Nov 18, 2011

Montana State University Recognized for Student Efforts to Bring Clean Water to Kenya

School named award winner for community engagement in clean water efforts abroad

The Assn. of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) named Montana State University (MSU) recipient of the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award for the contributions its students have made in bringing clean water to residents of Khwisero, Kenya, through the work of the MSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). The Magrath Award, made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, annually recognizes a four-year public university that embraces outreach and community engagement. Winners receive a $20,000 monetary prize.

MSU was among four finalists for the award presented at the APLU Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The other finalists included Michigan State University, the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Since 2004, more than 80 MSU students from different academic disciplines have traveled to Khwisero as part of EWB, building seven deep-water wells and developing ten composting latrines in the region to help decrease the rate of waterborne illnesses. Students have designed a distribution pipeline to link one well to additional schools, a health clinic and a market. Surveys were taken of the attitudes and opinions of individuals and families about their water habits and needs.

To date, the MSU chapter of EWB has raised nearly $500,000 for the program, including more than $200,000 in grants, awards or donations in 2011 alone.

“I am extremely proud of our students who have shown tremendous dedication to their work in Kenya,” said MSU president Waded Cruzado. “Their efforts are an inspiring example of how outreach and service can impact the lives of others in a truly meaningful way.”