Engineers Without Borders UTSA has been a student led and operated organization at UTSA since 2006. Timothy Hayes, junior civil engineering major and vice president for the group, explained, “Engineers Without Borders’ mission is to design and execute infrastructure development.” Hayes continued, “Primarily, what we are going to do is open up access to water, structural infrastructure development and design seismic-resistant structures.”
The group is funded primarily through donations from non-governmental agencies and municipalities from the international community. The group recently received support from Texas Partners of America, which helped the Engineers Without Borders group go on a trip to Peru, providing transportation, translators and project materials for the group to travel to Villa Vieja, Peru.
“Experience and our job as engineering students keeps us going. Civil engineers improve peoples’ quality of life: we do sources, structures and developments, which helps improve their quality of life,” Hayes said; “It gives me a lot of purpose in my studies and provides me with a lot of encouragement.”
Francisco Balandrano, a senior mechanical engineering major, says he joined Engineers Without Borders because, “I was interested in the programs they were doing.” Balandrano added, “a project they worked on in 2008 also drew me to the group.” Balandrano explained that the group’s recent work in Peru, when finished, would benefit about 90 families or 400 people. “
Our group accepts students from all majors; it is a very interesting and exciting group to be in,” Balandrano said.
Steven Byers, a junior civil engineering major and Design Lead for the organization, says he joined the group because he liked the projects they were doing.
“We’ve learned a lot about practical uses of engineering, and these people need help; this is what we are actually going to do with our degree,” Byers said. Aside from petting llamas, one of Byers’ favorite activities he has participated in is, “going down there (to Peru) to the pump and seeing how much water we can get for the community.”