Throughout the past few years, students from Villanova’s College of Engineering have made enormous contributions in Cambodia through the Villanova Engineering Service Learning program. Recently, VESL Director Jordan Ermilio ’98 ME, ’06 MSWREE, PE, RPCV had an opportunity to further connections in that country by presenting at a conference titled “An Holistic View of Resilient Infrastructure.” Hosted by Catholic Relief Services, the United Nations Office for Project Services and the government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, the two-day conference held in Phnom Penh was focused on sharing best-practices for planning, design, implementation and maintenance of resilient sustainable infrastructure.
Industry professionals from across the globe attended the conference at which Ermilio presented his experiences in sustainable water infrastructure in Madagascar and Nicaragua through the VESL program. In remote areas of underdeveloped countries, finding, storing and transporting clean water can be an enormous challenge, so the development of gravity-fed water systems and chlorination techniques are vital for growth. Ermilio explains, “There are many different aspects of a water system that need to be controlled, monitored and maintained in order to continue functioning properly and preventing issues from occurring.” He appreciates the opportunity to share his past experiences so that others can take that knowledge and use it to further their own projects.
Other conference topics included transportation, disaster risk reduction, infrastructure financing and sustainability challenges, with the ultimate goal of establishing a framework for Southeast Asian countries to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.