The Virginia Military Institute is pleased to present an Environmental Engineering and Construction summer program in Potosi, Bolivia.

Dates: May 21 - June 18, 2016
Cost:  6 credits $3500, excluding airfare (Subject to BOV approval) 
             Fees include tuition, in-country accommodations, two meals/day, and in-country transportation. International airfare and incidentals are not included.

Program Director
  A 1997 and 1993 graduate of VMI, Lieutenant Colonel Moore and Major Ackerman obtained their PhDs in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. They believe that research and new technologies greatly enhance the overall learning experience, and that environmental engineers have a social responsibility.  Therefore, they have established new research and initiatives to advance instruction at VMI through VMI Keydets Without Borders (VMI-KWB), a research and study abroad program that provides design and construction of sustainable water and sanitation facilities in developing communities. This program has been instrumental in teaching the concepts of austere, rudimentary development and operation of water and wastewater treatment systems coupled with sustainable energy concepts (solar, biomass). To date, the group has designed solar and gravity powered pumping facilities for sustainable “portable farm” aquaculture projects in Uganda and Bolivia, solar thermal energy showers using recycled construction materials in Bolivia, anaerobic waste treatment and energy generation facilities and solar devices for the capture and conveyance of potable water sources within resource poor communities of Haiti, Bolivia and Uganda. This program has also focused on the pyrolitic development of manure-based biochars for the purposes of drinking water filtration. Specifically, the program is focusing on the development of llama and alpaca manure biochars for the filtration of mine waste contaminated water sources in the Andes region of Bolivia. These projects have proven to provide a very innovative and sustainable means of clean water, thus improving overall health conditions within communities and greatly enhancing experiential learning in the field. Preliminary research suggests that the program has reduced community infant mortality rates by more than 40%, saving the lives of more than 4,000 children worldwide.


Any current student in good standing with an accredited university is eligible to apply. VMI students need only submit an application. Applicants from other universities should include a faculty letter of recommendation, an official transcript, and a short essay outlining the applicant's personal and academic goals for the program, along with the application. Applications must be received no later than 18 December 2015  

CE 372X, Environmental Engineering and Construction in Developing Countries, is a three credit hour course which uses hands-on application of rudimentary field design and construction techniques for the implementation of basic environmental necessities in developing communities and the enhancement of overall quality of human life. Students conduct construction activities in various developing communities worldwide. The course explores the role of the environmental engineer, and specifically the average human being in worldwide public health and seeks to promote an awareness of communities lacking access to basic human rights such as clean drinking water and adequate sanitation. Students will maintain a daily journal or blog while in-country and will publish the blog or journal on ePortfolio upon return to the U.S. Students are also required to write a preliminary design report for implementation of in-country design, and a final reflective essay to be posted on ePortfolio for dissemination to the general VMI public. 

Room and Board
Students will be living within the community in which the project is being implemented. Students will camp in the local school building located in the community.

Cultural Experience
Students in this class will work together to design and implement sustainable engineering, medical, environmental, and economical projects to help impoverished communities become healthier and self-sufficient.  100% of this course is active, hands-on engaged learning from both a practical problem-solving perspective and interpersonal and cultural relations.  The goal of this class is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their diverse academic backgrounds to real-life situations for the benefit of those lacking basic human needs, such as clean drinking water and basic medical care, while gaining real-life experience communicating and working effectively in another culture, and gaining appreciation and respect for cultures.  By gaining an appreciation and respect for their own unique skillset and leadership skills along with the great need for this knowledge, cadets will become well-rounded citizen soldiers armed with the life experience and expertise to lead and facilitate positive change.