SOE Opens Chapter of Engineers Without Borders
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SOE Opens Chapter of Engineers Without Borders

Faculty and students in the School of Engineering (SOE) have opened up a new chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), which will offer students in any area of study the chance to help build a better world. 

EWB is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization established to support community-driven development programs worldwide through partnerships that design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences that enrich global perspectives and create responsible leaders. 

EWB chapters work on both international and domestic projects in the areas of water supply, sanitation, civil works, structures, energy, agriculture, and information systems.   

Dr. Bruce Berdanier, dean of the School of Engineering, said, “Since Fairfield’s mission includes service to society -- especially the less fortunate -- and the SOE mission involves solving society’s greatest challenges, we see the initiation of the EWB chapter here as a natural fit. We are especially thankful for all of the engineers at ASML Corporation, in Wilton, Conn., who recognize the importance of a global co-curricular educational experience and reached out to us to create this opportunity at Fairfield.” 

Three engineering students have stepped forward to build and lead the chapter. John O’Neill ’18, the secretary/treasurer of EWB-Fairfield, said, “I was not familiar with EWB until this year but immediately was drawn to it. The idea of helping others while also being able to apply what I learn in my engineering classes entranced me. I am beyond excited to begin my involvement with such an incredible organization.” 

The School of Engineering first became involved with EWB through Dr. Berdanier. Before he became dean of SOE, Dr. Berdanier was involved with EWB while a professor at South Dakota State University. Because of those connections, he and Fairfield University students have participated informally with students from EWB-USA South Dakota for the past two years on projects that involve water and sanitation projects at the Universidad Academica Campesina, Carmen Pampa, Bolivia (UAC-CP). 

Christopher Calitri ’16, an electrical engineering student and the current president of EWB-Fairfield said, “This year we’ll be completing the current projects with South Dakota State University. We hope to have our designs for a Chlorinator system and a Sand Filter to be implemented within the next calendar year. From there, we would like to launch our own project location in a country of need. This project would be the first that was exclusively sponsored by the Fairfield University chapter.” 

Excitement about Fairfield’s chapter is building on campus. Dennis Turano, vice president of Fairfield’s chapter said, “I joined EWB because I wanted to start applying the knowledge that I was learning in my classes to real-life situations. When you're in a classroom doing problems out of a textbook you learn a great deal, but not every situation is going to be like the ones in the textbook so you have to go out into the world and learn. I hope that with EWB students will feel more encouraged to look for problems in the world or in our local community and want to create a solution.”  

Membership in the EWB USA Fairfield chapter is currently free and open to all Fairfield students in any area of study. Contact Dr. Berdanier or Chapter President Christopher Calitri '16 ( for more information.

*Pictured above: Dr. Berdanier with Fairfield University and University of South Dakota students, plus Bolivian community members

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Last modified: Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:12:30 EDT

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