Past Projects

2014-2016

South Dakota

In November 2014, EWB-USA CCNY was approved by EWB-USA national to adopt one of the first ever domestic projects. The project involved the construction of a 12,000 square foot community house, the first stage of the multi-phase Keya Wakpala Waíçageyapi (“Turtle Creek Development”), for the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The community center will feature facilities such as a ceremony room, kitchen, classrooms, playground, child and elder areas, and an education center. Our chapter’s project team were to engineer the structural aspects of the building’s design, with the help of our mentors Dominick Pilla and Gary Feldman from DR PILLA Associates. 

The Rosebud Indian Reservation is located in Todd County, South Dakota—the second poorest region in the United States.  On the reservation, unemployment rates are at 83%, but 29% of those employed make less than $10,000 a year, and the average life expectancy is 48 years old.  With 33% of the reservation’s population under the age of 19 years old, it is important for the community center to provide a safe space for young people to spend their time; it will also serve as a place for the Lakota people to come together and celebrate their culture.

Photos of South Dakota

That January, five members of City College’s Engineers Without Borders-USA chapter traveled to South Dakota to conduct an assessment trip for our forthcoming project and spent a week living on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. While there, our team met with the CEO of Rosebud Economic Development Corp. (REDCO), Wizipan Little Elk, and the head architect, Scott Moore of Blue Star Studio Architecture, to discuss plans for building a new community center on the reservation.

Through our experiences on the reservation, we found that Lakota pride and sense of community are still very much alive—despite the harsh reality that statistics may present, the Lakota people are resilient. The fact that they are still here—that their traditions and values have persevered so long and under so much strain—seems to be a valued sentiment towards their culture’s present and future.  The Keya Wakpala project will reinforce this idea, providing the people of Rosebud, South Dakota with a space to gather, raise morale, and educate their children about Lakota history and culture.

In late 2016, our chapter decided to close the project on our end, leaving REDCO to continue the rest of the Keya Wakpala project. 

2007-2012

Honduras

The chapter’s beginnings first started in La Nueva Suiza, Honduras. EWB-USA CCNY began working in Honduras in 2007. The first community this chapter helped was La Nueva Suiza, where the team built a small-scale water distribution system, water tank and chlorinator, as well as ventilation systems for kitchens and silos for grain storage. The chapter then began to work in a second community, Las Chicas, where they constructed a water basin, water tank lids, and a chlorinator; repaired an existing water system by replacing piping and installing valves; and installed a grey water management system. In addition to these, they built five latrines. The chapter then sought to start a new project in Tegucigalpita, but the project proved to be not feasible or necessary. Eventually, the chapter found a feasible project in Milla Tres after an assessment trip in January 2012. This community needed a water distribution system, additional water storage, and a water treatment system to serve their growing community of over 1000 residents.

Photos in Honduras

The project team designed an award-winning small-scale dam, pipeline, and tank for the community and prepared to travel in August 2012 to implement. However, internal community politics prevented them from building. After a second assessment trip in January 2013, the conflict was resolved; however, the nation of Honduras became extremely violent and the chapter could no longer travel there. The unfortunate events in Honduras, which were out of our control, brought EWB-USA CCNY’s involvement in Honduras to an end in 2013.