Partnering on solar project for underprivileged

October 12, 2017

Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE, the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, announces the completion of an EPICS in IEEE solar project proposed by young participants in Christie Lake Kids (CLK), an Ottawa-based charitable organization serving economically disadvantaged children and youth by providing recreation and skill-building programs.

CLK offers inner-city youths up to 50 hours of sports- and art-based programs—all offered at no cost—along with access to healthy food, program equipment, and the necessary supplies weekly throughout the school year. The EPICS in IEEE solar project installed hot showers at CLK's summer camp, helping improve the nature learning and outdoor experiences for young people often experiencing nature for the first time outside the city. 

Approved by EPICS in IEEE in April 2016 and completed in July 2017, the solar project resulted from a partnership between EPICS in IEEE and Christie Lake Kids, where young CLK participants were asked to form groups and develop project ideas in line with EPICS in IEEE charter.
Judging criteria was based upon defining a socially innovative, engineering-based project that empowered students, and that provided a valuable learning experience while demonstrating a direct benefit to the local community.  
The winning team's proposal outlined how solar energy could be utilized to provide hot showers at the CLK campsite, which is located in the middle of a lake, removed from the power grid. Students from the IEEE Carleton University Student Branch then developed the proposal for the solar powered showers grant application, including budget and design options.

The completed project involved the installation of solar panels and a battery storage system on the island that generates power to supply a water pump and heating system for delivering hot showers. CLK plans to create and display an informative plaque at the camp, giving young campers insight into the engineering and inner workings of the system. 

"Christie Lake Kids is a wonderful organization and we share a common goal to pool our resources in order to transform lives and bring sustainable benefits to local communities," said Janet Davis, past chair, IEEE Ottawa Section. "EPICS in IEEE is a great vehicle for identifying and acting on opportunities to improve the daily lives of people in need, while also providing learning experiences that foster personal growth and that can help incentivize the engineers of tomorrow."

Through funding and local partnerships, EPICS in IEEE enables university and high school students to design and implement engineering projects that improve the lives of citizens in their own communities and are a catalyst for motivating young people towards careers in engineering. With a global focus on underserved communities, EPICS in IEEE helps advance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning around the world, with a model that addresses the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to closing existing technology gaps, while inspiring a new generation of engineers through education, hands-on work, and practical experience.