Social Work and Engineering Students Raise Funds for Their Project in Ghana

AUSTIN, Texas – University of Texas at Austin students from the School of Social Work and the Cockrell School of Engineering are selling “Unquenchable Change” T-shirts for $15 each to help defray the costs of their upcoming travel and community development project in Patriensa, Ghana, in June.

The students first worked together in Patriensa in 2010, as part of a joint collaboration between the international social work course, Ghana: Social and Community Development, taught by Associate Professor of Social Work and African & Africa Diaspora Studies Dorie J. Gilbert and the engineering course, Projects for Underserved Communities (PUC), designed to help students develop their skills while providing much-needed services to communities throughout the world. PUC is a three-semester sequence course that is open to social work students.

Students who collaborated in Patriensa have continued to meet on campus this year and formed the organization, Students in Partnership with Ghanaian Development, to help them stay in contact and raise funds for their projects.

Building on last year’s successful well installation at an elementary school in Patriensa, one team of PUC students has been working with community partners to establish a sachet packaging and recycling operation this summer, which will provide a local, sustainable source for the packaged water.

Tim Bailey, a graduate student in social work, is the business and community relations manager for the sachet project in Patriensa. Drawn to PUC’s cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural focus, Bailey enrolled in the course last fall.

“Social work is about empowerment, supporting people to develop their own solutions to the challenges they face. This inspires and supports authentic and sustainable change,” Bailey said. “Working together, social work and engineering students are ensuring our project solutions are relevant to the community’s culture.”

T-shirts are on sale through the end of May. For  more information, contact PUC students Tim Bailey, School of Social Work or Mary Clayton, Cockrell School of Engineering,