PSU EWB Student Leaders Attend National Conference in Pittsburgh, PA
Author: Civil Engineering
Posted: February 19, 2020

CEE sent four students from Portland State’s Engineers Without Borders Chapter went to Pittsburgh to attend EWB-USA’s National Conference from November 7th-9th. The conference hosted students and professionals from across the country and provided breakout sessions, poster presentations, and networking opportunities for students.


The breakout sessions were led by various presenters including members from EWB-USA, professional chapters, and student chapters. Many sessions focused on the financial burdens of projects and how to best mitigate them. A breakout session by EWB-USA went through the new financial procedure which will allow for EWB-USA to better financially support chapters in their efforts to better communities. By the second fiscal quarter of 2020, EWB-USA will provide chapters with 30% of their project costs. Their goal is to provide cost-sharing of approximately 70%; this transition will take 3 to 5 years.


The University of California, Berkley hosted a breakout session about the difficulties they faced in terms of chapter engagement. Berkley implemented a session called EWBootcamp which acts as an orientation to introduce members to the overall structure of EWB-USA. EWBootcamp focuses on hands-on engagement with all members of the group, from officers to new recruits.  Our chapter has already taken steps to apply what was learned in this breakout session by hosting longer club meetings and teaching underlying processes to all members. Other changes and processes that Berkley implemented include having smaller committees so more members have roles, using surveys to gauge interest and take metrics, and giving back to members through events and workshops. Berkley was extremely successful using these tactics, having seen an increase in members of 30% and an increase in meeting attendance by 60%. Students were able to meet with many members that have faced similar burdens in their chapters. A poster presentation, “How to Revive a Student Chapter”, from the University of Southern Florida gave insight and advice on how to best recruit and retain members.


CEE supports our student groups with opportunities to attend local, regional, and national conferences as well as regular operations of the chapters.