20 February 2012

Why AguaClara?

Past and current Cornell students discuss their motives for joining the team

A recent survey of past and current AguaClara team members shows that AguaClara attracts students for a variety of reasons, ranging from passion for water quality to applying classroom skills in real-world experiences.

In the words of Tori Klug ’14, current Design Team Leader, “AguaClara has given me an opportunity to learn beyond my classes and the normal undergraduate education. It’s an amazing way to make great friends who share similar interests and an awesome way to get involved. I am very passionate about water so it seemed like an excellent combination of what I care about.”

While Klug joined to satisfy her passion for water and become further involved on campus, others join to find fulfillment in their work. William Maher described his participation on AguaClara as “being a part of something meaningful in the Engineering College. I wasn't in love with the engineering school because I don't like the idea of completing assignments that will all end up in the garbage once final grades are submitted, so I thought AguaClara was a productive use of time that wasn't like any other class. The work done by AguaClara has lasting effects.”

A clear example of how AguaClara not only affects the beneficiaries of the water treatment technology but also leaves lasting impressions on the team members comes from Ted Segal, an AguaClara alum. After his Cornell graduation, Segal worked in the field of high-end technical design and engineering. He commented that while “the work was technically challenging, the social aspects of the projects were not satisfying. The work I did with Aguaclara made me think carefully about the social aspects of the work that I do. I went back for my PhD so that I can pursue work that I really care about.”

While researching with AguaClara provides a learning experience beyond the traditional lecture course, being a memberopens students’ eyes to the human side of the global water crisis. According to graduate John Erickson, AguaClara taught him “the people of Honduras are very smart, talented and dedicated yet do not have the resources available for clean water. When provided the opportunity they are highly engaged to fix the community. Working with AguaClara helped me better understand the developmental problems these communities face.” As AguaClara continues to grow, members continue pushing the limits of design and innovation. Members always strive to “Do Good Work and Do It Often.”

by Monica Kuroki

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