May 15, 2016

More than 1,300 donors supported SMU during the Mustangs Give Back challenge March 24, providing funding for campuswide projects and other important areas that have a big impact on today’s students.

The one-day giving opportunity raised $186,119 for a wide range of student-focused programs and initiatives, including engineering research, new courses in emerging fields, tutoring and scholarships.

Thanks to Mustang generosity, the SMU engineering students are closer to helping the residents of a Bolivian village gain safe drinking water.

Thanks to Mustang generosity, SMU engineering students are closer to bringing a reliable source of clean water to a Bolivian village.

A special Mustangs Give Back website provided profiles of 30 featured projects and their funding goals. By the end of the challenge, each highlighted project had received contributions, and 21 projects had exceeded their goals.

“When Mustangs come together to support students and faculty, there is no limit to their potential to change the world,” says Marianne B. Piepenburg ’81, SMU’s assistant vice president for alumni and constituent giving and executive director of alumni relations.

Thanks to the generosity of the University community, the SMU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has cleared another hurdle toward its goal to help the village of Llohila Grande, Bolivia, obtain a reliable source of clean water.

The EWB’s “Water the World: SMU to Bolivia” raised $6,658, more than three times its original funding request. Morgan Monzingo ’16 and Andrew Timmins ’16, senior engineering majors in the Lyle School of Engineering, led the “Water the World” effort. Andrew Quicksall, J. Lindsay Embrey Trustee Assistant Professor in the Lyle School, serves as faculty advisor.

“This donation puts us one step closer to providing the community of 250 residents with water that they can drink with confidence and won’t make them sick,” says project participant Rachael Rodgers ’18, a sophomore civil engineering major from Granbury, Texas.

In August 2015, Rodgers traveled to Bolivia for an initial assessment during which SMU students met with townspeople and ran field tests to collect water quality data.

Mustangs Give Back donations will not only help improve the quality of life for the people we met in Bolivia, but they also provide students like me with the opportunity to use our education to improve our local and global communities. I have always been interested in water resources, and I also have a love for the Spanish language and culture. Being able to combine these two passions into one project is an exciting privilege.” – Rachael Rodgers ’18

Residents of the South American village currently rely on shallow wells containing high levels of salt, manganese and arsenic. SMU students have designed three solutions, ranging in cost and complexity, to solve the problem effectively.

Rodgers, along with Richie Burns ’18, Michael Keya ’17, Mauricio Sifontes ’19 and Erin Walsh ’18, has planned a return trip to Bolivia in August to install a deep well as part of the project implementation.

“Mustangs Give Back donations will not only help improve the quality of life for the people we met in Bolivia, but they also provide students like me with the opportunity to use our education to improve our local and global communities,” Rodgers says. “I have always been interested in water resources, and I also have a love for the Spanish language and culture. Being able to combine these two passions into one project is an exciting privilege.”