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Engineering Students Doing Community Service

For Immediate Release

27 May 2005

Engineering Students Doing Community Service

26 engineering students from The University of Auckland are doing community service in the most positive sense of the term.

Auckland is the first university outside North America to join the Engineering Projects In Community Service Programme (EPICS).

The EPICS programme, founded at Indiana’s Purdue University in 1995, is designed to enable teams of engineering undergraduates and academic mentors to work with community organisations that request technical help.

The projects undertaken by the students are long term, leading to improvements that have a significant, lasting impact on the community organisations and the people they serve.

“EPICS is a fantastic initiative for the students,” says Dr Heather Silyn-Roberts, head of the EPICS Programme at the Faculty.

“They learn project management, organisational and leadership skills, the role of the customer in engineering and the role that engineering can play in a community.”

“Community organisations also benefit, gaining access to technology and expertise and developing the potential to improve their quality of service or to provide new services.”

About half of the students are doing the EPICS programme for credit in their final year; the others, in their earlier years of study, are voluntarily involved. The students have been spilt into three teams to work with the Auckland Stardome, Waiheke Waste Resource Trust and the Auckland Zoo.

Dr Silyn-Roberts says enthusiasm levels are high and good progress has already been made.

“The projects are really beneficial and will have positive impacts on the wider community. The students working for the Waiheke Waste Resource Trust for example are attempting to reduce the amount of waste being shipped to the Auckland landfill by converting waste cooking oil into biodiesel and glass bottles into sand.”


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