Sol Park, Sanyukta Gokhale, and Kaylyn Colinco were members of a Global Design Team (GDT) involved in providing innovative solutions to drinking water treatment in rural areas of developing countries. The immediate goal of the GDT in May 2016 was to deliver large slow sand filters (SSFs) to a rural school in Colombia. The experience placed the students in a small town 80 km (~50 miles) south of Cartagena, Colombia, called San José de Playón. The town pumps water from the Arroyo Reservoir, which is then consumed by the citizens and students at the local school (the only one in town) without any treatment. Students and faculty at the University of Cartagena hosted the GDT to work with the school for a week. The project consisted of building the SSFs and teaching the school staff about disinfection methods. The simple yet smart design of the SSFs was ideal for teachers and children at the school, but collaborative work with NGOs and local community leaders will be necessary to provide clean water for years to come. From speaking rudimentary Spanish with the schoolchildren, to drying the sand and constructing the actual filters, every step of the project was enriching. The experience raised awareness and compassion for all humanity, sharing what can be shared for the benefit of the greater global community, and the notion that all people are one entity regardless of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Park, Sol; Gokhale, Sanyukta; and Colinco, Kaylyn
"Constructing Slow Sand Filters: Engineering Students’ Experiences in San José de Playón, Bolívar, Colombia,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 4
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol4/iss1/14