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Students hungry for service

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 00:02


Photo courtesy SeeeMe

For a donation of $5, students and community members can have an evening of food, a performance by the African Student Association and presentations raising awareness of the need for sustainable systems around the world at the annual Hunger Banquet.


Students Together Ending Poverty is hosting the event at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Taggart Student Center Ballroom.


“Any student that comes to the Hunger Banquet can attest for how powerful it can be,” said Sharon Lyman, STEP director. “It’s a very humbling experience. We’re going to do some things that really bring it to home and send the message of how lucky we are.”


All proceeds from this year’s event will go to SeeeMe, a nonprofit organization with roots in Logan. Bill Grenney was a professor of civil and environmental engineering at USU when he and several students formed a chapter of Engineers Without Borders in 2004. A few years later, he started the Institute for Sustainable Economics, Education and Engineering, or SeeeMe.


Grenney and team members travel to Uganda and implement sustainable systems in schools, orphanages and rural villages. Some of their ongoing projects include holding women’s health seminars, making fertility bracelets, providing clean water, installing solar power, making feminine hygiene kits and distributing recreation equipment in schools, villages and orphanages.  


Sonia Manual-Dupont, a professor at USU and SeeeMe volunteer, will present Wednesday night. She hopes students will see the importance of implementing these sustainable programs.  


“Some of these organizations get people to go do things and it makes them feel good, but it might not be what the community needed most,” Dupont said. “I think (students) will start to see how all of that comes together and how sometimes you’ll have a great idea, and you get there and realize that there are so many more basic needs that have to be met.”


Members of Engineers Without Borders, an organization with a chapter on campus, will also be in attendance on Wednesday, giving a presentation on cleaning water using a sand-filtration system.


Laurie McNeill, a professor at USU and EWB club advisor, said there is a history of organizations trying to help developing countries without using systems that are appropriate for the community, such as building a school without trained teachers.


“We want to put in some technology or approach to solve a problem that makes sense to the local community that is an appropriate level of technology and cost,” McNeill said. “If you don’t consider those things, your project will fail.”

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