In an all-new The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D’Agostino, strategic partner of Susan Wagner PR + Best Rate of Climb, interviews Katie Picchione of the WPI chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA and WPI’s Rotaract Club, Richard Simon of the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley and Carl Gomes of the Rotary Club of Worcester. They talk about bringing water to the world.
A group of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students is taking new steps toward creating social change and improving water security in remote parts of the world. Since 2009, the WPI chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA has been working with the rural, indigenous community of Guachtuq, Guatemala to improve water security. Having water security means having access to adequate quantity and quality of water to meet needs. Currently, most families in Guachtuq rely on a polluted water basin to meet all their water needs. During the dry season (February through April), community members line up at the basin in the middle of the night to get enough water for drinking and cooking alone.
WPI students work with these families to build rainwater harvesting systems, which improve all three dimensions of water security. Over the past two years, they built 12 rainwater harvesting systems with families; 25 more will be constructed in May 2015, improving water security for all remaining families in Guachtuq.
This past summer, the WPI group developed relationships with the Rotary Clubs of Worcester and Nashoba Valley. Rotary International is a global community of committed professionals working together to serve others and advance peace. More than 1.2 million members in over 34,000 Rotary clubs worldwide volunteer in communities at home and abroad.
Worcester Rotary has sponsored students from WPI’s Engineers Without Borders chapter to start a new Rotaract Club at WPI, which is being mentored by Worcester Rotarian Carl Gomes. Rotaract is a service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30 who are dedicated to community and international service.
Since August, WPI Rotaract has been working closely with WPI’s Engineers Without Borders chapter to further the rainwater harvesting project in Guatemala. With the Nashoba Valley Rotary, the WPI students are in the process of applying for a $35,000 Rotary Foundation Global Grant. Nashoba Valley Rotary President Richard Simon has worked tirelessly to gain support for the grant from Rotary Clubs throughout Massachusetts and spread the word about the good work these WPI students are doing.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Steve chairs the Public Relations Committee for Worcester Rotary.