Humanitarian Engineering Corps (HEC)
Club Purpose & Goals
The Humanitarian Engineering Corps (HEC) is a student-run design organization that connects UI students of all majors and technical backgrounds through local and international service opportunities. Students in HEC develop valuable skills such as cultural competence, interdisciplinary teamwork, sustainable design, communication and project management. As we utilize our engineering abilities for the good of humanity, HEC strives to make meaningful and long-term changes in the communities we partner with.
HEC’s current international focus is helping rural communities in South America meet their basic water needs. Locally, we partner with other service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the University of Idaho Sustainability Center, and the Latah Trail Foundation to give back to our community here on the Palouse.
There are lots of ways for students to be involved, including:
- Attending general meetings (weekly)
- Participating in project design (weekly working meetings) - At the project meetings, students evaluate solution alternatives, analyze data (collected by HEC students) and assess our Bolivian partner communities needs to create a sustainable design to be implemented in the summer.
- Fundraising (a couple of events each year)
- Volunteering for local service projects (monthly)
Local businesses and service organizations can also get involved by supporting HEC’s fundraisers throughout the year, or by partnering with HEC on a local service project. To learn more, contact club advisor Dr. Fritz Fiedler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5:30 p.m. Wednesdays – JEB ThinkTank
(alternating each week between general meetings and project meetings)
April - Annual UI-HEC Fundraising Bash
There are a variety of entertaining fundraising events throughout the year involving the Moscow community. The club successfully raises $15,000-$20,000 each year to provide the necessary funds to pay for materials, travel, food and other logistical expenses associated with international construction projects.
Who can Join?
Our group is mostly composed of civil engineering undergrads, but U of I students from all disciplines are welcome to join.
How to Join?
Project Updates & Accomplishments
Our current project is a drinking water project in Challcha, Bolivia. Challcha is small community in rural Bolivia that currently lacks an adequate supply of safe, accessible drinking water. Community members currently carry their drinking water 30 minutes from a river that is also used by livestock and wildlife. We have a minimum 5-year commitment with the community, during which HEC’s goals in Challcha include:
- Establishing mutual objectives and clear communication between HEC and the people of Challcha
- Securing a safe and reliable source of drinking water
- Developing a water distribution system
- Educating the community on maintenance and care of the water system to ensure long term success
HEC partners with the Bolivian NGO (non-governmental organization) Engineers-In-Action to help us maintain contact with the remote communities that we work in and help us with the logistics of working overseas.
In 2020, HEC completed a major drinking water project in Carani, Bolivia. Over the 5 year span of the project HEC:
- Worked directly with Carani community members to lay pipeline and build a distribution network
- Installed pressure break tanks and storage tanks
- Trained community member in system maintenance
- Established a water committee to oversee long-term maintenance and expansion