After visiting a mountaintop coffee cooperative in Nicaragua, a group of engineering students and professors – members of the Bucknell Brigade – was inspired to do something to help.
The residents of El Porvenir had no running water to cook, clean or bathe. So the engineers designed and built a pipeline to channel water from a well to the village center, 1,000 feet above.
With the Brigade's host agency in Nicaragua, Jubilee House Community, and later with Project Gettysburg-Leon, a nongovernmental organization associated with Gettysburg College, five students in the Class of '07 adopted the waterline initiative as their senior design project. Professors Charles Kim and Mike Toole were their mentors. George Waltman, director of Bucknell's product development lab, also helped work out issues with the electrical supply.
The students, Adam Donato, Rob Gradoville, Laura Roberts and Julie Jakobowski, designed the pump for the waterline while Meghan Feller worked on plans to extend a pipeline up the mountain. In January 2007, Gradoville, Jakobowski and Feller traveled with the Brigade to survey the situation first-hand.
Shortly after they returned to Bucknell, the students secured a $10,000 grant from the Davis Foundation 100 Projects for Peace program, which helped fund the project, along with donations from the Bucknell community and Project Gettysburg-Leon.
In May, three years later, the pipeline project was completed and water flowed.
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