During spring break, members of Global Water Brigades traveled to Pajarillos, Honduras to dig trenches and lay pipe for its inhabitants. Engineering graduates Ryan Clark ’10, Molly Dunphy ’10, and Mindy Yoneshige ’10 took it one step further, bringing with them the inexpensive and efficient water filters they had made for their senior design project.
“During the past year,” said Clark, “we have been working on designing a filter the community would use. It had to be sustainable, and something they could stitch themselves that would be understandable to them from a cultural point of view.”
The team devised a filter for use in the home, settling on a design using 8 layers of fabric (97 percent cotton, 3 percent spandex). They tested their filter by replicating the condition of the village’s water in SCU’s civil engineering environmental laboratory.
In Honduras, the trio arranged with local water officials to demonstrate their filter in six homes. “The sanitation committee and water counsel helped the villagers understand the importance of using our filter,” said Yoneshige. “Having this source of power within the community backing us was exciting,” added Dunphy, “they made it clear that if the people wanted their kids to live longer, they need to make some changes.” The students left 20 filters with the villagers and said their next step is to get the $14 filters into the remaining 100 homes.
"This was an amazing experience; the people were so appreciative that we would think their community was important enough to do this for them,” said Yoneshige, “and it made us feel really good that a very simple design could make such a difference.”