As part of a partnership with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), ITT makes two grants annually to an EWB chapter that is working on an engineering project to help communities meet their basic human needs. For the spring grant cycle, ITT provided some of the funding for a project being sponsored by the Carroll College chapter that is designed to help a community in Guatemala protect itself in the case of earthquakes or other seismic events.
This community is located about 100 miles from Guatemala City and has close proximity to two major fault lines, the Chixoy-Polochic and Motagua faults. It is estimated there are over 1,500 earthquakes in the region annually. Carroll College engineering students are helping the community retrofit the walls of the local school and library so that they can withstand the impact of these quakes.
This work has made an important impact in the community because over 400 students heavily use the library and classrooms, and the building was not originally built to withstand the seismic activity. In addition, the size and central location of the school makes it the ideal site for refuge and support to local residents in case of emergencies, and the structural retrofit also provides a model of sustainable methods for local construction teams to follow in the future.