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Two Weeks Remain Until the Annual Haiti Service Learning Project Commences

The 2016 Haiti Service Learning Course (ENGR 5797.16S) has been meeting twice a week to plan the upcoming installation of a solar electric system in Fauge, Haiti during Spring Break in March. This year, the group is composed of 12 students whose academic backgrounds span 6 different Engineering disciplines and 1 Business student! The group is excited to return to Fauge and continue working with Torch of Hope Organization and Engineering students from the American University of the Caribbean (AUC).


Both Roger Dzwonczyk and Donald Hempson will be serving as Resident Directors this year.

From Left to Right: Nick Papa, Kan Liu, Aakash Paatel, Rachael Schneider, Culver McWhirter, Matthew Brockman, Jessica Smith, Jamie O’Sullivan, John Garriott, Stefan Scheele, Georgie Ravelli, Don Hempson, Roger Dzwonczyk, and Tyler Nelson.

This week in class, we have been practicing presentations that we have created to both educate and develop interest in solar education. These presentations cover electricity basics, solar cell physics, solar power system design, and a children’s activity. By educating our counterpart students at AUC and local school children, we believe the solar panels will be able to be maintained and repaired efficiently. We also believe that we will be inspiring and encouraging these students to pursue green energy sources in the future.


In addition to these presentations, final touches are also being made to the other tasks that need to be completed. The bill of materials is complete, allowing our group to know what items we need to purchase here in the United States and in Haiti. Purchasing the majority of our components in Haiti, such as solar panels, batteries, inverters, etc., allows us to make the project more sustainable. These purchases stimulate the local economy, and it allows any repairs that are necessary to be completed more easily because the parts are available in-country.


The final adjustments are also being made to the solar panel mounting system and fixtures for the lights. This year, we are making an engineering drawing of the mounting system with dimensions before we go. This will allow us to have a general concept of our design before we go, and it will also allow us to communicate our ideas more easily with each other and the students from AUC. We also are adding spray-painted light fixtures this year to improve indoor lighting. We tested several different interior spray-painted fixtures earlier in the year, and we discovered that light disbursement is greatest when the inside of the fixture is silver. Most of the light fixtures are complete, and the others will be finished within the week.


All of us are very excited to be traveling to Haiti this year. The growth each of us will experience individually from the cultural immersion is reward enough, but we will also have the opportunity to make the lives of the local community members better as well. We depart Columbus on March 11, and the results of our travels will be posted in the next few weeks.