UD's Engineers Without Borders wins Clinton Global Initiative award
Members of UD Engineers Without Borders, with villagers looking on, evaluate a hand-dug well in Cameroon. UD-EWB team members pictured are, from left, Julie Trick, Samantha Sagett, Barney Fortunato, Sarah O'Neill and faculty adviser Steve Dentel.
Posing near water storage tanks are, from left, Andrew Paulus, a farmer from the village of Bakang, Sarah O'Neill and Doug DeVoto.
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11:59 a.m., May 22, 2009----The University of Delaware chapter of Engineers Without Borders (UD-EWB) has been awarded a prestigious Outstanding Commitment Award from the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The award carries with it a $10,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to assist with UD-EWB's solar water pumping project in a rural village in Cameroon.

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A non-partisan initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation, CGI was established in 2005 to “turn ideas into action” by fostering a sense of shared responsibility to address major global problems, including education, energy and climate change, global health, and poverty alleviation. CGI does not make grants but acts as a facilitator for matching projects with funding sources.

The 2009 CGI Outstanding Commitment Awards, totaling $400,000 from two foundations, were awarded to individual students or student groups demonstrating a commitment to advancing positive social change in their communities and the world. The Wal-Mart Foundation's half of that total was awarded entirely to commitments focusing on energy and climate change.

According to UD-EWB adviser Steve Dentel, professor of civil and environmental engineering, only a few projects nationwide were funded at the level received by UD.

Sarah O'Neill, a senior mechanical engineering major and former president of the UD-EWB chapter, was the primary author of the grant application. “This award is a very positive statement about our organization and its projects,” she said.

The award will help fund the chapter's next expedition to Cameroon, which leaves June 1. O'Neill and Dentel will be joined on the trip by four other students -- Ramsey Hazbun, Alyssa Serra, Taylor King, and Matt Lindemer.

According to Dentel, the goal for the three-week trip is to install solar-powered water pumps in two new wells with 6,000 liters of tank storage to help provide clean water to Bakang, a remote village of 3,000.

Four other EWB students -- Kelley Pyle, Catherine Collison, Cara Watson, and Melissa Stewart -- are heading to Guatemala in August with Michael Santare, professor of mechanical engineering, and April Veness, associate professor of geography and Latin American studies. Their goal is to finalize plans for a bridge that will allow townspeople to reach their fields during the rainy season when the river becomes impassable.

“The Clinton Global Initiative grant is wonderful news,” Michael Vaughan, senior assistant dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering, wrote in an e-mail to Dentel. “Congratulations and special kudos to Sarah for penning a winning proposal application. I wish you and all the dedicated students of UD-EWB continued success in all of your current and future endeavors. You continue to make the college very proud with your ever-expanding list of accomplishments.”

Article by Diane Kukich