Ewb Faq

Q. If I join EWB, what will my responsibilities be? Do I need to pay dues?
A. EWB MSU requires no dues and no minimum time commitment from its members. You can work on the projects that most appeal to you, and invest as much or as little time as you like.

Q. As an EWB member, how can I help out? How do I get involved?
A. We recommend that you do the following:
1) Join a committee. Much of the real work that goes on in EWB happens in the committees, where small-group style discussion and planning can take place. EWB has many committees, and you can join any that interest you (it's okay to belong to more than one). Attending a committee does not “lock you in” to that committee; feel free to “roam” for a while until you find out what projects you would like to be a part of.

2) Attend weekly meetings, or read the minutes (they will be emailed to you) and volunteer to help with events and projects that interest you. At almost every meeting, there will be a club member who announces that they need volunteers for something.

3) Find a board member or another senior member of the club, and talk with them about your interests and what you might like to do. They can help get you plugged into a suitable project or committee.

Q. I’m not an engineer – what can I do in EWB?
A. Don’t worry – we need you! EWB incorporates not just engineers, but writers, artists, event organizers, filmmakers, survey analysts, web designers, administrators, and public health workers. Whatever your major and skill set, we can find a place for you.

Q. Can I travel to Kenya? What are the qualifications? What about money?
A. All EWB members are considered essentially qualified to travel to Kenya. There are no requirements of prior experience, years spent in school, or seniority in the club. Each year in the spring, those who want to travel to Kenya submit applications which are reviewed by the travel team leaders. Their selections are primarily based on the interests and skills of the applicants, and the times they are available to travel. Members who are interested in traveling should also demonstrate a willingness to learn more about the projects they choose to work on and the area of Kenya in which we work.

Traveling to Kenya can cost two to three thousand dollars once transportation, immunizations, insurance, and other costs have been included. Typically, EWB pays half the cost of plane tickets for members who travel; however, this is not guaranteed and is based on the funds we have available from year to year. If you would like to travel and find yourself needing to raise money, experienced members of EWB are willing to assist you with your personal fundraising efforts. To get started, find someone who has traveled before and ask for advice, or consult the personal fundraising packet which came with your travel application.

Q. I don't want to go to Kenya; is that okay?
A. YES! We have a number of local projects as well (for example, we’ve done several construction projects on nearby Native American reservations). There are also tons of ways to help with club administration, fundraisers, PR, etc.

Q. Are donations to EWB tax-deductable?
A. Yes; we are considered a non-profit organization. We can provide you with a donation receipt upon request.

Q. How is EWB organized?
A. EWB has a nine-member board which handles administrative details and works on developing the club’s vision. Members of the board are chosen semi-annually by club members in a general election. However, fundamentally, EWB is run by you – the members. The board regularly consults the club at large on important decisions.

EWB is broken up into a variety of task forces or committees, each with its own projects. Some of these committees exist year-round, and others are temporary, forming to work on a specific task or event and dissolving when that goal has been achieved. All EWB members are encouraged to join at least one committee, and it is possible to belong to more than one.

Q. What is EWB MSU's relationship to EWB National?
A. Our club is considered a chapter of the national organization. Our chapter pays annual dues to National, and sends all of our project plans/designs to them for approval. In return, we receive non-profit status, insurance coverage, and a chance to compete for grants from National.

Q. Does EWB have any religious or political affiliations?
A. No, although we do often partner with local churches and political leaders while we are in Kenya.

Q. Where can I find more information about EWB, Kenya, our projects, upcoming events, the hardware we use, etc.?
A. Our website is a good resource. You can find it at http://www.ewb-msu.org/. We also have a blog, which contains posts made by our travel team members while in Kenya. You can find it at http://ewbmsu.blogspot.com/. And, of course, you can continue to browse the EWB Wiki.

The board members and other senior members would love to answer your questions and share their experiences.

EWB also has a library of books and reports related to our projects in our office. Come to 421 Roberts Hall to check out a book or binder.

Q. I have comments or ideas about the way the club is run. How can I share my feedback?
A. We welcome your ideas. You are free to e-mail any comments or criticisms you have to one of the board members, or talk to us in person (see the Contact List). If you prefer to remain anonymous, there is an Idea Board across the hall from our office (421 Roberts Hall). You can place any feedback you have in the folder on that board.

Q. I have an idea for a project, fundraiser, etc. Are you interested?
A. Of course! Tell us about your idea right away, and if it fits in with the club’s mission (which is pretty broad, really) we can help you get started. In the future, we may develop a semi-formal system for submitting project ideas, but for now, just e-mail a member of the board or talk to one of us after the general meeting. Once your project gets started, if you need money for materials, etc. you should bring a request for funding to the board.

Q. If I spend money on something that helps EWB, can I be reimbursed?
A. If the expenditure has been approved by the board or a relevant committee, and is something that helps advance EWB’s mission or improve its image, then yes (except possibly travel – see below). However, we do not reimburse costs related to events that are solely for the benefit of club members (e.g. the semi-annual EWB pancake breakfast). Reimbursements for travel that helps advance the club’s mission will be decided on a case-by-case basis; if you would like a travel reimbursement, please bring your request to the board. For more detailed information, please see our Reimbursement Policy (e-mail a board member for a copy).

To claim a reimbursement, give your receipt(s) to the Treasurer. You cannot get a reimbursement if you do not have a valid receipt for your purchase.