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Top 25 of 2013: ‘You can’t give them a tractor’

December 12, 2013

Engineers Without BordersAs 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.

No. 19

Students in NIU’s Engineers Without Borders organization found themselves in the midst of several sustainability projects this year, including the improvement of the water filtration systems in Mexico.

Members partnered with iCatis to come up with a system that can be built in villages in Mexico. This effort, funded by Omron, helps to provide clean water not only to these villages but others around the world.

EWB also traveled in August to Nyegina, Tanzania, where they have been working with a coed school of 600 students to improve lighting in classrooms and libraries and increased kitchen efficiency by installing a solar hot water cook stove. This time, they illuminated more classrooms to allow for students to study even after it gets dark outside.

The goal is sustainability.

“To make a technology sustainable, it has to be simple and easily maintained,” EWB President Josh Ott says. “For example, when you want to help a Third World country with farming, you can’t give them a tractor. They can’t afford to fix it or fill it with gas.”