Building a Sustainable Future

National Sustainable Design Expo

URI engineering students at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C.

A mission by University of Rhode Island engineering students to treat wastewater at a Guatemalan school brought students to the nation’s capital in April 2014.

At the National Sustainable Design Expo, students updated government officials and industry executives on their multi-year project in rural San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala. Under the auspices of the Engineers for a Sustainable World URI chapter, the students have designed and started to implement a septic system for a local school. The low-maintenance, self-running system replaces a pipe that deposited raw sewage into a nearby river.

The students will travel to Guatemala in the summer of 2014 to continue work on the project. They plan to build a sand filter and constructed wetlands to serve as a secondary treatment process for the septic tank they previously installed.

Students who presented in Washington, D.C. were Maria Briones (’14), Mattia Gorga (’15), Jonathan Rosales (’16), Joseph Rocchio (’16), and Engineers for a Sustainable World URI chapter President Jessica Damicis (’15). Civil engineering Professor Vinka Oyanedel-Craver serves as the group’s advisor.