Each year Villanova students participate in a variety of service projects and service trips.
The Mechanical Engineering Department has engaged in numerous international multidisciplinary service projects to not only provide real-world learning opportunities to our students but also lead the initiative to solve global issues in poverty alleviation for communities in developing countries, including Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the Philippines. The projects on which the students work, impact the lives of thousands of people living without access to basic needs such as clean water and electricity.
In Nicaragua, we have worked with the Municipal Engineering Office in Waslala and continued our support of Water for Waslala, a non-profit organization, by providing technical services for the feasibility studies, design, implementation, and evaluation of potable water systems in isolated communities. On another project, a multidisciplinary group of ME, ECE, CEE, and business students designed a 60 kW micro-hydro electrification system for an isolated community of 80 households. This partnership approach has also allowed our students to use their negotiation and project management skills by leveraging fundraising activities with counterpart funding from local and national government agencies in Nicaragua.
In Panama, we have renewed our relationship with Father Wally and his Capuchin Mission. Teams of engineering students along with faculty members and alumni assist Father Wally with multiple projects like the construction of a reservoir or the design of a water distribution system. Currently a Water Resources Master Plan for the area served by Fr. Wally is being developed by a group of faculty, students, and alumni of the College of Engineering.
In the Philippines, engineering design teams have supported local innovators to engineer their ideas into prototypes and working products in the Province of Ifugao. This project has been funded by an NCIIA, Sustainable Vision Grant and has partnered with a local non-government organization calledSITMo. This past summer, engineering and business students traveled to Ifugao and conducted an innovation workshop where they identified two projects with the potential to impact the lives of many people. One project is the design and manufacturing of a 20 kW cross-flow hydraulic turbine, which is currently being field-tested in a remote village. The other project is the testing and redesign of a retort system currently being used to extract essential oils from lemon grass. Although lemon grass grows very well in the region, the transportation of raw products is very challenging due to limited access to roads. Rural farmers in the area are currently able to extract essential oils prior to distribution, which significantly increases the market value and reduces the transportation cost.
There are numerous other local, national and international service learning opportunities in which Villanova Mechanical Engineering students and faculty participate.