Tag Archives: service projects

A Little Community Service

Rob Parker

Rob Parker,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 11 April 2017

Similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program around the United States, the City of Athens has an “Adopt-a-Street” program. As a community service, the Engineering Ambassadors have adopted Franklin Avenue near uptown Athens.

Adopt-a-Street

A few times a year, we gather on Franklin Avenue and do a trash pick-up. It’s a time for us to get together, have some fun, enjoy each other’s company, and do something good for the community. Though the street is never too dirty, we try and schedule a clean-up directly following a big weekend when there has been a larger-than-usual crowd in town.

This semester we did the clean-up twice. It never takes too long—about 30 minutes—and none of us mind doing it. Franklin Avenue is far enough off campus that it has a mixture of both students and full-time Athens residents, so I’m sure the full-time residents appreciate the street being cleaned.

It’s easy for us to get lost in our busy schedules and kind of put community service to the side. I know that I’m guilty of doing that from time to time. But then I’m reminded of how good I feel after participating in bettering the community that I live in. So to all of the Engineering Ambassadors that helped myself and the community this year by participating in the Franklin Avenue clean-up, I commend you and I’m excited for this tradition to continue.

Volunteering at the Community Dinner

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 31 March 2017

One important role of an engineering ambassador is to give back to the community. Earlier this month, some of us volunteered at the Church of Christ’s community dinner. Every Tuesday they host an open and free meal, to the public.

For an event like this, they have a lot of roles to fill, and that’s where we came in! Some ambassadors worked earlier on in the day prepping the food, but I got to work the later shift where we got to serve the food and get to know some of the community members.

Serving Food

When I first arrived we were greeted by all of the members of the church. We were then shown around the kitchen, and were assigned positions along the serving table.

The menu that night consisted of breakfast burritos, along with all of the traditional breakfast sides and a choice of dessert. Some of us were assigned to the meats. Some were assigned to the burrito toppings. Since it was Pi Day, there was peach pie for dessert. I got to pass out the hash browns and French fries.

When the dinner started, we got to talk with all of the community members as they walked through the line. After everyone was served, we were able to join them. I heard different life stories and connected with some of the people in just the short amount of time I was there.

It was such a rewarding experience because we got to know and give back to the community. All of the church volunteers were so kind and welcoming, which is why I think the whole event was such a success!

Designing a PT Standing Frame

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 February 2017

The process of transforming from an engineering student to an actual engineer is one that is very important to have completed by the time you have graduated from an engineering school. At Ohio University the mechanical engineering students are tasked with a senior design project to do just that. We are given a real world problem that we must solve by designing, creating, and implementing a mechanical device or process.

My senior design team was given a problem from a physical therapy professor at OU. Every year she takes a group of her students to Gabarone, Botswana, in Southern Africa. They travel to a clinic there to get real world physical therapy experience while also helping the staff in Gabarone. They have a need there to get physically disabled children, ages 2-8, into a standing position, so that’s where we as engineers can help.

We spent the fall semester inventing designs for a physically therapy standing frame that would be cost effective (around $100) and easy to build in Gabarone. We finalized our design and got the thumbs up from the physical therapist.

ME Senior Design

This semester we began by tying up loose ends and actually started to produce the first prototype. We should be finished with it next week and will begin testing it by having kids actually try it out.

Thus far the process has been very gratifying and fulfilling. The opportunity to use my engineering skills to create a product that will benefit others is the reason I wanted to become an engineer all along.

Senior Design Demo Day

Katie Logue

Katie Logue,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 April 2016

With graduation just around the corner, I really can’t believe how quickly my senior year has gone by. There are so many things left to do, but I know the next four weeks will be over in the blink of an eye.

This past weekend, my senior design class presented our final projects to other students, faculty, mentors, parents, and members of the community. We call it Demo Day, and it’s the culmination of all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into our projects over the past two semesters.

I may be a little biased, but I think our team’s demonstration and presentation went perfectly. Our booth was a big hit with the attendees. Our project was to create a custom tricycle for a five-year-old girl named Fiona, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum. This condition affects the ability of the two hemispheres of her brain to communicate with each other. Due to this condition, Fiona needs physical therapy to improve her strength, coordination, and motor skills. The tricycle we created for her can be used independently for therapy, and it can also be attached to her mother’s bike so that the entire family can ride together on the bike path.

ALT

Our Demo Day booth, with our actual project setup, tri-fold board displaying our needs statement and project pictures, and laptops with a slideshow of photos, and before and after videos of Fiona riding her old trike and her new trike.

We were so grateful that Fiona and her family could join us on Demo Day. Fiona is such an adorable, happy little girl, and she absolutely loves her new trike. She kept asking members of our group to take her for a ride around the building.

After about half an hour of pulling Fiona around, we proceeded to the auditorium to present our project. I was fortunate to have the responsibility of presenting for our team. When I flipped to a slide with a picture of Fiona’s trike, she got so excited, pointing and laughing. I had to pause my presentation to let the laughter of the audience die down.

Then, I asked her father to say a few words about what the project means to their family, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This project has been so rewarding, and Saturday was the perfect way to wrap it all up. It was incredibly cool to be able to share this experience with so many people.

Senior Design group

Group photo of our team on Demo Day with Fiona, her brother Griffin, and parents Megan and Lenny.

Now that Demo Day is over, it’s like we’re finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s unbelievably bittersweet. As excited as I am for the past four years of school and one year of co-op work to pay off, I know I’ll miss this school very much.

Athens will always be home to me, and I wouldn’t trade being a bobcat for the world. Every late night studying for finals, every frustrating assignment I had to do, and every paper I had to bribe myself with coffee to finish was worth it. I feel like I’ve made the most of my time here, but part of me wishes I had more time.

I think as I look back, I’m realizing that it’s the people I’ve met here that mean the most. I’ve met some of my very best friends over the past five years, and I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Russ College community.

Global Engineering Projects

Nicole Sova

Nicole Sova,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 March 2016

My favorite organization on campus is Global Engineering Projects (formerly known as Bobcats Building a Better World). I’ve been involved since my freshman year and have traveled to Ghana on two separate occasions with members of the organization. It has been the most influential student organization on my experience at OU.

The mission of Global Engineering Projects is “to help disadvantaged communities improve their quality of life through implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.”

We are a group of about 20 undergraduate engineering students of all disciplines. We meet once a week for 30 minutes to an hour or so to work on and present designs for our current projects. Especially as a young student, it was really interesting to learn from and work with students of all disciplines and years.

During my first year I learned a bit of AutoCAD and was able to do some on-site surveying because of the upperclassmen civil engineers that were involved in the organization.

Global Engineering Projects has a long-standing relationship with a village in Ghana, Maase-Offinso. Because of this relationship we are able to implement the designs we work on all year and feel the benefits of working on a real project and we are also able to witness the sustainability and impact of past designs.

Maase-Offinso

My freshman year (2012-2013) we worked on building a duplex for two teachers and their families. The duplex was intended to attract and keep teachers in the area. The stipend offered to teachers in Ghana is similar regardless of their location, so the village has a difficult time retaining teachers. The teacher accommodations have many common amenities that were not previously available to the teachers of the village.

The first year we designed and implemented a septic tank and an anaerobic digestion pit; we also surveyed the land and repaired some of the older projects.

My sophomore year, I was unable to go on the trip to Ghana, but the group sent five students. We added a rain water collection system to the duplex, worked on some of the duplex layout, laid the piping, and taught the school children about the water cycle.

My junior year, we worked on adding solar panels and a water pump to the house, we wired the house, we sifted sand to the proper grading to refill the anaerobic pit, we fit the water tanks into the house, we taught the school children about solar energy, and we scoped out future projects.

Maase-Offinso

At the conclusion of last year’s trip, the duplex was nearly complete; we were even able to host a party in the house at the conclusion of our trip. During the party, the three travel team students and Dr. Giesey were able to express our gratitude to the locals who hosted and helped us throughout the trip. We danced around, ate great food, and showed off the solar powered lights.

Maase-Offinso

Currently, our group is working on completing the duplex, creating a system for monitoring the water and electricity usage in the house, building a playground for the village, and a few other future projects.

Global Engineering Projects has allowed me to form great friendships, develop engineering skills (both designing and adapting projects), and fall in love with a place and people across the Atlantic.

Getting Ready for Race for a Reason

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 March 2015

For the past four years the Saturday before Final week begins, Race for a Reason occurs. This is an event put on by O’Bleness Hospital, OU Sports Administration Program and Athletes in Action.

Last year over 1,000 people participated in four events raising $115,000 for charities, non-profits and student organizations. A 5K Race, Mud Run, Triathlon and 3K Walk are all put on the day of the event and registration costs are then put towards whichever cause you choose.

I’ve been able to participate in the Mud Run before and am excited to participate in the sprint Triathlon this year. The mud run was a short route up to the ROTC training course and back down to Peden Stadium. I signed up for this with my roommate freshman year and had a blast!

After the Mud Run

This year, two of my current roommates are looking to participate in the sprint triathlon. We were excited to be able to run in the new Walter Fieldhouse this Winter while the cold weather still stuck around. Now the weather is warming up and we’re able to work out outside while getting ready for the Race for a Reason sprint triathlon.

Tau Beta Pi Supports the Polar Plunge

Courtney Sterrick

Courtney Sterrick,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 15 February 2015

This year, Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, sponsored six members to jump into Lake Snowden on February 14th. The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event during the winter months which, in Ohio, sponsors Special Olympics Ohio. Prior to the event, participants must raise at least $50 for the cause.

At the day of the event, each participant runs into a body of water…and freezes! Besides running into the lake, there is also a costume contest, where fellow onlookers and participants cheer for their favorite costume. While I was too chicken to take the plunge, I supported fellow Tau Bates as they jumped.

Tau Beta Pi’s participants (from left to right):
Josh Johnson, Josh Frash, Eric Arnold, Greg Croxford, Zach Zwahlen, and Marshal Willet

Polar Plunge: Before

As if the concept of diving into an Ohio lake during February didn’t sound appealing enough, the day was particularly cold. On top of the lake was ice, which had to be removed so that participants could enter the water. At the time of the event kickoff, the wind chill made the already chilly 30-degree afternoon even colder. In fact, it started snowing while we waited for our group to jump in!

Running into Lake Snowden:

Polar Plunge: During

The water was cold!

Polar Plunge: After

Both the spectators and participants had a great time supporting such a great cause.