January 26, 2011
Engineers Without Borders hosts dessert and wine fundraiser, silent auction
On Monday, Jan. 31 the UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders will host a dessert and wine tasting, its biggest fundraiser of the year. The evenings entertainment includes live music, a joint presentation by the groups president and the Bolivia project leader, and a silent auction.
The annual event, now in its sixth year, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. in the UW Tower. RSVP online or buy tickets at the door. The suggested tax-deductible donation is $30 for non-students and $15 for students. The event is all-ages, but sampling local wines is restricted to ages 21 and over.
“This is more than your basic bake sale. The desserts are all carefully crafted by students,” says chapter president Mark Raleigh, a graduate student in Civil & Environmental Engineering. “The event is also a chance for people to hear our stories, see some pictures and bid on unique crafts and goods, all to support our vision for the future of our partner communities.”
All proceeds will fund travel costs and supplies for the UW chapter’s work in Bolivia. For the past four summers, students and faculty have traveled to a remote village in the Andes to work with residents on engineering projects. The team started by installing clean-burning stoves and chimneys to improve indoor air quality, and replacing thatched with metal roofs. They have also worked on projects to store and deliver water for irrigation and home use, and to fortify mountain roads that are washed out by seasonal rains.
They have returned to work on projects in their original site, the village of Yanayo Grande, but the chapter has also branched out to nearby villages.
“When we started in 2007 we did our first roof and stoves project, and our first irrigation project,” Raleigh said. “The following summer we received over 10 handwritten requests for similar projects in neighboring communities, and we soon found ourselves with a steady supply of new project requests every year.”
Faculty advisers since the UW chapters inception are Susan Bolton, professor of Forest Resources, and Mark Benjamin, professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
“The cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural education that members experience represents a unique opportunity,” Benjamin said. “Although the word ‘engineers’ is in our name, we have membership from across campus.”
“Seeing what these students have accomplished will inspire everyone who attends and make them proud to be a part of the university,” Benjamin added, “and, we hope, encourage them to become a part of this great team.”
Monday’s entertainment will include live music by classically trained violinist Samson Lu and “Satellite by Night,” a group that incorporates Bolivian instruments.
Silent auction winners will be announced throughout the evening. Items up for bid include handmade Bolivian crafts, gift certificates to nearby restaurants, a trip by private plane for wine tasting on Vashon Island and a 3-hour trip around Lake Washington aboard a 22-foot sailboat.