Engineers Without Borders

Engineering students formulate plans to bring electricity to Japura, Peru

Civil engineering student Josue Hernandez enjoys time with children in Peru during the 2015 EWB-WWU project.

The Walla Walla University student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-WWU) held it’s annual spring fundraising gala on Feb. 27. Proceeds from the gala will support the EWB-WWU project in Japura, Peru, which will bring electricity to the village that sits at 13,300 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains.

The 75 families living in the village put electricity high on their list of priorities for services needed. “The community wants lights in their houses and power to the school so the kids can learn something about computers,” said Curt Nelson, EWB-WWU club sponsor and professor of engineering. “The parents in Japura realize that their kids will have a really hard time if they move out of the village and don’t know anything about computers.”

WWU engineers are making plans for a micro hydropower system that will harness power from a nearby stream. “Our goal is to complete the project this summer,” said Nelson. “It’s a pretty ambitious project.” The EWB-WWU team is traveling to Japura in March during spring break to take final measurements and work out other questions before returning to start developing the power system this summer.

The community of Japura will provide 5 percent of the cost of the electrical system. EWB-WWU has a total fundraising goal of $60,000. The spring fundraising gala raised $23,321.34 in one night.

EWB-USA is a non-profit international organization founded in 2000 that includes 100 professional chapters, more than 220 student chapters, and a growing membership of over 12,000. Their mission is to assist developing communities worldwide with their self-identified engineering challenges and to train internationally responsible engineering students.

To learn more about the Japura project, visit EWB-WWU.org.

Posted March 22, 2016

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