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Dartmouth Engineers Partner to Develop Water Pump

Oct 26, 2012   |   St. Boniface Haiti Foundation

A water pump in Haiti (Photo courtesy of St. Boniface Haiti Foundation)

A team of Dartmouth engineering students will be putting their time, resources and expertise toward helping St. Boniface.

Four students with technical and humanitarian interests have been elected to find the most cost-effective water pump solution for Fond des Blancs. All team members are pursuing their Bachelor of Engineering degrees—a professional engineering degree that requires several courses beyond the major. They will finish their degrees within the academic year, and the water pump project is part of their two-term capstone engineering course at the Thayer School of Engineering.

Preliminary steps for the project involve assessing the current state of the pump, researching ways to increase the durability of the pump system so that the motor and pump can withstand the load given current use, and identifying potential inefficiencies within the system to be improved. Additionally, the team will assess the viability for the incorporation of alternative energy and evaluate how to most cost-effectively modify related components in the system to best meet water usage needs of the community.

Team members include Robbie Cholnoky, Kevin Dahms, Annie Saunders and Robbie Moss, all of whom will travel to Fond des Blancs at the end of November to examine the system, potentially provide initial repairs to the pump and meet the St. Boniface team.

When asked why they wanted to become involved in the project, all members cited the intersection of passions for international development, different aspects of engineering design work and working closely with a community that will directly benefit from the improvements.

“This project stood out to me in a way that no other projects did,” said Robbie Cholnoky. “I loved knowing that I would work on something that could dramatically improve people’s lives.”

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