become a "model community" for all other villages that seek further development.

Anything else you want to tell the blog readers?

Thank you everyone for your support! I could not have started the Nepal Team without the assistance of EWB, Technion University, my family and friends, and everyone who has donated to the project. But most importantly, this project could not have come to fruition without the dedication and hard work of every single Nepal Team member. Each member has dedicated countless hours and late nights, on top of their busy schedules as engineering students, to help a community in need. I could not have asked for a better team!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hello Fall 2014

Can you believe the UF Fall 2014 semester starts tomorrow? Did you keep up with the Engineers Without Borders UF Chapter over the summer?

Catch up with the Nepal team. We went on our first assessment trip in May.
Read all about the assessment in the blog posts.
Check out the awesome pictures of our adventure.

Get ready for an awesome Fall semester. We have a bunch of cool things in store for the project and the blog. Every week you will be able to get to know members of the team. Check this Wednesday for the first Student Spotlight. We will also be keeping you up to date on what's going on with the project. Exciting surprise posts are coming too!

Keep coming back to visit!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Assessment Trip Update

Hello everyone!

I wanted to tell you all some exciting news. After our Assessment trip in May, the team was required to put together a document for EWB called a Post-Assessment Report, or a 522. The team has been putting lots of work into analyzing data and writing up the report.

Today, our fearless leader Harrison submitted our 522!! Yay!

In the coming weeks, EWB will review the document and give us the go ahead to start designing something for the community and planning our implementation trip. Fall starts in a couple of weeks and we are looking forward to an awesome year!

In Gainesville,