Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an organization on campus that invests in Waterloo’s Environmental Engineering students, to help them become tomorrow’s leaders for tackling major challenges of the 21st century.

EWB students learn to lead change by being provided with learning resources and forums, by being challenged to create positive change in collaboration with our peers, and by connecting with a network of like-minded change leaders across Canada.

A major component of this is the annual Engineers Without Borders National Conference. This is an incredible opportunity for learning, growth and productive networking, to which EWB UWaterloo sends a number of delegates each year. Jessica, one of the UW delegates who attended the conference, sent in her account of the event.

My name is Jessica and I am a 3rd year Environmental Engineering student at the University of Waterloo. I have been a part of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) for about a year and a half now as both a general member and the team lead for research. Being a part of EWB, which was founded by two engineering students here at UW, has advanced my understanding of the environment, engineering, and the complex systems that govern our world. From workshops and presentations, to game nights and social events, national conferences and local outings, EWB has given me the opportunity to learn from my peers about what it means to be a global engineer.

The idea of the “Global Engineer” is one which has been endorsed by EWB for over 15 years. The Global Engineering perspective is one which sees a major disconnect between societal needs and engineering or technological solutions, and addresses it by looking at problems as complex systems. These complex systems have effects on lives and the environment, rather than viewing the problem as simple story with a simple solution. Integrating sustainability and equal opportunity development into our problem solving skills not only means a longer lifetime for our solutions, it means our solutions will incorporate the needs and perspectives of all, not just our clients.

I joined EWB because I have a passion for the environment, social justice, and challenging the status quo. At EWB you will find like-minded people who you can discuss, debate, and understand the many challenges you will face as both an engineering student at UW and a global engineer. EWB has challenged my perspectives about how I view the world, has been a friendly and open space to get away from school work, and has given me the opportunity to become friends with some pretty great people.

- Jessica MacKinnon -

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