Our Story 

Who We Are

Engineers Without Borders – USA is a non-profit humanitarian organization established to partner with developing communities around the world in order to improve their members’ quality of life. The goal is to connect engineers with these communities in order to assess specific infrastructure needs and design and implement a sustainable engineering solution. 

Engineers Without Borders-USA City College of New York is a student chapter of the national EWB-USA organization. As aspiring engineers, we aim to fulfill the social impact mission of EWB-USA by designing and building institutions, footbridges, water treatment systems, and water distribution systems: many of the things we take for granted. This also means analyzing a developing community’s lack of basic human necessities, building a close relationship with the community members, and designing and implementing a maintainable, sustainable solution– all while engaging and training internationally responsible students. 

We make a 5 year commitment to each community to ensure not only that all phases of the project are successful, but also that the community can maintain and continue to receive aid from the new infrastructure even after our partnership has ended. Each project builds the foundation for a community to thrive for years to come.

Our History

Our chapter began in 2005 with the opening of the water distribution projects in Honduras. The team worked in multiple communities, including La Nueva Suiza, Las Chicas, and Milla Tres. Throughout the length of the program, the team built a small-scale water distribution systems, water tanks, chlorinators, latrines, as well as ventilation systems for kitchens and silos for grain storage.

In Fall 2014, our chapter adopted the Keya Wakpala Waíçageyapi (Turtle Creek Development) project on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, one of the first ever domestic projects in the national organization’s history. This unique project involved the design and implementation of a 12,000 square foot community house in a community where the youth and elderly have very limited spaces to congregate safely. With this in mind, EWB-USA CCNY partnered with the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), Blue Star Studio Inc. (BSSI), and DRPilla to act as the structural engineers of the community center. 

At the beginning of 2016, the team picked up it’s first international project in four years: a water distribution project in Tadazna Nicaragua. The initial project involved the implantation of six water wells in a community which lacked clean and reliable sources of water. With the help of our NGO, Bridges to Community, and our mentors from Louis Berger and Langan, the team has currently completed two assessment trips. Although the scopes have changed to rain catchment systems, the next step in this project is implementation, which is projected for Winter 2019. 

Spring 2017, the chapter’s ambitions had payed off when we adopted a brand new domestic project in our hometown of Harlem, New York. The domestic team will be focusing on an energy auditing project for the Broadway Presbyterian Church, located on Broadway and W114th. This project intends to reduce the energy usage of the church by redesigning the lighting and heating systems in a cost-effective and more efficient way. In return the church will be able to allocate saved money from energy costs to community programs and necessities.

Our story does not end there. As the chapter continues to grow and develop, our members are one step closer to being the engineers they are meant to be. We focus on professional development for our members, allowing them to prepare themselves for the professional world. The chapter constantly hosts campus-wide and city-wide events such as our annual Spring Gala. With an upwards of 40 student members, the team continues to make an impact on those around us through community outreach and local volunteering.