Prospective Students – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About joining Engineers Without Borders

How do I join Engineers Without Borders?

The fastest way to join Engineers Without Borders is to show up to one of our project meetings. All these meetings are informal gatherings during which members give updates on what they’re working on, discuss ideas, and assign work for the next week. Before, during, or after the meeting is the ideal time to get in contact with the project lead or a sub-group lead, who will be able to fill you in on what’s currently happening in the project and answer any questions you might have. Otherwise, there are general meetings at the beginning of each semester that will provide a general overview of all of the projects.

I can’t make the introductory meeting. May I still join?

Of course! All of our projects are ongoing, so there is no official “start” and “end” to them. You can join any time by just showing up to a meeting. If you would like, you could email the project leader to let him/her know beforehand that you will be attending.

Are there opportunities specifically for freshman?

There is a Freshman Leadership Board, specifically for freshmen. This is meant to give students an opportunity to get more involved in EWB right from the moment they join. This group will work closely with EWB administration to ensure that new students have a voice. The board is responsible for implementing and attending skills workshops that will teach them skills such as AutoCAD, planning outreach events, and taking on other various tasks of their choosing. It is also a great place to get to know like-minded freshmen and have fun.

I’m not an engineering major. May I still join?

Yes! In fact, we are actively seeking students from different fields. We need fresh perspectives and new ideas. There are many problems that we face that are uniquely suited for majors outside of engineering. So whether you are a finance major or a communications major, an education major or an agricultural sciences major, your expertise, your ideas, and your passion are always needed.

Who should I contact if I want to get involved with a specific project?

On our How to Join page, there is a brief description of each of our active projects and the contact person for each of them.

What can I expect project meetings to be like?

All of our meetings are pretty informal. Most of the work is done outside of the meetings, so these are a chance to update the rest of the group on what everyone has been doing, what needs to be done, and to discuss design ideas. They are typically about one hour in length.

Who is in charge of the projects?

YOU! Engineers Without Borders is one of the few opportunities that students have to design an engineering project from scratch and see it implemented. Decisions about designs, traveling, implementation, and even which projects to take on are all made by the students in this group.

How often do groups travel?

Because most of the engineers in our chapter are students, we schedule our trips around the University of Minnesota class schedule. We travel during summer, winter, and spring break. Whether a project sends people abroad during any given year depends on where the group is at in the design process. Feel free to contact the project lead with any specific questions.

How are travel groups chosen?

Travel groups are chosen based on a number of different factors, including the amount of work an individual has put into the project and any prior knowledge and skills the individual has. It has been our experience that, because our projects travel so often, most individuals who have wanted to travel and have been active members in their project groups have been able to travel.

Who pays for the travel costs?

Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, EWB covers the full cost of project-related materials and most of individual travel costs. Students who plan to travel are required to give a small tax-deductible donation to subsidize their travel costs.