Rams Without Borders to travel to El Salvador to install solar panels

Ceci Taylor

Over the past 10 years, Rams Without Borders has traveled to La Criba, El Salvador to install a water distribution system for the community. Now, with the project complete, the club is looking towards the next step.

“(The water distribution system) has gotten people reliable, clean water,” Zakri Siegel, one of the two project leaders, said. “The next aspect of that is making sure it’s sustainable.”

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The club will be traveling back to El Salvador over spring break to install solar panels for the village.

Rams Without Borders volunteers install a water distribution system for a community in La Criba, El Salvador. Over spring break, the club will be traveling back to El Savador to install solar panels. (Photo courtesy Trinity Peters | Rams Without Borders)

According to Allie Huber, president of Rams Without Borders, and Peter Field, a former project leader, Rams Without Borders has already made a big impact on the village. Field said they’ve provided water for at least 217 houses, and Huber said that clean water is already more accessible to the villagers. However, the club hopes to continue to help.

“I hope that we’ve made a big impact; I know we’ve definitely spread the availability of clean water, but unfortunately, the water prices have risen,” Huber said.

Siegel said the solar panels should help them pay for the higher cost of water.

“It should offset the cost of the system, but it’s also for sustainability,” Siegel said.

At least nine Colorado State University students and faculty will be volunteering to work over break. Field has been on the trip twice and said he’s enthusiastic about the new solar panel project.

“It’s a really cool experience,” Field said. “The community there, we’ve been working there for so long, they’re very welcoming. They treat us as family.”

Rams Without Borders volunteers install a water distribution system for a community in La Criba, El Salvador. Over spring break, the club will be traveling back to El Savador to install solar panels. (Photo courtesy Trinity Peters | Rams Without Borders)

Field said that most of the people in La Criba farm for a living, and not many have jobs besides selling some excess corn or beans. He also said that despite the rural conditions, the people there are always welcoming and eager to help out.

“If we’re digging a trench, they’ll come and take the shovels and dig it themselves; they just want to help out,” Field said.

Besides La Criba, Rams Without Borders will also be traveling to El Pital, El Salvador to install a similar water distribution system and to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

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Isaiah Chavez, a volunteer with Rams Without Borders, said they plan to install solar panels and a greenhouse at the reservation.

“Most people don’t realize there are third-world conditions in America,” Chavez said. “It’s important to help them out.”

According to Huber, Rams Without Borders recently changed their name. The club used to be called Engineers Without Borders, but they changed the name in order to incorporate other majors in the program.

“We’re always looking for people who can speak fluent Spanish, and there are other aspects to our project that require besides just engineering,” Huber said. “Things like fundraising, planning and communication.”

Huber said that traveling and volunteering have been beneficial to volunteers as well as the people they help on their trips.

“Hopefully they have taken away the importance of teamwork; that’s a huge thing for me joining this club,” Huber said. “Working with other students but also connecting with people across the world.”

Siegel said that Rams Without Borders is always looking for new members and people willing to help. The CSU chapter meets every Thursday. More information can be found on their website.

Ceci Taylor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Cecelia_twt.