Engineers Without Borders-Tshwane University of Technology (EWB-TUT) is a startup student chapter which was established early 2016 at the TUT Soshanguve South Campus, by a group of seven students from the faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). An increased need for more focus on community and student empowerment is the main reason behind the formulation of this chapter.
It’s been a great first year for EWB-TUT, where a number of projects and a strategic year plan were completed and found to be beneficial to the students and the community. Essentially, the main success was the ability of the team to lay a good foundation.
As a team, EWB-TUT collaborated with student assistants from the faculty of ICT to conduct extra lessons and assist other students with their academic work for the first four weeks of the semester. This was instrumental in accelerating their adaptability into the learning environment and acted as a stimulus amongst students. This led to a creation of a new culture, which will now be passed on to new generations of 1st year students annually. All ICT 1st year students will be assisted by EWB-TUT for their first four weeks of the semester.
The EWB-TUT team realized the need to contribute positively to the community by addressing the issues around waste management. They took an initiative to tackling the issue, by approaching two local primary schools to teach learners about the importance of proper waste management and hygiene. 1500 learners at the schools participated by picking up waste around the community and practiced safe hygiene by washing their hands using sanitizers.
During the course of the year EWB-TUT managed to form some meaningful partnerships and build lasting relationships with other organisation’s. Through our partnership with Intel, students were given access to Intel Developer Tools, hence exposing them to the latest technology, whilst improving their skills at the same time. Lessons were conducted on weekends and various technological solutions were built as a way to test the skills that were acquired.
The chapter also participated in innovative extracurricular activities such as hackathons. The aim was to bring students together to build solutions that solve problems faced by communities. This was to also expose students to industry leaders and learn more from practicing engineers.
We now know that it seems impossible until it is done.