Students blog about class trip to Africa

11/6/2015 4:29:00 AM

Students take a group "selfie" at the equator.

In February 2015, 12 students in the CEE 449 class (Environmental Engineering Lab) traveled to East Africa to learn about the issues facing rural communities in developing countries. Led by professor and department head Benito Mariñas, with support from the Safe Global Water Institute, the focus was on clean water, proper sanitation practices, and clean and sustainable energy supply.

The students were divided into two groups and traveled separately to locations in Kenya and Uganda. Students were able to interact with local residents, analyze water samples from a variety of sources, and learn about the economic, educational and cultural roadblocks that may impede implementation of effective solutions. For the students who made the trip, it was a unique chance to see first-hand how things they learn in class can have an impact on a global scale.

Since funding was not available for the entire class to make the journey, students who were selected to participate were encouraged to keep an online blog in order to tell their classmates on campus about their day-to-day experiences. You can read about their trip at

The annual CEE 449 research trip to East Africa is possible thanks in part to the support of the Safe Global Water Institute (SGWI), under the leadership of professor and department head Benito Mariñas. Not enough funds are available for the entire class to make the trip overseas, so students must go through a selection process in order to win a spot. Your gift can help more students take part in this life-changing experience. Contact Vicki Dixon, SGWI’s Director of Development, at (217) 244-0857 or for more information.

More photos from the trip:

See more photos at