Local Projects


The Local team is currently working on two projects that were started in the 2017-18 school year.  Additionally, the Local team is continuing its educational outreach and environmental cleanup activities.

The first of the two projects is a rainwater catchment and distribution system located at the UCSB Greenhouse and Garden Project (GHGP), a community garden associated with the university.  The system being developed will collect rainwater into a 5000 gallon holding tank, which can then be used to significantly offset the site’s water consumption from the drought stricken region.  This project completed its research and design phases last year and is now actively constructing the system on site. The second project aims to start a new styrofoam recycling program at UCSB. Large quantities of styrofoam accompany the many shipments of supplies to our university’s laboratories and the Local team has found a recycling center nearby that can recycle the material into surfboards.  This project has progressed through researching the problem and possible solutions and it is now working to set up additional arrangements and contracts necessary to complete the program.

In addition to these two projects, the Local team is continuing its educational outreach and environmental cleanup activities.  For educational outreach, the Isla Vista St. George Youth Center has been a favorite location for EWB Local team involvement since the 2016-17 school year.  At the Youth Center, Education Department students and EWB Engineering students team up to provide hands on, STEM related learning activities for grade and middle school children who go there after school.  For environmental cleanups, the Local team hosts trash cleanups in surrounding neighborhoods and also partners with the Environmental Defense Center to cleanup the many creeks and waterways in Santa Barbara area.

Current Projects

  • Rainwater Collection System – Orfalea Family Children’s Center (2017)

Completed Projects

  • Wood burning stove prototypes in Eastern Tijuana, Mexico (2015)
  • Books for Africa (2015)
  • Water wheel restoration in Isla Vista, California (2014-15)

Rainwater Collection System –

Greenhouse and Garden Project

Beginning in Fall 2017, EWB students designed a rainwater collection and dispersal system, which is funded by the Green Initiative Fund. Stationed at UCSB’s greenhouse, the system is estimated to collect around 8,500 gallons of water per year which will be used for the plants. After months of the logistics, calculations, and design process, members are currently working on installation. After establishing the gravel and concrete foundation, the team is now working on connecting a rooftop gutter to the tank, installing the pump that will distribute the water, and setting up the overflow system that will disseminate the excess water. The catchment and distribution system is hoped to be completed in Spring 2019.

Wood Burning Stoves in Eastern Tijuana, Mexico

EWB-UCSB is collaborating on a community development project in Eastern Tijuana with the International Health Collective, a student run club out of UCSD. IHC provides free medical clinics in the underserved communities of Villa Fontana and Rojo Gomez using the expertise of volunteer Doctors and certified EMTs. IHC has been expanding its treatment of health in the community through engineering and social projects.

After 2 assessment visits it was determined through dialogue with community members and observation that the many residents could benefit from the design of a more efficient wood burning stove to replace open cook fires. Our UCSB EWB team has been pursuing this venture and delivered 2 prototype versions of the stove to volunteer residences on Feb 15th2015.

Books For Africa

We partner with the non-profit organization Books for Africa to collect books from the UCSB community to alleviate the book famine in Africa. Books for Africa, a Minnesota-based 501 (c) organization, is the largest shipper of books to the African continent. Over 18 million books have been sent to 37 countries since 1988.

Books for Africa collects books from donors all over the country and then ships them in cargo containers, bringing down the cost to about 38 cents a book. Once the books reach Africa, they are distributed to schools and libraries, reaching the people who need them most – children hungry to learn.

If you’d like to donate books, please contact us at ewb.ucsbgauchos@gmail.com.

Water Wheel Restoration in Isla Vista, California

In the beginning of October 2014, the Isla Vista community asked for a repair of a waterwheel at Anisq’oyo Park. A team of students identified that it had rotted and failed passed the point of repair. UCSB’s College of Engineering financially supported the construction of a brand new water wheel. Organizations including Engineers Without Borders – UCSB, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the UCSB Machine Shop Club then collaborated in the design and construction of a new waterwheel.