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UMaine’s Engineers Without Borders Wins $25,000 Newman’s Own Grant

The University of Maine student group Engineers Without Borders-UMaine (EWB-UMaine) was named Sunday the winner of the Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge, which comes with a top prize of $25,000. The award was announced at America East Conference Basketball Championship tournament in Hartford, Conn.

EWB-UMaine won the challenge for its project in Dulce Vivir, Honduras, where the group is working to implement a student-designed community sanitation system. The poor sanitation conditions in Dulce Vivir limit economic opportunities of its 120 residents and cause environmental and health concerns.

“This award gives our students the opportunity to make even more of an impact with their global outreach efforts,” said Robert Dana, UMaine vice president for student affairs, who attended Sunday’s announcement with members of EWB-UMaine. “The national recognition also is a tribute to our students’ selfless efforts, pursuing service for the greater good. In this case, the work of UMaine Engineers Without Borders is life-changing for the communities in which they work.”

EWB-UMaine, which was founded in 2007 and is made up of students and their professional mentors, has been working for four years with Dulce Vivir residents, consulting with the community on its priorities, collecting information needed for the system design and developing contacts needed to ensure the project’s success.

The Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge was developed to encourage the practice of philanthropy among younger generations, specifically on college campuses. The challenge is a competition among the nine member universities of the America East Conference with one student group, partnered with a local nonprofit, chosen from each university to participate in the challenge.

Each university’s entry receives a grant of at least $5,000. In 2010, the first year of the Newman’s Own competition, UMaine’s Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism’s Black Bear Mentor Program finished in third place and won a $10,000 prize.

Last year, the UMaine Welcome Weekend Day of Service and Maine Hello move-in initiatives received honorable mention and $7,500. Grant recommendations were based on the student groups’ involvement with their chosen nonprofit, and the impact of the partnership on those served by the nonprofit as well as on the students themselves.

For more information, see a news release on the America East website.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or jessica.bloch@umit.maine.edu

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