Giving with Global Impact
August 10, 2017
UD Engineers Without Borders chapter heads to Malawi
A team of University of Delaware students and mentors journeyed to Malawi on Aug. 6 to continue the mission of UD’s Engineers without Borders (EWB-UD), one begun a decade ago by the chapter’s founding advisor, the late Dr. Steven K. Dentel.
The team, made up of undergraduates Emma Richmond-Boudewyns, Jordan Shuff, Ashley Gold, Rebecca Huber and travel mentors Kim Bothi and Vince Uhl, will begin the first assessment phase of a potable water project in Chilimani, located in the Sakata region.
“Our work is tailored to learning more about the community and their needs. Additionally, we will be conducting a number of geophysical tests to guide our design for the potable project we plan to implement next summer,” said Shuff. The team will also assess the success of two wells drilled by the chapter in Summer 2016, bringing water to 500 community members in Mphero, a village neighboring Chilimani.
This time, and for years to come, students and the communities they impact will benefit from the support of two major gifts made by the Dentel family and the Caesar Rodney Rotary Club.
“I think EWB-UD kind of took Steve full circle. He was always a hands-on engineer,” noted Carol Post, Dentel’s partner of 34 years. “Using his academic skillsets and applying those in the world to help people and grow as a person really felt wonderful to him.”
Dentel joined the faculty of UD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1983 and was a recognized expert in water processing. During his time as advisor of EWB-UD, the chapter completed projects in Cameroon and Guatemala, with Dentel traveling to Cameroon 11 times during the project’s duration. Dentel passed away in February 2015 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
“I think Steve has a number of legacies and EWB-UD is the most important and powerful,” reflected Post. “His relationships with the students, his passion for the work and for making a difference in the world are embodied in EWB-UD.”
Post and the couple’s two sons, Aaron and Colin, chose to give back so that Dentel’s legacy could live on. The gift, totaling $100,000, will be allocated to an endowment created in honor of Dentel and to the chapter’s operating budget.
“EWB-UD goes out into the world and pays attention to what people want in their communities, to create sustainable solutions that are really useful,” Post shared, continuing “by giving in that way, students are gaining a lot back, engaging in relationships with people, getting a broader understanding of being a part of this world and doing this kind of work.”
In addition, UD’s Engineers without Borders received a $10,500 donation from the Caesar Rodney Rotary Club in honor of the organization’s 10 year anniversary in 2017.
John Gooden, a 1988 graduate of UD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and long-time member of the Rotary, first made the connection after meeting Dentel and members of the chapter at an alumni event. Years later, the club, whose motto is “service above self,” continues to sponsor EWB-UD’s activities and helps organize the chapter’s annual Benefit Dinner.
“A lot of people in the Rotary Club thought that this was something the students were doing to get credit towards their degree. When everyone realized that this was 100 percent volunteering on top of the engineering curriculum and that students dedicate weeks and months of their lives, it drove home how important the service component of the organization is,” he said. “It really resonated and solidified our dedication to collaborating with the organization.”
The Caesar Rodney Rotary Club hopes to see their funds support the expanding, interdisciplinary nature of the organization, allowing EWB-UD “to pull in more and more students from many colleges and fields.”
“We could not be more grateful for the generous donations from our supporters. These gifts will enable EWB-UD students to continue dreaming big, allowing us to expand our current projects and enhance our partnerships abroad,” said Lisa Dawson, president of EWB-UD. “I am constantly inspired by our students' innovation and talent, and I am excited to be a part of our continued growth.”
Follow along @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter as the Chilimani team completes the first phase of assessment. To learn more about UD’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, visit their website or contact advisor Kim Bothi.
About Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Without Borders-USA is a non-profit, humanitarian organization of dedicated and enthusiastic students and professionals who believe everyone should have access to adequate sanitation, safe drinking water and resources to meet their basic needs.
The University of Delaware chapter (EWB-UD) works closely with an international community and professional engineers to identify a local challenge, and then develop and implement a sustainable solution. Since the organization started in 2006, UD teams have completed a potable water supply project in Cameroon and a bridge construction project in Guatemala. The chapter’s current community partnerships are in Malawi and the Philippines.
EWB-UD actively seeks students from all academic backgrounds for its projects. Students from any academic discipline who are interested in becoming a part of the chapter are encouraged to attend a weekly meeting, held Mondays during the regular semesters at 7:00 p.m.