Altruism…It Exists!

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After a crushing loss this morning, here’s a win-win scenario: free dessert for three days! Columbia University’s Engineers Without Borders is setting up on the ramps of Lerner from today through Friday, 12- 7 p.m. That’s a long time to sit at a slant… but for good reason!

This past summer, while we were wasting away in the sun, the Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders worked in Obodan, Ghana to implement sustainable sanitation and improve water access. Unlike a lot of service programs out there, CU-EWB catered toward the village’s needs and actually did something really clever!

Back in 2005, CU-EWB addressed the shortage of proper sanitation facilities by building a public latrine, a Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP). While the original KVIP was helpful, it released strong odors and required an expensive cleaning procedure. So, the Columbia team implemented a “source-separated latrine” that composts and converts waste to biofuel and fertilizer. It’s sustainable and no longer smells! Meanwhile, they plan to overhaul the water distribution system and improve accessibility.

Sure, it’s not so glamorous— “makes for a lousy telethon,” as CJ says—but it’s necessary. And PBS agrees! The Columbia team created a video of their work and submitted it to PBS for the Earth Day special. After an initial round, PBS selected the video as a finalist nominee for its show. Cast your vote for the video here, and read more about CU-EWB’s project here. You need to register, but it’s pretty simple.

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  1. i  

    one of the groups on campus that really makes a difference in the world. so much passion, its inspiring.


  2. I voted!  

    ahem. haters are not welcome.

    YEAH ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS! I'm so excited to see where this goes! the video is so touching =] vote vote vote!

  3. yay for EWB  

    Helping people is good..

    but those lyrics are god-awful

  4. Anonymous  

    Stopped by today. Vid was awesome, but BROWNIES WERE SO GOOD!! Totally worth it!

  5. Anonymous  

    the lyrics are awesome! if you can write a better song about poop and latrines, bring it on BRING IT

  6. Anonymous  

    EWB is a clown show. If they didn't spend so much time patting each other on the back and making useless movies, maybe they would have actually accomplished something in the past 5 years.

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