Service learning project in Brazil: From concept to reality

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



Environmental engineers are uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution towards improving the human condition in underdeveloped areas. A sabbatical leave provides an excellent opportunity for faculty to apply their knowledge to benefit humanity as well as experience the challenges of engineering in underdeveloped areas of the world. My sabbatical project is to join an effort in Brazil to bring adequate drinking water to an area beset by drought and poverty. The Brazilian Rotary Club, Campinas Alvorada, has an ongoing project to install water tanks and low-tech filters in households in Chapada do Norte. This project presents considerable challenges for the engineer, but the benefits are many: learning first-hand the challenges involved in implementing technology in an under-developed region, enriching the classroom experience through the knowledge gained, and fostering greater understanding of engineering in a global setting. This paper relates the steps necessary to actually make the project happen: applying for sabbatical, procuring funding, arranging travel and living arrangements, getting the necessary travel documents, and performing the preliminary research of low tech treatment alternatives. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2006.



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