English department hosts common basket for Engineers Without Borders

Chris Bell, Staff Writer

Four students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, representing Engineers Without Borders, spoke to all English classes on Friday, April 20. Two of the presenters were BSM alumni Keelin O’Neil and Erin Katapodis, who returned to BSM to present their organization, Engineers Without Borders and hopefully inspire other students to join their cause in the future.

Tuesday’s mass, April 24, was for the ending of the Easter season but also to raise money for Engineers Without Borders. EWB was the center focus for the common basket, with hopes to increase its chances of helping build a health clinic in Gasonya, Rwanda.

With the money raised in the common basket and other current moneys collected, EWB plans to build a new health center that would better suit the people and their demands. It would consist of improved laboratories, more space and resources, a maternity ward, HIV/AIDS testing opportunities, plumbing and electricity, and ambulance support.

O’Neil and Katapodis both traveled abroad during their time spent at BSM to Guatemala as well as Guana but never to Rwanda. But traveling abroad did spark their interests and contributed to their joining into Engineers Without Borders, “I know what I’m doing will make a long term impact. I have and have had the opportunity to travel and actually get to interact with the people, which makes it even better,” said Katapodis.

EWB’s mission is to design and complete an environmentally and economically sustainable Health Center. It is based in multiple countries throughout the world such as the USA, the UK, the Netherlands Holland, and Canada. Through the many different locations, EWB has found it’s way to many colleges such as Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado, Drexel, and San Francisco.

EWB is working to improve the Gasonya health center and its current conditions with the current health clinic consisting of no running water, no electricity, no ambulance service, six beds, two nurses, and all the patients are kept in the same room. The health center is the only one in the town and is for the use of all 27,000 people in the city.

Adding all of the planned refurbishments would truly improve the stability of the city of Gasonya and its people. “You know you’re making an impact. You really get sucked into it, watching everyone work together to get things done, and it’s coming together quite well. It gives you a sense of know what you’re doing is worth while,” said O’Neil.


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