Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sooners Without Borders travels to Dominican Republic

Did you know that the favorite pastime of choice in the Dominican Republic is playing dominoes? Who knew? But this is just one of the many discoveries made by 10 students and 3 adults who worked in the Dominican Republic over the winter break, Jan. 3-12. Students from the service organization, Sooners Without Borders, worked with Guanin Community, a local non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping Haitian (and native) immigrant families live better lives in the D.R.

Students cutting water slots in casing for new water well.
Guanin works in the village of La Piedra, as well as surrounding villages, about an hour east of the capital city of Santo Domingo. Their biggest ministry is a Community Center in La Piedra which houses and manages a day care center, clinic, and playground. The current enrollment is 157 students, all at or below the age of 5, including infants. Several college groups are regular collaborators with Guanin, including Juniata College (Pennsylvania) and the University of Connecticut.

Water flows from the new well at about 16 1/2 gallons per minute.
The students were divided into three groups. One group would help build concrete block walls around the site for a new dormitory. Another group would help convert old tires and caliche dirt into playground structures. A third group would put in a water well at a nearby village. The water well went quickly, as the borehole had already been drilled. The finished well and pump produced over 16 gallons per minute. But the other two projects were hard and slow. The nights were pleasant, but the days were hot and sometimes long.
Students help build a concrete block wall on the perimeter of the Center's grounds.
On their last day at La Piedra, they played with the many smiling, screaming children. They sang songs with them, played games, and just gave them a little bit of love. The Sooners were proud of the work they did, and of the love they received from their host families, villagers, and friends of Guanin. Hopefully this is the first trip of many to the beautiful island.
The SWB group poses in front of newly-placed tires, a memory of our time with Guanin Community.

New to the WaTER Conference - Student Poster Competition

As a way of celebrating the special nature of the upcoming Conference - our Ten-Year Anniversary Conference - the OU WaTER Center is proud to host its first Student Poster Competition, open to all undergraduate students working in the field of water, sanitation and health (WaSH) for developing regions.

Conference participants visit during the poster session in the 2013 Conference.
A panel of judges, composed of past International Water Prize winners, will judge the posters on i) clarity of presentation, ii) creativity, and iii) relevance of research. The winning posters will receive cash prizes and will be recognized at the final Awards ceremony.

Native American dancers put on a lovely display of their heritage during the 2011 Conference.
Please spread the word, and plan on submitting your poster to this special competition! Go here to submit your poster abstract.

Call for Abstracts for the 2017 OU International WaTER Conference

The WaTER Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center will host the fifth biennial OU International WaTER Conference and the University of Oklahoma International Water Prize Award Ceremony on Sept. 18-20, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma, USA. 
Abstracts, for oral and poster presentations on topics related to water and sanitation issues in emerging regions, are due on March 17, 2017 for all submissions, both international and U.S. domestic.
The 2017 WaTER Conference will offer a new Student Poster Competition

The Conference Selection Committee will review the abstracts and selected authors will be informed of acceptance by April 24, 2017. 

Suggested topical areas include the following:

·         Assessment of WaSH and Health Interventions
·         Behavior and Behavioral Change in WaSH
·         Capacity Building in WaSH
·         Conservation and Reuse Technologies
·         Climate Change Effects on Water Resources
·         Ecological Engineering and Natural Treatment Systems
·         Educational Initiatives in WaSH
·         Experience of NGOs and Charitable Organizations in WaSH
·         Food, Energy, and Water Interface in Developing Regions
·         Fluoride / Arsenic Mitigation Systems
·         Gender and Social Equity – Issues and Challenges
·         Groundwater Resources and Well-Drilling Challenges
·         Lessons Learned in Urban WaSH
·         POU Drinking Water Treatment
·         Social Entrepreneurship and Market-Based Approaches
·         Socioeconomic Context: Affordability and Social Equity
·         Student-Led Projects in the Developing World
·         Remote Sensing and Capacity Building for Emerging Regions
·         WaSH Technological Innovation and Design
·         Water-Related Hazard Research and Disaster Mitigations
·         Water Resiliency and Water Reuse / Challenges in Rural U.S. Settings (Networked and Non-Networked)

A limited number of international (developing country) travel scholarships are available!

More conference and abstract submission details can be found at