Amigos de Jesus
Since 2000, engineering students have worked on various projects for Amigos de Jesus, a Catholic orphanage in Poses Verdes, Honduras. The project took root within the Civil Engineering capstone course after Drs. David Dinehart and Shawn Gross traveled there with a team of students to design and build a 30 foot cross that can be seen for miles away. Since then, Villanova students and faculty have constructed a volunteer center, school buildings, dormitories and other educational facilities that benefit not only the children at the orphanage, but also those from the community who would otherwise have no access to a bilingual education. Drs. Bridget Wadzuk and Andrea Welker also included projects in the Civil Engineering service learning course to assist with the design and installation of a water pumping, treatment and distribution system at the orphanage. Most recently, students completed the design of a two story church for the site, which is now nearly complete.
The U.S. State Department started issuing travel advisories for Honduras around 2011 and as a result, Villanova has not permitted any student trips to the Amigos de Jesus Home for Children since that time. Students remain involved, however, in design projects. In addition, Jeffrey Cook, manager of Villanova’s Structural Engineering Lab, still receives regular updates on the progress of the chapel construction and other ongoing construction projects.