Engineers without Borders hosts fundraiser at local restaurant


Members of NIU’s Engineers Without Borders organization met for a fundraiser at Potbelly Sandwich Shop, 1013 W. Lincoln Highway, Tuesday night.

By Robert Baird

NIU students and community members gathered Tuesday night to raise money to provide solar energy in Tanzania, and water filtration in Guanajuato, Mexico, the two main projects of NIU’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) organization.

From 5 to 8 p.m., 25 percent of all sales at PotbellySandwich Shop, 1013 W. Lincoln Highway, went to NIU’s EWB group. The international Center for Appropriate Technology and Indigenous Stability (iCADIS) Mexico project is dedicated to providing assistance to economically-limited communities.

“We’re working to provide water filtration,” said NIU EWB president Joshua Ott. “We’re transferring their technology slowly from third world to the first world.”

The EWB is made up of professionals and engineer students, determined to implement sustainable engineering projects in economically-limited areas.

They use locally found materials in central Mexico to aid the project in filtering water in the region.

“We’ve got a 4-year timeline,” said Holly Burwell, NIU iCADIS Mexico project leader. “We put on add-on filters intended to cater contaminants in those specific areas.”

EWB is also working on a five year project in Tanzania to provide solar energy. They’re designing a solar water heater for a Catholic school in Nyegina Village, Musoma, Tanzania.

“It’s a great feeling,” said NIU EWB member Taylor Bogan. “Going to a less fortunate country and helping the communities. I love seeing the smiling faces.”

The engineers are also designing a lion stove, which is a more efficient brick stove that requires less wood to function.

NIU’s EWB hosts various fundraisers and events in the community to keep the group noticed and sustainable.

“It’s a passion,” said NIU EWB member Amanda Emrich. “I’ve ran two marathons to raise money for building wells to improve water quality. I really enjoy helping this cause.”

To learn more about NIU’s Engineers Without Borders, go to