Hello from Engineers Without Borders—Virginia Tech, EWB-VT! EWB is a student chapter of the national organization Engineers Without Borders. As you can see on our home page, our mission is to “partner with disadvantaged areas to improve their quality of life through the implementation of environmentally, equitably, and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineers and engineering students through education, encouragement, and experience.”

What this really comes down to is that we are a group of students - all students (not just those in engineering) - who are trying to assist our fellow members of the local and global community as best we can. By helping out in our community, we gain many skills and have wonderful unique experiences.    

Why you should be a student member of EWB-VT:

§  Hands on experience

§   Design

§   Field work

§   Building

§   Team work

§  Opportunities to travel

§  Regional and international conferences

§  LACO projects

§  Abroad with international projects

§  Networking with professionals, students, community members all over the world: many of our members have used their contacts with EWB to help them get jobs!

§  Great resume booster

§  Interdisciplinary project teams

§  Relevant experience

§  Access to the EWB-USA resume services

§  Opportunities for leadership

§  Soft” Skills:

o   Writing: technical reports, grants, presentations

o   Communication

o   Public speaking

§  Learn about global issues, development, and sustainability

How to get involved in EWB-VT:


1.      Join the EWB-VT listserv for email updates and access to our scholar page.

2.     Come to the General meetings! We have usually 2 meetings a month. See the calendar for times.

3.     Be active! Join one of the groups by emailing the director in charge of the project, he or she can tell you when they meet and what to do. Directors contacts

4.     Don’t be intimidated. Anyone of any skill level can be involved in EWB; freshmen and non-engineering majors can all play active roles in the chapter. All are welcome and everyone can provide valuable help and skills for our organization.


1.      Do you want to be a mentor for one of our projects or a faculty mentor for the chapter? We always welcome new mentors. Please email our faculty advisor Dr. Theo Dillaha, dillaha@vt.edu, if you would like more information on how to become a mentor.

2.     Participate in our activities. If you are in the Virginia Tech area you can join us in some of our yearly activities including our fall family picnic, Blacksburg Bolt 5k, bake sales, restaurant benefit dinners, benefit concerts, etc

3.     Donate to EWB-VT. Nearly all equipment and money for our projects is obtained by fundraising as a chapter. We receive some money from the university, but the majority comes from our wonderful donors.

        Visit our donation page to make a donation.

Quick facts about EWB-VT:

Where we are:

§  Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia

§  For more information about Virginia Tech: www.vt.edu

§  For more information about Blacksburg, Virginia: www.blacksburg.va.us

Who we are:

§  University chapter of EWB-USA: http://ewb-usa.org/

§  Over 200 members

§  40 highly active members

§  Members from all engineering disciplines

§  Members from other majors

§  Undergraduate and graduate student members

§  5 faculty and professional mentors

Our History:

2004 –                Founded by a small group of mechanical engineering students

2004 –                Began outreach program to Blacksburg High School: workshop to teach students more about                                         engineering, math, and science

2005 –                Became a member of EWB-USA

2006 –                Began first project in Dominican Republic

2007 –                Began Uganda and Guatemala projects

2009 –                Began Haiti project

2009 –                Started partnership with Sweet Briar College

2009 14          Completed a total of 6 implementation trips

2014 –                Re-energized local and community outreach initiative

What exactly are international projects?

§  Small scale development projects that are run by students with the help of professional mentors

§  Projects can start in one of two ways: a disadvantaged community can ask for help from EWB-USA or somebody in the chapter can identify a community in need

§  The chapter pledges to stay with each partner community for at least 5 years; a typical project will take about 1.5 years from proposal to implementation.

§  General project timeline:

1.      Project is proposed then approved by EWB-USA

2.     this phase is continuous from the start of the project to the end

3.     Trip: A small group of EWB-VT students travel to the community to learn about the project, take data, and most importantly speak with all of the community members to determine what must be accomplished in the future

4.     Design: students will design the solution to the problem and develop methods to make sure it will be successful and helpful for the community

5.     Approval from EWB-USA: the design and implementation method are approved of by EWB-USA

6.     Implementation: a group of students travel to the community to implement the design of the project; education for the community is also provided at this step

7.      Return trips: students return to the community occasionally to make sure the project is still successful

 Now that you know more about us, we'd love to see you at our meetings so we can discuss with you further any questions you may have for us. For any questions that you would like answered more quickly, email us at vtengineerswb@gmail.com.