With a grant from ELECTRI International, the Penn State University (PSU) Student Chapter of NECA recently joined forces with the NECA Student Chapter from Kennesaw State University, Marietta, Georgia. Sixteen students traveled to the West End community in Roatán, Honduras, to create a new water pumping system that would upgrade capabilities for this location. Known as a heavily-populated tourist area, the West End is ahead of many other parts of Roatán in that it has the ability to pump water 24/7.
The students’ work in November built upon an earlier scouting trip to Managua when they had planned and prepared for the installation. At Thanksgiving, they completed the installation at Clinica “Lidia Saavedra de Ortega” in just 3 ½ working days.
PSU team member, Nisha Rae Labroo, explained why this Student Passport project was especially important to the student team. “We were not just looking for a quick fix. We wanted to design a long-term comprehensive solution specific to the West End but replicable in other parts of the island. We focused on creating a system to reduce the cost of pumping and create a steady supply of potable water for the community. We are confident that, once residents and their government leaders see the results in the West End, other towns can use the same approach to installing a pumping system and improving conditions for their own residents and visitors.” For its most recent trip to Roatán, the student team received local support from a number of community resources, particularly Ian Drysdale, an active member of the Polo’s Water Association, West End.
PSU Professor David Riley serves as faculty advisor for the PSU Student Chapter, among his many interactions with ELECTRI International. He described the popularity of the Student Passport Initiative: “Students across our country have a strong interest in green technology, energy efficiency, and doing something that means something. When we can go to a community not as well off as our own and can see technology making a difference for that community, it really drives home a powerful learning experience for the students. Through ELECTRI, many NECA Student Chapters can take advantage of the unique opportunities ELECTRI offers through its Talent Initiative.”