Want to help people? Engineer in Kenya through OSU


t GetReal we always push the idea that engineering is all about helping people. That robots and stuff are cool, but the real reason any of us become engineers is to make the world better in some way. To either “increase the awesome” of something (robots, for example) or to “decrease the suck” of something else.

The women and children of Lela have to walk to a nearby town to get their water, during the dry season. That cuts into time they have for school and work, things which would ultimately make the town more successful.

That last one has less to do with impressive robots and more to do with finding solutions to real, tough problems. Problems that Oregonians like us might not even have to think about. Like “how do we get clean water?” Oregon definitely doesn’t have to worry about water. Especially in the winter.

But Africa does. And that’s why Oregon State University is part of an awesome group called Engineers Without Borders. This program is all about helping decrease the suck in places that aren’t as easy to live in as Oregon–whatever the reason.

This year, an OSU student named Zachary Dunn is coordinating the trip to Kenya (to where they’re flying this month) to do the first “implementation trip” of the project.

The project itself have been active since 2008, but so far all of the trips have been tests and assessments; they weren’t installing anything until this year. Now, Zach and his team are going to Lela, Kenya to install a water well for the town of 2,000 people–who have in the past had to walk miles, every day, just to get drinking water to survive.

Having a big well like this will help the people of Lela be self-reliant during the dry season.

We think this is the epitome of engineering. This is what it’s all about. And we can’t recommend this program highly enough. If you think you might go to OSU to study engineering, email the president (or another officer) of OSU’s chapter of EWB and ask about it. You can also sign up for their mailing list.

Engineering projects like this are the reason a lot of people become engineers. If you have a strong desire to help, think about joining EWB at Oregon State University when you enroll to become an engineer.

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