EWB to host 2nd Annual Make an Eco Impact Event, May 2

Friday, April 16, 2010

EWB in BoliviaThe University of Tulsa and Oklahoma East chapters of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) are hosting their 2nd Annual Make An Eco Impact wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser at 7 p.m., Sunday, May 2 at the Tulsa Garden Center.

The goal for the two chapters is $19,000 in order to send 10 people this summer to Cotani, Bolivia, to build four eco-latrines (self-composting toilets) and analyze the feasibility of a flushing toilet at the local community center.

Engineers Without Borders was created to develop and implement simple engineering infrastructure projects in indigenous villages in the Third World.

“Engineering education can be very abstract,” said Laura Ford, TU-EWB co-advisor and associate professor of chemical engineering. “Building eco-latrines in Bolivia gives the students an opportunity to put their education to use in a humanitarian, international way.”

TU-EWB will be working with Oklahoma East EWB, a professional chapter in Tulsa. They will construct the latrines in Cotani, Bolivia, a small village of 50 families located high in the Andes.

OK-East and TU traveled to Cotani in November 2009 and began four eco-latrines and nearly completed two of them — all in under two weeks using no electricity or power tools. Since then, the villagers have carried on the work and dedicated their eco-latrines this spring. Before the project, Cotani had no sanitation system of any kind, and this project has had a huge impact on the health of the community.

Bolivia eco-latrine celebrationThe TU and OK-East chapters will send 10 students and volunteers to Bolivia over a two week period in August to further develop the eco-latrines and teach community maintenance techniques.

“The students confront many obstacles in this project: difficult terrain, not speaking the same language, no electricity and rudimentary tools,” said Christi Patton-Luks, TU-EWB co-advisor and applied associate professor of chemical engineering. “They have become better engineers from these challenges and have learned the value of engineering in everyday life.”

All proceeds will directly lead to the construction of eco-latrines in Cotani. Engineers Without Borders is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible. Tickets to the wine tasting are $50 in advance or $60 at the door. To reserve a place at the event, please e-mail ewbtulsa@yahoo.com.

In addition to the Make An Eco Impact event, the OK-East chapter will host its 2nd Annual Golf Benefit, Friday, May 21 at the Emerald Falls Golf Course.

For more information, visit ewbokeast.wordpress.com or contact Rebecca Ward, Oklahoma East EWB president, at (918) 520-7256 or by e-mail at rebecca@guyengr.com; or contact Laura Ford, TU co-advisor, at (918) 631-2227 or laura-ford@utulsa.edu.

Laura Ford