There are many opportunities at Seattle University to engage in meaningful work relating to environmental justice abroad. Many students partner with Professionals Without Borders (PWOB), Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), KiloWatts for Humanity (KWH), Nicamigos, and other school-based organizations to participate in these projects.
SU students and staff have been involved in 58 global service projects over the past years! Take a look at the variety of projects that SU has been engaged in below. Click the headings for more information, photos, and videos about specific projects.
KWH Microgrid - Muhuru Bay, Kenya 2011
The Muhuru Bay microgrid was installed and commissioned in August 2014. It has a peak capacity of 4.88 kW: 2.88kW of solar (PV), and 2kW of wind power. The microgrid is located on the compound of Kristy’s Cape Academy, a school serving girls and boys from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The microgrid supplies power to an energy kiosk and a nearby house. The energy kiosk produces ice for local the fishing community, and serves as a charging station and convenience store. The system has produced over 6 Megawatt-hours of energy in its first three years of operation.
PWOB Classroom Rennovation and Beautification Projects - Chikuni Girl's School, Zambia 2017
The 2017 team split their time between working at the Chikuni Girl's School and the Mukanzubo. At the school, they rennovated the classrooms. At the cultural center, they scrubbed off mold, repainted it, redid the cinema room, and are in the process of installing a new grounding rod and wire for the electrical panel. The team also helped remove old mortar and replaster and repaint other areas of the buildings.
KWH Nguzu Zuba Solar Kiosk - Munyama, Zambia 2017
The Nguzu Zuba kiosk, which means “power of the sun” in Chitonga, was
commissioned on August 27, 2017 and is located in the village of
Munyama roughly 30 kilometers along the shore of Lake Kariba from
Siavonga. The kiosk produces a total of 2.56 kW of power and has a total of 10 kWh of battery capacity.
Nguzu Zuba has two refrigerators, a RACHEL offline server, a television, as well as several tablets available for rental. The kiosk employs a manager and two employees from the local community and is currently being used as a grocery as well as a community center and classroom.
PWOB Solar Installaton - Zambia 2016
In 2016, team partnered with the government to install solar power and then SU brought 2 small cisterns to use for hand washing onsite while treating patients. The team also installed new wayfinding signage.
KWH Suntemba Solar Energy Kiosk - Chalokwa, Zambia 2016
The ‘Suntemba’ energy kiosk was commissioned on June 26, 2016. It uses 2.4 kW of solar panels to provide localized AC power. The kiosk serves as a grocery hub for the community, using two chest freezers to provide ice, frozen meat, cold drinks, and ice lollies; it also provides battery charging and maintains a laptop for the local primary school. The kiosk is owned and operated by Green Trust, Ltd. Green Trust plans to expand operations to agricultural and educational services in the near future.
PWOB Classroom Refurbishment and Well Installation - Chikuni Girl's School, Zambia 2015
SU partnered with a girls' high school in the villiage of Chikuni to carry out various projects including facilities improvements including painting, refurbishing desks and furniture, and helping with the installation of a well.
KWH Energy Kiosk - Filibaba, Zambia 2015
The Filibaba energy kiosk was commissioned on September 19, 2015. It
uses 1.8 kW of solar panels to provide local AC electricity primarily used
for mobile phone charging and powering a refrigerator. Two nearby
houses and a local church are connected to the kiosk. A major revenue
source is the sale of personal solar home kits, which individual community
members use for micro-businesses such as phone charging.
PWOB Installation of a Security Wall, Water Tower, and Shelving - Zambia 2012
In June and July of 2012, PWOB President Steve Szablya led a group of 17 students to Zambia. The Seattle U student volunteers were on the ground for two weeks; half of them left for Zambia in mid-June and returned at the end of the month, the same day the second group left, resulting in one month of work total in Zambia from PWOB volunteers.
Joyce Allen led the first group of students to install shelving in the Mukanzubo Cultural Center that PWOB worked with last year; they also documented and stored the center’s collection in order to preserve the heritage of the Tonga people. This group ended their trip by building a brick security wall around the clinic constructed last year at Chipembele.
Steve Szablya and his team recommissioned two large water towers in Chikuni, the site of past PWOB projects, to provide water to the hospital. This will allow the hospital to open their new natal clinic and surgical theater. Steve and his team continued work on the brick wall in the Chipembele community, as well as removing the cross connect between the reservoir and the well at Mukanzubo.
PWOB Storage Unit and Medical Clinic Construction - Mukanzubo Cultural Center & Chipembele, Zambia 2011
PWOB’s third trip to Zambia included 12 members and worked on two main projects during their two weeks in and around Chikuni. Working with the Jesuits at the Mukanzubo Cultural Center, the team spent the first half of their trip building a storage unit for Mukanzubo’s artifacts and the second half building a medical clinic in Chipembele.
ESW Waterwheel Project - Chirundu, Zambia 2009
In the summer of 2009, a Seattle University engineering team traveled to Chirundu, Zambia to implement their senior design projects. The student team designed a waterwheel driven spiral pump which can be inexpensively constructed with local materials.
Water Filtration System Installation - Sakhu, Nepal 2015
In spring 2015, Dr. Mike Marsolek, associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, had plans to visit Kathmandu University (KU) in Nepal to coordinate waste-to-energy research for Mt. Everest, but the purpose of his trip shifted after the April 25th earthquake devastated Nepal. Mr. Marsolek partnered with SU students and local Nepalese groups to install a water filtration system that had been prepared by SU students in time for his departure. The system was successfully installed in Sakhu, a small village outside the Kathmandu Valley.
ESW Library Project - Kunjae School, Thailand 2019-2020
ESW is building a library for the Khunjae school to support educational needs in this region of Thailand.
ESW Water Treatment Project - Napho, Thailand 2019
This project will involved the installation of a reverse osmosis system for a school in Napho Thailand that serves 1000 students.
ESW Well Project - Huai Nam Khun Dormitory, Thailand 2017
Installed a 45-m deep well for Huai Nam Khun Dormitory.
ESW Aquaponics Project - Chiang Mai, Thailand 2016-2017
SU students aided the construction and instrumentation of a 30,000 L aquaponics facility for the Zion Children's Home. SU students completed the construction of the piping network for four, 2500 liter fish tanks and they also worked with a group of engineering students from Chiang Mai University to setup a testing loop for the Mitsubishi pump (Model SSP-405S.15) that will operate continuously for the coming years. In July 2017, 3 students installed Raspberry Pi-controlled sensors for real-time measurement of pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen.
ESW UV Water Treatment System - Thailand 2015
ESW students added a UV system to an existing slow sand filter.
ESW Dormitory Construction - Huai San, Thailand 2013-2016
In December 2013, SU-ESW traveled to Huai San, a village in the Mae Ai district of northern Thailand. The SU-ESW team of six students and two professionals assessed the site for a new dormitory for 45 orphans. The primary structure of the dormitory was completed in March 2016.
ESW Hydropower Exploration and Teaching Music and English - Mae Num Khun, Thailand 2012
SU students determined that a local stream could not be used to generate hydropower for the village. However, they enjoyed teaching English and music to local kids.
ESW Rainwater Catchment - Huai Nam Khun, Thailand 2011
Constructed a rainwater catchment system for the dormitory in Huai Nam Khun.
ESW Water Treatment System - Mae Nam Kuhn, Thailand 2010
Constructed a drinking water treatment system for the medical clinic in Mae Nam Kuhn.
ESW Footbridge - Thailand 2008
In August 2008, a Seattle University engineering team returned to Thailand to construct a pedestrian bridge that would connect the dormitory that we constructed in 2005-2006 to a new church and community center.
ESW Safe Water System - Mae Nam Khun, Thailand 2008
Started a chlorine manufacturing and distribution system for a Thai medical clinic that serves 5000 people in the hills of Mae Nam Khun.
ESW Water Treatment System - Mae Nam Kuhn, Thailand 2007
Designed and constructed a drinking water treatment system for the dormitory in Mae Nam Kuhn.
ESW Dormitory Project - Mae Nam Kuhn, Thailand 2004-2006
Designed and constructed a dormitory for school children in the remote village of Mae Nam Kuhn, Thailand. Due to lumber price increases caused by the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in December 2004, the team was only able to build one wing of the dorm. A Seattle University team returned in July 2006 to complete the dorm.
KWH Assessment Surveys - Palawan Region, Philippines
In partnership with the Solar Energy Foundation (STS), KWH has been actively conducting assessment surveys in fishing villages of the Calamianes group of islands in the Palawan Region, Philippines. The goal is to evaluate the social and economic status of the communities with the objective of bringing community development and long-term energy solutions through renewable power and sustainable business. The project aims to understand key parameters that affect the livelihood and the cultural makeup of the community, and how power sources such as solar (PV) and an ice-making machine for the day’s catch can affect these parameters.
ESW Drinking Water Treatment System - Cité Soleil, Haiti 2020
In January 2020, Jack McNamee returned to Port au Prince, Haiti to work with Fr. Rick Frechette and a team of Haiti Tec students, instructors and alumni on the installation of the drinking water treatment system at Cité Soleil.
ESW Water Treatment System - St Philomene, Haiti 2017
In November 2017, Jack McNamee (Plumbers Without Borders) worked with Makenson Picot and his Haiti Tec team to install a drinking water treatment system at the St Philomene school in Kenscoff, Haiti which serves over 400 children. St Philomene is high in the hills (5000 ft above sea level), two hours from Port au Prince. After developing an installation plan with local staff, the team installed a new pump, added spigots for drinking water, and installed the new treatment system. This project could not have been possible without the tireless dedication of Mr. McNamee and Mr. Picot. We also thank the Emerald City Rotary Club and Ky and Margaret Thompson for their generous support of this project.
ESW Hurricane Matthew Recovery - Grand Goave, Haiti 2016
On October 4th 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, killing over 800 people and leaving a wake of destruction and a humanitarian crisis. Fred Shilling, the vice president of Plumbers Without Borders (PWB) and long-time partner of CEJS and the Seattle University chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), traveled to Haiti to help our Haiti Tec partners prioritize rebuilding efforts. Thanks to dozens of generous CEJS donors, Haiti Tec apprentices installed a permanent drinking water treatment system in Grand Goave for 250 students who attend the school located at the St. Francis of Assisi church. An additional treatment system was installed at the Good Samaritan Foundation’s Haiti Mission in Cité Soleil.
ESW Drinking Water Treatment System - Croix des Bouquets, Haiti 2016
In June 2016, Haiti Tec students were joined by Jack McNamee from the Andrea Bocelli Foundation to install a drinking water treatment system for Notre Dame du Rosiare in Croix des Bouquets which serves over 250 students. All of this work is supported by CEJS and the Seattle University chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World.
New Treatment System - Port au Prince, Haiti 2015
In August 2015, Haiti Tec students installed a new treatment system in Port au Prince at Foyer d'Amour d'Haiti which is a school that serves approximately 200 children with disabilities. The treatment system will provide approximately 15,000 liters of safe water per day to the school and to surrounding neighbors. This project was supported by generous donations from Mr. Carlos Herrera and Seattle's Emerald City Rotary Club.
ESW Fighting Cholera - Marchand-Dessalines, Haiti 2010
After a devastating outbreak of cholera, an SU alumnus working in Haiti reached out to SU contacts to arrange the construction of a water treatment system to be placed by a clinic close to the center of the outbreak. Partners from ESW, World Water Partners, and the Engineering Project Center accepted the challenge and assembled four drinking water treatment systems to be shipped over.
Earthquake Response - Port au Prince, Haiti 2010
Within days of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, Seattle University students and faculty began shipping drinking water treatment systems to Port au Prince. After sending three emergency relief systems, additional units were shipped to our CEJS partners at Haiti Tec which is a vocational school located in Port au Prince. With the help of professionals Fred Shilling, Rick Ehlert and SU alumnus Patrick Cummings (BSCE '08), Haiti Tec students installed these additional systems at two medical clinics and two schools, and they continue to support the testing and maintenance of these systems today.
ESW Stormwater Diversion Project - Hagley Gap, Jamaica 2009
Seattle University students traveled to Hagley Gap, Jamaica during spring break 2009 to complete a stormwater diversion project for the Blue Mountain Project (BMP) medical clinic, founded in 2005 by SU nursing student Christine Topinka (’09). In preparation, an SU team aided by two students from the University of Technology Kingston traveled to the clinic in July 2008 to assess the site conditions by conducting a topographic survey. Then, during fall and winter quarters, SU students worked with Professor Wes Lauer to design the conveyance system which required a 20-foot long trench coupled with a culvert that would reroute water under the road and down to the river.
Finally, In March 2009 the team returned to Jamaica to assist in the construction of the diversion system. With the help of local workers the team successfully installed the system. Additionally, the team finalized designs for a drinking water treatment system for the clinic. It was installed in May 2009 by UTech students and members of the University of Michigan’s BLUELab student group
Rotary Boys and Girls Club - Seattle, WA 2017
In August 2017, ESW partnered with SU's Center for Community Engagement and worked with a group of students at Seattle's Rotary Boys and Girls club. The students learned about e-waste and how to shift to fix-it culture. Each student learned how t replace the battery and screen on an iPhone. The second topic was aquaponics where students learned how to assemble an aquaponics system. In September, students harvested their first crop of lettuce.
Washington Middle School Aquaponics System - Seattle, WA 2017
SU's ESW chapter partnered with Washington Middle School to teach Seattle youth about sustainable agriculture. The team of engineers built an aquaponics system for a science classroom at WMS. Check out a video of the system and real-time water quality data here!
Flood Relief - Curtis, WA 2008
In February 2008, engineering students joined SU staff members on a service mission to flood stricken Curtis, Washington. The heavy rains that closed portions of I-5 in January also damaged hundreds of homes and left the local drinking water treatment plant incapable of providing safe water to the community. As a result, a water boiling requirement was expected to extend into April. The SU team installed a water treatment system uses microfiltration and ultraviolet light disinfection and was similar to the one employed in Thailand during August 2007.
Liberty Children's Home - Ladyville, Belize 2011-present
Professionals Without Borders has a long history of partnering with Liberty Children's Home, a sanctuary for more than forty abused, abandoned, and neglected children, some of whom also have special needs or suffer from HIV or AIDS. Since 2011, Seattle University has returned to Ladyville, Belize each year to work on sustainable infrastructure projects.
PWOB Security System - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2020
This year, PWOB assisted in strengthening site security for the Liberty property. A new guard house is under construction and a video surveillance system will be installed throughout the compound soon.
PWOB Installed LED Lights, Pipes, and Mural - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2019
In 2019, PWOB participants painted a mural, preformed some maintenance on water pipelines, installed LED lighting to the interiors and exteriors of buildings, improved plumbing issues ranging form adding showerheads to replacing toilets.
PWOB Grey Water System and Painting - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2018
This year, 13 PWOB participants painted 6 dome buildings, flushed out the grey water from all of Liberty, placed tiles in two shower stalls, organized hundreds of shoes and boxes of clothing, and helped out with all kinds of odds and ends in plumbing and electrical.
PWOB Greenhouse - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2017
In 2017, PWOB had three major projects on site: greenhouse repair/rebuild, building a chicken coop, and installation of new acoustic panels in the dining room.
PWOB Housing and infrastructure - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2016
In 2016, PWOB continued their working partnership with Liberty. The team continued work on volunteer housing and infrastructure improvements.
PWOB Grey Water System - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2015
In 2015, PWOB continued their working partnership with Liberty. The team continued work on a grey water catchment system and the installation of a rainwater catchment system.
PWOB Roof Improvements and Rain Water Reclamation - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2014The 2014 trip was dedicated to cleaning and applying an elastomeric roof coating for the dome style buildings which should last for the next 12 years. In addition to the roofs the team painted doors for installation in the buildings and painted benches and other items outside in an effort to provide a positive outdoor environment. Other work included placing the finishing touches on the rain water reclamation system that PWOB installed in 2013.
PWOB Grey Water Maintenance and Rainwater Catchment Installation- Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2013
This year, PWOB preformed some maintenance on the grey water system and installed a rainwater catchment system as well to added to the fresh water available to the orphanage. The team also added some needed security improvements.
PWOB Grey Water System Installation - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2012
In March 2012, PWOB founders Cal Ihler and Mike Mullen led a group of seven Seattle University students on a 10-day service trip. This was PWOB’s second trip to Belize, and student volunteers ranged from freshmen to seniors. PWOB installed a 2” and 3” pipe to carry grey water from three of the residences to an underground collection tank. From the tank the water is then pumped to a 25-foot tower and tank and then gravity fed through 900 feet of pipe to irrigate the vegetable gardens. Some of the water is used to wash down the pig pens each day.
PWOB Greywater Irrigation System Installation - Liberty Children's Home, Belize 2011
PWOB’s first ever trip to Belize occurred in March 2011, with PWOB co-founders Cal Ihler and Mike Mullen leading a team of five students and one alumnus plus one staff member to install a graywater irrigation system at Liberty Children’s Home in Ladyville.
In December 2010, Seattle University’s Campus Ministry sponsored their 16th annual Mexico Mission Trek (MMT). In all, 16 Seattle University students and 3 staff & faculty travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to assist the non-profit organization Esperanza in building the foundation of a new home for a family living in poverty.
ESW Coffee Wastewater Treatment - Matagalpa, Nicaragua 2013-2016
In December 2012, an ESW team of SU faculty, alumni, and students convened in Nicaragua with UCA faculty and students to initiate a design project for treating coffee processing wastewater. UCA students tested wastewater characteristics, SU students designed an appropriate treatment as their Capstone project, and the combined groups of students tested and implement the treatment systems on Nicaraguan coffee farms. To facilitate knowledge transfer and sustainability, two UCA students came to Seattle University for a week during summer 2013 to study water quality and water filtration system testing in SU campus labs. Finally, funds were raised and a contingent of professors, staff, students and alumni travelled to a local farm outside Matagalpa to complete the installation in March 2015. See a video about the process here.
PWOB Infrastructure Projects - Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Nicaragua 2015
SU students aided the construction of infrastructure projects at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage.
PWOB Infrastructure Projects - Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Nicaragua 2014
SU students aided the construction of infrastructure projects at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage.
PWOB Wire Fence Installation - Casa Padre Wasson, Nicaragua 2012
In December 2012, Audrey Hudgins led a group of students and staff members to Nicaragua. This was to be PWOB's third trip to Nicaragua, where PWOB was founded. The Nicaragua team worked on an infrastructure project focused on improving the lives of orphans living at Casa Padre Wasson in Jintotepe, the Nicaraguan home of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. The team spent a majority of their time installing a post and wire fence around a pasture for the orphanage's cows. Working alongside the pequeños, the PWOB crew dug holes, planted posts, and strung barbed wire between the posts.
PWOB Water Line Installations - La Concha, Nicaragua 2011
Over the last three years the government water purveyor, Enecal has been working with the community of San Juan la Concepcion (La Concha) on a project to install a water line that will provide water to 300 families, representing about 1,500 people. The community had a very old line that was broken in many places and rendering it beyond repair. Enecal, did not have the resources to install the pipe, but had a large reliable water tank at the top of the hill with clean drinking water, which PWOB was able to dig a trench to and install one mile of three-inch pipe at a depth at four feet.
ESW Water System Installation - San Juan de Concepcion, Nicaragua 2010
A group of ESW students partnered with the village of San Juan de Concepcion to install a water system. Over 350 families in the village each agreed to dig at least four meters of length for the 1600 meter, 1.2 meter deep trench. The team also helped install a new 3-inch PVC pipe that connected a 302 meter deep well to the homes of approximately 1500 residents.
ESW Development of Coffee Production Facilities - Matagalpa, Nicaragua 2008
SU engineering students partnered with the SU Chemistry Department to develop coffee production facilities for farmers.
ESW Diverting Stormwater - Managua, Nicaragua 2007
A team of SU ESW students worked on a project to divert stormwater from an elementary school’s courtyard.
ESW Aquaponics - Manchay, Peru 2016
In June 2016, ESW students broke ground on an aquaponics facility with students from the Instituto Superior Tecnológico Trentino Juan Pablo II in the town of Manchay, near Lima, Peru. Aquaponics systems grow fish and vegetables in the same greenhouse while using ten times less water than traditional agriculture. Project partners also include faculty from neighboring La Molina University who will provide aquaculture expertise and materials.
ESW Aquaponics Improvement & Vermiculture Program - Manchay, Peru 2017
ESW students Armand Shahbazian (BSEE ’17), Emily Mather (BSME ’18) and Heather Bergey (BSCE ’20) traveled to Manchay in March 2017 to install Raspberry Pi-controlled sensors for pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen. After testing the system hydraulics, the ISTTJP team installed a solar array that will charge two lead-acid batteries that continuously power an air pump that provides oxygen to the fish tanks. The ISTTJP team also started a vermiculture composting program for cafeteria food waste from this school of over 500 students.