Sept. 18, 2015

Contact: Amy Hewes

Cal Poly Student Leaders of Engineers Without Borders Join Forces with Global Partners at UN Conference

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Three student leaders from Engineers Without Borders — Cal Poly (EWB) worked with 500 delegates from around the world to advance global development at the seventh annual Millennium Campus Conference, an event sponsored by the United Nation’s Millennium Campus Network (MCN). The conference was held Aug. 11-15 at UN headquarters in New York.

MCN challenges student leaders to rethink the paradigms that perpetuate inequality and promote a collaborative approach to global development based on community-led partnerships.

Cal Poly EWB representatives included EWB past-president Chris Apple, an environmental engineering major senior from Templeton, Calif.; vice president Kimmy Pugel, an environmental engineering senior from Grass Valley, Calif.; and Thailand team project manager Dan Hornett, a civil engineering junior from San Ramon, Calif.

This year’s theme was SidekicksUNite, which presented opportunities for the participants to explore the concept that “partnerships between sidekicks is a more human-centered and sustainable approach to change, as opposed to heroes trying to save the world,” said Apple. The student delegates discussed common paradigms in global development, such as learning before serving, people vs. objects (avoiding objectification of clients and communities), partnerships vs. paternalism, and helping vs. helpfulness.

Speakers included Mogens Lykketoft, president-elect of the U.N. General Assembly’s 70th Session; Lakshmi Puri, assistant secretary general of the U.N. and deputy executive director of U.N. Women; Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a leading expert on economic development; and Sakena Yacoobi, executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, which has helped more than 12 million girls gain an education.

“We learned about global development campaigns, and we connected with inspiring youth leaders from Brazil, Ghana, Haiti, Hong Kong, Kenya, Liberia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.,” Apple said. “Basically, we learned about the world from new perspectives. All of us were inspired to continue making a difference in the world.”

About Engineers Without Borders – Cal Poly

Founded in 2005, Engineers Without Borders — Cal Poly has successfully collaborated with communities around the globe to implement engineering solutions to economic and environmental challenges. The group is working to improve sanitation at a village in India, provide food storage and safer bridges in Thailand, build a public school in Nicaragua, and create a bike-powered maize mill in Malawi.


Photo info: Cal Poly students Chris Apple (second from right), Kimmy Pugel (third from right), and Dan Hornett (fifth from right) pose with other student delegates at the United Nations conference.

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