The University of Rhode Island’s Engineers for a Sustainable World are working to bring sustainability to the community through conservation and community projects.
In the past few years, ESW has worked on a project in Guatemala. Guatemalans had recently installed flush toilets, but did not have the infrastructures to clean what they were flushing, which led sewage right back into the river that they drank out of.
ESW went there a few years in a row installing a septic tank, a secondary filtration system off of the septic tank and this past summer they built a water quality lab so that the people in Guatemala could start to test the water within the rain to help them clean it.
President of ESW, Eilish Finneran, a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering, said that that this year they have “completely grown and diversified our projects.” They will be working on projects to benefit URI and the surrounding community.
“A project we’re currently working on is the vertical garden,” sophomore Tim Legg, ESW’s event coordinator, said. “We are constructing a vertical hydroponic system to showcase to students that you can have sustainable agriculture here in the local community and in small space.”
Finneran explained that hydroponic means that you have a pump pumping water into each of the slits that all the plants will be on and is a way to conserve on water.
Legg also explained that they are taking part in a community project sent out from the headquarters of Engineers for a Sustainable World that is all about making connections with the local community and working on problems that they have with sustainability equality.
“Our project is really focused on a community hub for sustainable equality,” Legg said. “So tackling everything from hunger, income inequality, education and from a sustainable aspect so the center would be, it’s hypothetical, but we’re partnering with people in the community so it could possibly become real. We’re partnering with the Johnnycake Center to do that.”
The part of the project that is real is that the club is building the garden. Finneran said that all the produce they will grow in the garden would be donated to the Johnnycake Center.
Finneran said that one of her personal goals for this year is to become more of a presence on campus and within the local community.
“That was one of my personal goals for this year,” she said. “I’ve been involved in the club for years and all we’ve ever done is the Guatemala project which I think is amazing and we’re continuing with it of course, but I wanted us to expand.”
The club will continue to work with the people in Guatemala but Finneran says they are trying to empower the people to take over the projects themselves to make it more of a sustainable resource.
“We need to get them to take over the project, which is where we’re going to go over the next couple of years,” said Finneran. “As far as doing stuff on campus, I’m very proud of our group and what we’ve accomplished and the impact we’ve been able to have.”
The club is open to anyone wanting to join, not just engineering students.
“I feel like it’s easy for us to get engineering students, it’s harder for us to get the non-engineering students because our title has the word engineer in it,” Finneran said. “I just want them to know we accept anyone, we appreciate anyone who is willing to give us their time.”
Engineers for a Sustainable World meets Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Bliss Hall, Room 404.
ESW will also be holding its first 5K Color Run on campus to raise funds for their club. The event will take place on the quad on May 1, 2016, starting at 10 a.m. Â Anyone is welcome to participate. Find out more, donate and register at: eventbrite.com/e/university-of-rhode-islands-engineers-for-sustainable-world-5k-color-run-registration-20893037638 Â