Winter 2022 Newsletter

It’s been a busy semester for all of our students and project teams. We’ve been working hard this semester on our project work, but we’ve also been spending time forming connections.

We’ve had an admin retreat, our annual camping trip, an engineering student group kickball tournament, a networking & bowling event, and recently built gingerbread houses for an end-of-semester event.

Looking to the future for our projects, our East Africa team is having an assessment trip over winter break. Six students and two of our mentors will be traveling to Malawi for a week over our winter break, which you can read more about below. Our Guatemala project team is continuing design planning for our partnership in Chi Chokon, and wrapping up our project in Chirijuyu. Our Local Projects Team is finishing up some of their previous projects with UFGA and is looking at partnering with them on another community garden soon.

EWB GTMD Drawing Winner: Sam Maijala!

I’m a senior majoring in Environmental Engineering and minoring in Sustainability Studies. I enjoy getting to interact with other engineering disciplines through EWB and work with local community leaders to solve problems.

Sam Maijala

Team Updates

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Team Updates

Project Updates

East Africa

This year the East Africa project endeavored into a new international partnership with the St. Pius Primary School in Malawi. We have begun working with the community and NGO on primary data collection and surveying. This is through the remote assessment trip carried out by our international partners in the NGO and community. In addition to this, in the upcoming year in January, we plan on carrying out an in-person assessment trip, whereby 6 members and 2 mentors will travel to Malawi to collect data, assess the land and the population’s requirements, as well as meet our new community partners and form a strong bond to aid our relationship. 

Following the assessment trip, we plan on beginning the design and implementation phase of the project- whereby we will be designing solutions that we deem best fit based on our knowledge and through the tremendous input of our professional mentors.


This summer the Guatemala program traveled to Chi Chokon and Chirijuyu. The importance of traveling was validated during our trip from the many scenarios in which onsite engineering was needed to fix issues that came up during construction. Chirijuyu currently has a working water distribution system that provides water to 250 people. During travel we also conducted water quality testing, flow rates, site surveys, demographic surveys, and gathered other information. During the semester we used the information we gathered in Chi Chokon during travel to come up with a variety of plans for design. The water quality subgroup researched the historical context of chlorination in Guatemala as well as the best options to ensure the safety of the drinking water. The PACT (Pipelines, Aerial Crossings, and Tank) subgroup put together design options for tank locations and ways in which to solve the pressure issues the current system is experiencing. The CAD (computer aided design) subgroup worked on putting together technical drawings for the subgroup as well as practiced modeling the well. The Past/Future Communities subgroup brainstormed indicator questions to ask communities who reach out to us with potential projects and they also helped wrap up the Chirijuyu project. Next semester we are excited to finish our design and start implementation this summer.  


This year the local projects have moved from being a part of both East Africa and Guatemala teams to having their own meeting time and dedicated project team. With the transition, the team has continued work with the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance (UFGA) at the Victoria Garden. Over the summer and early fall, the team implemented designs from last year for garden boxes, a path, and seating. We also decided to move away from original plans to build a pergola in the garden and focus efforts towards designing a central seating area. Final implementation for the Victoria Garden is scheduled for spring of 2023. The Local Projects team is also working on minor improvements to the existing rainwater catchment system and greenhouse at the UFGA Peace Garden, a past project implemented in 2021. Finally, through our relationship we have found a future project within their network at the Pilgrim Baptist Church garden. The project is still in its infancy, but the goal is to increase accessibility and engagement in the garden. Potential ideas include an accessible path, raised garden beds, and repairs and a ramp for the existing shed.

Marketing Updates

Fundraising Update

It has been a busy semester for the Fundraising group! We have been able to apply for 5 grants so far, and have two more grant applications in progress as well!  Additionally, the Fundraising team spent October and November preparing for the Fall Donor Update and Report, as well as Give to the Max Day (GTMD)! We were able to raise $3,705 dollars, and $2,000 will be matched, making a grand total of $5,705 raised on GTMD. Thank you to everyone who donated and/or contributed to EWB’s efforts this Give to the Max Day. If you were not able to donate, don’t worry, EWB accepts donations year around! If you are interested in donating, please click on this link. Coming up next semester is another round of grants to apply for, as EWB will have two teams traveling next year as well! 

CC Update

The Context Committee had an eventful semester! In our meetings we discuss topics and skills that help our chapter have a more thoughtful approach to our projects. We lead discussions with our three project meetings, covering topics such as voluntourism, the language we use, power dynamics, and the historical background of our projects. In a recent presentation, we explored where power dynamics exist and how they may impact our project relationships. Psychologists John French and Bertram Raven proposed six types of power (link) through a publication in 1959. Most relevant to EWB are their definitions of legitimate, expert, referent and informational types of power. When considering interactions between a community member and EWB volunteer, what power dynamics may be present? Between a community leader and EWB volunteer? Between two engineers? Between a student and a mentor? What impact do these power dynamics have on the relationship or work? Are people afraid to give input? Do they feel respected and listened to or dismissed? We compared this framework to ideas from Eric Liu, an American writer who focuses on civic life. His proposed three laws of civic power (link) suggest ways we can harness our power in the civic arena through “reading and writing power”. Power dynamics can be viewed from many different perspectives so we found it interesting to think about whether all sources of power are valued equally and how we should change our behavior based on perceived power dynamics.