From the classroom to the real world
By Alexander Anderson
The university experience of any graduating engineer would be incomplete
without at least one big, bright, memorable project that would involve all
acquired skills and serve a higher goal. For the Anderson family team, the
service project led by WASRAG Int’l and the
Centralia Rotary came to be that
meaningful project, which would exemplify the impact of leadership and
professional commitment on a community thousands of miles away. Alex, Olga,
and Alexander Anderson, class of 2014, said that designing the rainwater
harvesting and distribution system for Jikawa province was a life-changing
experience for all three of them.
"It was the mentorship of Mr. Robert Wubbena, P.E. and Dr. Larry Hull*
(who will bring the design to life this summer) that made all the
difference," says Alexander Anderson, the team leader. "Because our mentors
had firsthand knowledge of the challenges, equipment, and geography, as well
as the personal commitment to the needs of a real community in Papua New
Guinea, we were able to focus on optimizing the design to make it
cost-effective and enduring."
For Alex and Olga, it is especially important that the project will
establish communal ties between the tribes that will benefit from clean
water. The design will promote an emerging micro-economy that will empower
women, giving them entrepreneurial experience and access to education.
"Women are very capable business operators," comments Olga who herself owns
a small R&D company – Odin Energy Works LLC. "This project has a great
future, and we plan to continue volunteering in design projects that will
make the world a better place."
*Dr. Hull is currently working with the Rotary International on a five
year plan to put water/sanitation systems in 32 schools and 3 communities.
This major water/sanitation program will ultimately serve 40,000 people and
is especially significant because Papua New Guinea has the highest infant,
child and maternal mortality rate in all the Pacific countries. His wife, Aarlie Hull, has initiated women’s literacy classes and hopes to expand to
personal empowerment, financial literacy, parenting skills, healthy living
and domestic violence counseling.