Universities of Minnesota and Iowa partner with EOS
EOS International was founded by a handful of bright and compassionate college engineering students who wanted to use their skills to give back to the world. While in school, EOS’ founders were provided with unique opportunities to work in rural communities around the globe to introduce appropriate technology to make real change. With these opportunities deeply engrained in the organization’s history, EOS has been dedicated to providing similar opportunities to the next generation. For four years, EOS has collaborated with Iowa State University’s College of Engineering to bring students to Central America for a month-long exchange program.
This next year, EOS will have a bustling office in Nicaragua, with plans to host six new student groups from three different universities including students from the University of Minnesota’s Acara program and College of Science and Engineering as well as students from the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering.
Craig Just, Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa said, “I have wanted to partner with EOS International for several years now. I’m thrilled that our students, and the communities that EOS serves, will mutually benefit for years to come.”
During the summer and winter semester breaks, students will spend one to four weeks working to design and build innovative technologies and create new business ventures. However, the program is intended to do more than merely focus on technical solutions to the challenges of rural Nicaraguans, students will design side-by-side with the people they will be impacting, and have an eye-opening experience themselves.
EOS and it’s partner universities know that identifying and overcoming cultural barriers is key to creating sustainable solutions to serious problems faced in developing nations. That is why the program places students with host families and allows for a unique exchange of culture and language. Host families will teach students how to cook traditional foods, wash laundry by hand, play street soccer, dance bachata, and take a siesta in a hammock.
Megan Voorhees, Associate Director of Acara (a university program which shapes leaders and ventures for global impact) explained, “Acara has been considering expanding our work to additional regions in the world and when we learned more about EOS, we knew that it made sense to have students focus on Nicaragua. Wes Meier has been a great mentor to students working on developing solutions to energy issues in Central America and we are excited to teach a new study abroad course in partnership with EOS.”
Students will begin traveling to Nicaragua starting in January 2017 and continue throughout the year.