Civil and Environmental Engineering

Engineers Without Borders - CSU Chapter

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) at CSU takes engineering students, and students of all other majors, to places in the world that need their help. Using classroom skills to change real lives, EWB-CSU mixes construction, service, travel, professional experience, friendship, and fun.

According to EWB national, projects involve the design and construction of basic infrastructure and include (but are not limited to) the following themes: water supply and sanitation, energy, transportation, food production and processing, housing and construction, communication, income generation, and employment creation. These projects are initiated by - and completed with contributions from - the host community working side-by-side with EWB project teams. An emphasis is placed on education so the host community can own, operate, and maintain the newly implemented systems without external assistance.

This holistic approach allows CSU student teams to work together just as they would in the professional world – with engineers, business people, nurses, fundraisers, communication specialists, and so many more collaborating to get things done.

Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA), as stated in its national materials, “is a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life, while involving and training a new kind of internationally responsible student.” Chapters exist all over the country, and are usually associated with universities or colleges. The CSU chapter has been in existence since 2008. To learn more about EWB-USA, click on the following:


Agago, Uganda

Representatives of the Agago town council reached out to the national chapter in order to provide their children with a better opportunity for education. The area has suffered the negative effects of over 20 years of war, HIV/AIDS infections, poor education, and poor healthcare. They want to begin repairing their community by building a new secondary school.

Students in the village currently walk over 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) each day in order to attend school. Land had been available for the community to begin construction since 2013, however there have been many financial restrictions. The local community is eager and willing to contribute supplies, labor, and basic living necessities to the project.

Contact has been ongoing with community leaders, and an assessment trip is planned for the near future. This trip will allow us to gauge the situation, and understand exactly what the students need to be successful.


August Pine Ridge, Belize

The August Pine Ridge Village Council was committed to improving the quality of life for its growing community in the Orange Walk District of eastern Belize. Unfortunately, the Council lacked many of the basic and necessary resources needed to serve its 3,000-plus citizens.

Classrooms and a new school building (which doubles as a hurricane shelter for the coastal community), along with potable drinking water were the most pressing needs of the village, as the community could not hire enough teachers due to lack of facilities.

A visit to the village occurred in April of 2009. This "assessment trip" let the international partners meet face-to-face for the first time, and allowed the team of CSU students and their advisor to gather all the information needed. After the trip, the assessment team returned to Cleveland and began planning the next steps of implementation with the following list of initial needs in mind:

  • New classrooms (also providing hurricane shelter)
  • Automatic pumping for the community well
  • Testing and improvement of quality of community water supply
  • Hurricane shelter and multi-purpose community center
  • Solid waste disposal dumpsite
  • School security fence and lighting
  • Road speed bumps
  • Solar water heating

This project was finished in June 2012 and members of the community were trained to handle the school. The building consisted of 4 classrooms and a computer lab. The accompanying water project was deemed unnecessary as most would be used for farming and brought minimal gain for the effort. The community also did not see the need for such a project. The school was then turned over to the village and deemed a successfully completed project by the Cleveland State chapter.

Salinas Valley, California

During break of the 2016 Spring semester a small group traveled to Santa Teresa village in the Salinas Valley of California. Water to the small village had been contaminated with high levels of nitrates. The situation was analyzed in order to find a solution. Several ideas were generated including consolidating with the local municipality’s infrastructure, digging a new well into an uncontaminated aquafer, or treating the water at the source. 


EWB is open to students from all majors. To learn more about the past and ongoing project and EWB, send an email to, find us on our Facebook page (Engineers Without Borders-Cleveland State University), or inquire within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Office (located on the first floor of Fenn Hall, Rm 107).


  • Through CSU – Donate directly to the CSU Engineers Without Borders chapter through CSU by clicking this link: After choosing your gift amount, be sure it goes directly to EWB. To do this, select “Other” in the "Designate My Gift To" menu and then type in “Engineers Without Borders.”
  • Through EWB-USA – Donate directly to the CSU Engineers Without Borders chapter through EWB-USA by clicking this link:



Engineers Without Borders - Cleveland State University (CSU-EWB)