Two engineering students from Walla Walla University traveled to Riverside Adventist Academy in India in September with the WWU chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Along with their faculty sponsor, the group spent 13 days advising and assisting in varying capacities at the school.
Melodie Selby, associate professor of engineering at WWU, helped the school rework part of their curricula to meet government standards. The group also started the process of building an incinerator, which will help improve waste management on campus. Along with these projects, they filmed promotional video footage for RAA and assessed the status of a recently-installed waterproofing membrane on the girls’ dormitory roof.
RAA is located in the Garo Hills of Northeast India, between Bangladesh and Bhutan. It is a boarding and day school with approximately 700 students in grades K-12. The school is culturally diverse, hosting students from many neighboring regions and states.
Eric Welch, senior mechanical engineering major and student project manager, said, “A highlight of the trip was interacting with the students. Building relationships and networking with the locals is always the most important part of the trip.”
WWU has been involved with RAA for close to a decade, with our local chapter of EWB involved since 2015. In past years, WWU has helped the academy with projects in sanitation, water purification, architectural design, master planning, and more.
Selby, the project’s faculty sponsor, said, “A highlight for me about all the mission trips we take is seeing the growth in the students. It is exciting to see students realize that there is need out there, and that they have the skills to help meet that need.”
EWB is a world-wide organization that works with communities over a five-year period to help them “help themselves.” EWB works hand in hand with local communities on building projects, improving sanitation, and developing programs to improve education. Their goal is to help communities become self-sufficient.
To find out more about EWB, future projects, or ways to get involved, visit ewb-wwu.org.
Posted Oct. 28, 2019