Senior, Civil Engineering
Athens, OH 22 January 2014 – One of the student organizations I’m currently involved with is Bobcats Building a Better World (BBBW). This organization’s main goal is to help disadvantaged communities through the application of economic and environmentally friendly engineering projects as well as giving students an ability to travel and develop respect for others across the globe.
Since 2006, BBBW has had a strong connection with Maase-Offinso, which is a small village in Ghana that is about 45 min. northwest of Kumasi. Over the past few years, students at Ohio have designed and installed various projects that have included a pump station to bring up ground water and a house for teachers’ accommodations.
More recently we have focused on the creation of a wastewater and water collection system for the teachers’ accommodations. This is in hopes to entice better teachers to the school and inevitably offer a better education to the children in the village. The picture below shows the group who traveled to Ghana last summer, including Russ College Associate Dean Dr. Giesey.
Currently there are about fifteen student members in the organization, running the gamut of the engineering majors here, and we are always looking for more. So if you are a current or future Bobcat and any of this interests you, I would highly recommend joining. I know I have loved the group and it has been an amazing opportunity to learn, travel, and help others!
Senior, Civil Engineering
Athens, OH 14 November 2013 – This week I got to be part of a great team effort. My student organization Bobcats Building a Better World ran into a design issue concerning the septic system on the duplex we are helping to construct in Ghana. We had previously designed an anaerobic digestion pit to treat the gray water exiting the septic tank because a standard leech field typically found in the US wouldn’t work in the clayey African soil. Unfortunately, after construction, it became apparent the design would not work as anticipated because of poor building materials and the local topography.
At the start of our one-hour meeting we knew we had a problem. Over the course of one hour the group came up with 3 alternatives to the design and we are in the process of choosing the most cost-effective option. It was great to see our team of students get excited about the issue and come up with creative solutions.
Bobcats Building a Better World, commonly referred to as BBBW, is the only international engineering service organization currently operating at Ohio University. We are partnered with Masse-Offinso in central Ghana. Our current project is to build a modern (running water, flush toilets, and reliable electricity) duplex to house teachers for the village. It is our hope that the living conditions, coupled with a fantastic village culture will draw passionate teachers from the more modern cities to the village and ultimately lead to a better education for children in the village.
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Athens, OH 9 September 2013 – This summer with the student organization Bobcats Building a Better World, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ghana, Africa. Bobcats Building a Better World has had long ties with Maase, a village in Ghana. The last project started has been to build teacher housing for the betterment of the schools. I had the privilege of traveling with the organization’s advisor, Dr. Giesey, and three other students in varying majors. Over the two weeks we were there, we worked on installing a septic system for the housing. Below shows the walls of the housing and the hole for the septic tank which was formed by poured concrete. We had to assure the level of elevation between all points of the septic system created the appropriate gradient.
The technical aspects of the project regarding engineering were new to me but I then had the chance to become a well-rounded student learning some aspects of civil engineering. The experience became all the more rewarding as we became immersed in the Ghanaian lifestyle and created close bonds within our group and with the people we got to work with there. Below shows our group members along with two Elders of the village who oversaw our project, and other community members who were able to give us a lot of help.
Before this I had never been out of the country and had not known what to expect. This experience helped to enrich my education but also helped me to learn about myself, what motivates me and what I am passionate about. The trip was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back!