Monday, November 30, 2015

Perspective from a New Team Member

Fresh in university and in a foreign country far from home:  stepping onto UF campus to begin my undergraduate degree was both exciting and frightening at the same time. Everything felt foreign, strange and unfamiliar. But in addition to the many peculiarities I had to learn and adapt, I found great friends sharing similar dreams and ideals. In the beginning of the fall semester, I joined the Nepal Team, a part of UF’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter. Over the span of these months, I have gotten to know a passionate, hard-working and outgoing group of people from all over the world, pursuing a wide range of engineering degrees, with a diverse plethora of cultural backgrounds and different goals for their own future. Yet they all share a common trait: a strong passion for helping those who do not have the opportunities that we enjoy here at UF.

Becoming a member of the EWB Nepal team is one of the best decisions I have made at UF, and I felt included from day one. While many engineering clubs meet only in their labs, with members rarely seeing each other outside the club, the Nepal Team has a strong, compassionate atmosphere. We bond over car-washes and fundraising events, take care of each other and make friends for life. The enthusiasm for the project is great, and knowing that there is a purpose greater than oneself adds another dimension to our work.

I decided to join the UF’s EWB Nepal Team because the team’s values resonate so well with the perception I have of my major: I believe that engineering is the answer to many of today and tomorrow’s challenges, ranging from freshwater scarcity to land-mine victim prosthesis. Global engineering requires a global perspective, and this is what makes EWB so unique: it offers not only a peek into the challenges faced and the solutions engineered by peoples across the world, but also a unique insight into their very culture, thinking and way of life.

I believe that challenges faced by one people in one country rarely are unique for that country, and rarely have a cause confined to that area solely. Solutions are best formed through collaboration across cultural, ethnical and geographical backgrounds. The examples are numerous. Every day, in every part of the world, innovative engineering is pushing the world forward.

The Khanalthok community is no exception. Despite being faced with shortage of necessities such as clean, reliable drinking water, the villagers in Khanalthok get up every day and work hard to ensure food on the table, take care of the elderly, and to provide education for the young.  Nevertheless, there are many burdening difficulties, and the earthquake in May had a shattering impact on the fragile community. Many suffer from severe back problems because of heavy loads from carrying weighty baskets of drinking water from remote springs.

However, simple solutions can make a big difference. I work alongside incredible colleagues in the Nepal Team, and we are making rapid progress. The work is both inspirational and educative, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to learn about the peoples in Khanalthok, their culture and their ways of life. I am a part of the UF EWB Nepal Team both to learn and to contribute, and I am incredibly excited for the up-coming year.

Andreas Noer (Norway)

Mechanical Engineering Sophomore 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pizza at Blaze

On Thursday November 19, 2015 from 6pm to 9pm, the EWB Nepal Team held an event at Blaze Pizza in Gainesville, FL. Each flier presented to the cashier donated 20% of the profits from that meal to our team.  

All profits help our team fulfill our mission of providing Khanalthok, Nepal with a safe source of potable water.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support the EWB Nepal Team!

Check back soon for more dinner fundraisers you might be able to attend.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How Our Team is Broken Down

Our team consists of 15 students of different engineering disciplines. Within the EWB UF Nepal team we have formed three sub-teams--Communications Team, Design Team, and Fundraising Team--to better organize our efforts.

Communications Team
The goal of the Communications Team is to keep in contact with citizens of Khanalthok, our local NGO partner, and other contacts based in Nepal. The team updates them with any news or advances we have made on our project. The communications team interactions revolve around the past, current, and future state of the community. 

Design Team
The design team plans to implement a sustainable solution to the lack of readily available, potable water in combination with low sanitary practices at the secondary school. They are designing a rainwater catchment system to be implemented at the secondary school to provide an additional source of water. We are also proposing to repair the current water tank and link the rainwater catchment system to the water tanks. This will also help distribute water for washing practices and drinking use. The purpose of the team is to ensure the design of our project works efficiently, and is sustainable in the long run.

Fundraising Team
The purpose of the fundraising team is to raise the funds necessary to properly implement our design. In order to help raise the funding for the upcoming implementation trip, our team is working on establishing partnerships with local rotary clubs and corporate engineering companies, completing grants, and hosting fundraising events. The events hosted are used to not only raise money but to also raise awareness about our project.


Monday, October 26, 2015

The Importance of Corporate Sponsorship

Facing a lofty budget of $30,000 our team is pursuing multiple fundraising opportunities. From working events, to applying for grants, we have done it all in this short, albeit busy year.

We have raised over $700 by putting on our own car washes and working concessions during a basketball game. We made over $800 from our first event of the semester, an all day festival called Kegs for Kids. Lastly, we received a $5,000 grant award from the Engineers Without Borders Fall Grant Cycle sponsored by SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers).

Although $6,500—the approximate total so far—might have been acceptable for an assessment trip,  we are only a third of the way top our funding goal for next summer’s implementation.

This year, we are hoping to add corporate sponsorships to the list of fundraising approaches. Corporate sponsorship is a beneficial way to raise funds because of the mutually beneficial relationship we can establish with corporate companies. As a team, we can offer engineering minds (for internships and full time positions) with transformative experiences that come from working on a project of this magnitude; and corporate companies offer the sponsorship award that will make our project successful, and allow us to bring a sustainable source of potable water to the people of Khanalthok, Nepal. In addition, these companies can also advertise with us allowing them to spread the word of their humanitarian efforts. They can have their logo on our Facebook page, and even take out a full page ad in our newsletter that is sent out to hundreds of contacts our team has built since its founding.

With the money raised from corporate sponsorship, we can send additional students to Nepal to receive the hands on technical training that is so hard to come by through other organizations. With sponsorship can also afford to buy the best materials possible to ensure that our designed solution will be implemented correctly, and sustainable for multiple generations to come in Khanalthok.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How EWB Impacts Students

Working on Engineers Without Borders (EWB) projects gives students members both long term and short term benefits. We work now because we have a desire to improve the community's well being through their project, but that doesn't mean we can't get experience in the process.

During enrollment at the university the students work hands on with professional advisors to research and design a real life engineering project. 

In the short term, students identify and carry through the necessary background research needed to ensure a realistic and sustainable design is produced. After the design is produced, students receive training in how to build the design so that successful implementation of the design can be ensured. Additionally, EWB members learn how to write technical papers so the project can be approved by EWB.

Long term skills that EWB students develop include innovative thinking and problem solving skills, real world engineering experience, cultural appreciation, and global mindedness.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kegs for Kids: A Great Event with Great People

A crisis is a crisis to everyone and we've expanded our audience.  

On October 10th, 2015, EWB UF Nepal Team hosted an event called Kegs for Kids at the local Gainesville brewery, First Magnitude. Geared towards people of all ages, the event fostered exposure of this wonderful program to a wide distribution of people: mothers, fathers, singles, and kids. We were eager and equipped with tickets, flyers, raffles, and our handy-dandy poster. We took on a flow of customers nearly as abundant as the ale flowing from the barrels.  

This picture shows some of the event's 
attendees that stuck around and concluded 
great night with a great Gator win.
The event was full of activities, including a DJ, a jazz group and a rock band. With the commodity of giant versions of classic games such as Jenga, Scrabble and checkers, and Gator Football streaming on the big screen (pictured), every person at the venue found themselves deeply satisfied by the close of the event.

One by one, they lined up to donate money and drink their hoppy. Eager to guzzle down their favorite brews and learn more about how important the work we're doing in Nepal is, everyone in the building seemed to be able to walk away with a full heart, mind and belly. 



We met incredible people who are genuinely interested in our organization, raised money for a worthy cause and cemented our desire to host an event similar to this in the near future. Truly a wonderful time for a troupe of wonderful people in attendance.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall 2015 Application Extension

Good morning EWB Enthusiasts!

We know just how busy this week can be. With UF's Career Showcase and exams Every. Day. This. Week. Our team has agreed to extend the application deadline. The application will be due this Friday (10/2) at 6 PM. That's TOMORROW at 6 PM.

Click the button below to download the application.




You can use information from our 2014 Post-Assessment Trip Document, 2014 Assessment Trip Presentation2015 Post-Assessment Trip Documentthe blog, and the Facebook page to get to know the project and use the info to develop the ideas you present in your video.

Submit your application to ewb.ufl.nepal@gmail.com.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Secondary Assessment

Hi everyone!


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mackenzi and I am a third year Biological Engineer at the University of Florida. This is my second year on the Nepal Team and last August I traveled to Khanalthok, Nepal for our Secondary Assessment.


When we first arrived in Nepal and made our way through the capital, the damage caused by the earthquake was clear. Entire buildings were destroyed, several temporary tin roofs were placed on homes, and most buildings were kept standing with 2X4’s.
Durbar Square 03 - earthquake damage.JPGIMG_2024.JPG

I also experienced a little of the culture shock that Taylor mentioned in her very first blog-post from Nepal. Just driving through the streets I could see amazing differences. Cluttered and unorganized telephone lines clouded the skyline, people and motorcycles crowded the streets, and the smell of amazing food was overwhelming.
Kathmandu streets - electric lines 05.JPGIMG_2030.JPG


After exploring different parts of Kathmandu, we made our way to the village of Khanalthok.
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On August 19th, 2015, Matt (student), Kiran (student), Shree Krishna (NGO contact), Bibhu (volunteer), Sheila (volunteer), Maurice (mentor), Dr. Ullman (mentor), and I arrived in Khanalthok, Nepal at the Shree Janahit Secondary School.
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As soon as I walked into the courtyard I was sold. The students, faculty, and the area itself captured my heart immediately. We were so graciously greeted by the school faculty and many small smiling faces! It was hard not to frantically wave at everyone and even more difficult to take in our surroundings. But really, the students at the school were so curious and eager to see their new visitors! During our initial meeting with the faculty, the kids were crowding in the doorways and pushing each other out of the way just to get a glimpse of what was happening inside. Except every time I looked their way they sheepishly turned away with giggles.
IMG_6563.JPGKhanalthok assessment - students watching investigation of damaged water storage tank 02.JPG

On a serious note, during the meeting the school’s needs were reaffirmed as well as their accompanying commitment to the project. We wanted to make sure that the school still needed help with their water quality and quantity issues even after the earthquake. Our main priority is to help the community in anyway and this meeting helped strengthen our relationship with them. We also brought several boxes of school supplies as donations to the school.
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Following the meeting, the travel team toured the school grounds and recorded the damage from the earthquake. The buildings here were comparatively better than those in Kathmandu but still in very poor condition. Almost entire walls of the school were demolished, cracks in the water tank worsened, and the girls latrines were collapsed.
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We also collected the necessary specific data to allow us to move forward to the design phase of the project. The collections included: GPS mapping of important school structures, measuring the elevations of the land, measuring the building roof areas, and calculating the volume of the school’s damaged tank.
Khanalthok assessment - rainwater harvesting gutter on building at northeast corner of complex 03 - team taking measurements.JPG

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Until we return to Khanalthok in May 2016, our team will be hard at work designing something truly amazing to help this beautiful community. IMG_6673.JPG


Keep coming back for more updates! 
Mackenzi

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Are you applying this fall?

Hello EWBers!

Have you looked at the application yet? NO? Go start it! Really! GO! I know you want to be awesome like that. I know you want to join us in helping improve the Shree Janahit Secondary School!


Whether you've started your application or not, we have a BRAND NEW resource for you to reference to help you with your understanding of the project so that your video can be amazing! We have finalized the 2015 Post Assessment Document for you to read and use information in your video, so go check it out!

Read the post from last week to get all of the information on applying to the team.

We can't wait to watch your videos! If you have any questions, feel free to email us at ewb.ufl.nepal@gmail.com!




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Soap, Sponges, and Suds

On Saturday August 29th the EWB Nepal Team went to Checkers on the corner of 34th and University for a car wash!

We washed cars from 8 am to 4 pm! At the end of the day we counted up a total of $400 that we raised to go toward the project.




Thank you to everyone who came out to help wash cars and a big thank you to everyone who stopped to have their cars washed as well!

Since it was such a successful event, we will be having another car wash on October 24th. Make sure you cars are nice and dirty by then so you can bring them out to be washed!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Team Applications - Fall 2015

Hello EWBers!

Welcome back to campus for a hot and humid start to Fall 2015. The Nepal Team is excited to announce that applications for the team are NOW OPEN! Click the button below to download the application.




The application process will consist two parts. First, a project and personal information form will be submitted online. Then there will be an interview process for select candidates. The application process might seem a little daunting, but we want to see who is willing to put in the maximum effort into the application process.

We are looking for students from all disciplines to join our team! You don't have to be an engineer! We need marketing people, engineers, Nepali speakers, and anyone with talents and passion to help our project move forward! So don't let the name Engineers Without Borders stop you from applying from all majors!

You can use information from our 2014 Post-Assessment Trip Document, 2014 Assessment Trip Presentationthe blog (congrats you already found it!), and the Facebook page to get to know the project and use the information in your application project. Be on the lookout for an updated 2015 Assessment trip document and presentation in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in joining the project team, submit your application to ewb.ufl.nepal@gmail.com by 11:59pm on September, 30th, 2015. 




We are looking forward to reading your applications and getting to meet our 
potential new team members. Apply today to join our family!