A ‘How-to Guide’ for Changing the World
By Matt Morgan
On April 7, admitted students from the Class of 2026 will learn how to put their passion into practice with the Engineers Without Borders online event for Preview Week.
Changing the world is something many young people want to do. Figuring out how to actually do it is much more difficult.
During his first year as a member of Engineers Without Borders, Aaron Juan ’23 was asked to brainstorm possible water filtration solutions for a town in Rwanda and share his ideas with the group during a meeting.
When his presentation ended, Juan’s fellow club members started asking questions. How feasible was a certain part of the construction? What was the best way to make parts? How would the people of Nyange interact with the solution?
Juan didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the start of a collaborative process. Juan’s fellow club members were teaching him how to take his ideas and turn them into plans that can have a real impact on people’s lives.
“By the end of the meeting the design I had proposed was being discussed by the whole club,” Juan says. “Experiencing the iterative design process for a real-world solution is something I haven’t found in any other club. It’s also why I love EWB so much.”
Juan hopes to pass on this gift to the next generation of passionate problem solvers at Santa Clara. On April 7 at 6 p.m., Juan will co-host the Engineers Without Borders Presentation & Student Panel Q&A as part of Preview Week. The online session is open to all admitted students and will feature a short presentation by current students, followed by an opportunity for prospective students to ask questions.
Engineers without Borders is an international organization that envisions a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs. The Santa Clara chapter is working on several projects, including the water filtration project in Nyange, Rwanda and a local water project with Valley Verde.
Each year, the club sends a small team of students to work with its faculty advisors and partner community to implement, monitor, or assess its projects in Rwanda.
Juan says his work with EWB at Santa Clara has helped him view the world differently. He’s learned that engineering solutions are not created in a vacuum but are built upon a partnership with the community they serve. It’s helped him design solutions that are user-centered rather than use-centered.
Juan will be one of several club members presenting and answering questions.
“I am excited to talk about how different EWB is from most other clubs here at SCU,” Juan says. “I want to help people realize the potential they have to impact the world.”
Admitted students from the Class of 2026 are encouraged to register for virtual events throughout Preview Week and to register for the in-person event on April 9. Other virtual events include:
- Ciocca Center Overview and Live Student Pitches, April 5 at 3 p.m.
- Intro to Engineering, April 7 at 4 p.m. (led by Shoba Krishnan)
- Gender and the Law in the U.S., April 8 at 4 p.m. (led by Sharmila Lodhia)
To register for Santa Clara’s in-person event, visit the Preview Day website.