Las Cruces Bulletin
Friday, April 27, 2018
WRITER: Mike Cook
In May, 35 New Mexico State University students will join 20 students Engineers for a Sustainable World from UTEP to build a suspension pedestrian bridge destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017 in the city of Utuado, Puerto Rico. The students will also install a solar panel grid to provide power to homes that have not had it since the hurricane.
The NMSU students are part of the nonprofit Aggies Without Limits (AWL), which was founded in 2007 and has completed major sustainable engineering projects in Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Anthony, and in Nicaragua, Bolivia and Mexico.
Internationally, its projects have included:
- Construction of a bridge in 2017 in El Potrero, Nicaragua, near the city of La Trinidad, where approximately 100 families make their living farming corn and beans on steep hillsides, according to the AWL website.
- Reconstruction of a community center in 2014 in Querétaro Mexico, which also serves as a primary school and health care facility, serving approximately 100 people.
- Construction of a pedestrian suspended bridge in Herrera Cancha, Bolivia, in 2012. AWL partnered with the nonprofit Bridges to Prosperity on the project. Before the bridge was built, residents “were unable to cross the river five months out of the year due to heavy rainfall,” according to the website. The bridge will give more than 100 families in the area “easy access to education, access to healthcare facilities and a way for farmers to take their crops to the market in a nearby town.“
- AWL students also have worked with Foxhole Homes, an Alamogordo nonprofit, to help establish a community for homeless veterans.
- It has worked with the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope and Camp Hope tent city in Las Cruces
- It has partnered with the Colonias Development Council on a rainwater-harvesting project at the community center in Anthony.
AWL completes one local and one international project each year.
“It’s not an everyday thing where you get to help others, learn about a different community and become part of that community,” said AWL President Adriana Erives Gonzalez. “To do one project, it takes a whole year of planning. Planning includes deciding on a project that will make an impact, budgeting, fundraising, designing, coordinating with the community and scheduling and constructing a project. This is done by the students with the help of professional engineers (our student organization’s advisers).
One of AWL’s major fundraising efforts is a team of up to 30 AWL students, called the Chain Gang, that is available to do yardwork, tree trimming, moving and other work, said Kenny Stevens of AWL at the March 13meeting of the NMSU Pioneers.
AWL meets 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday in NMSU’s Engineering Complex III, room 230.
The AWL office is located on the main NMSU campus, Foreman Engineering Complex, room 283.
Learn more or donate at aggieswithoutlimits.org. For information, call 575-646-5499 or email Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Cook may be reached at email@example.com.