Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteer FAQs

Please consult the FAQs below if you have questions relating to volunteering for the Community Engineering Corps (CECorps).

Do I have to be an ASCE, AWWA or EWB-USA member to volunteer?

Yes, you need to be a member of at least one of the allying organizations in order to volunteer to work on a project, fundraise, or participate on any volunteer committee.

How do I join ASCE, AWWA or EWB-USA?

You can join any of the three organizations by visiting their respective websites: www.asce.org, www.awwa.org or www.ewb-usa.org.

What is the Community Engineering Corps application process for local groups?

Working with others in your ASCE, AWWA, or EWB-USA local group, browse the list of Open Projects . When you find a community project that looks interesting to you, put together a project team roster of people who would be qualified to address that specific issue. Complete the 542 Project Team Application and submit your application to cecsubmittals@ewb-usa.org. CECorps staff will review it and determine if your team is well suited for the project. The roster can consist of members of different local groups. However, only one local group will officially be assigned responsibility for the project.

How do I find which projects are currently looking for volunteers?

All unmatched projects that are in need of a project team can be found here. The CECorps assigns projects at the team level, so connecting with your local ASCE or AWWA section, or EWB-USA chapter to form a project team is the best way to develop or adopt a project. In most cases, CECorps does not match individual volunteers with projects.

What are the project team requirements?

A project team must have at least one licensed engineer registered in the state in which the project will take place. This licensed engineer must be willing to serve as the Responsible Engineer in Charge (REIC). Project teams can be formed from any ASCE, AWWA or EWB-USA group. Team members can be from the same group or you can collaborate with others. All project team members must be a member of at least one of the allying organizations.

What are the responsibilities of the Responsible Engineer in Charge?

The Responsible Engineer in Charge (REIC) will sign the engineering services agreement with the community and will be responsible for stamping the engineering plans and specifications if needed. This individual is the person in charge of the overall project quality and must be an integral part of the day to day project work.

What is the timeframe from when a local group submits it's application to hearing if its been selected?

Approximately 2 to 4 weeks.

Are there volunteer opportunities as an individual member instead of as part of a project team?

Yes. If you are an experienced professional, you may serve in several capacities:

1) You may serve on the Domestic Application Review Committee (DARC) that reviews community applications to determine whether the proposed project fits within the CECorps mission and vision.

2) You may serve on the Technical Review Committee (TRC) that reviews work done by the project teams to make sure that it is high quality work that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

3) You may serve as a professional mentor to a project team that needs additional experience.

Contact cecinfo@ewb-usa.org  to get additional information about serving in these capacities.

I’m not an engineer. Are there other volunteering opportunities available to me?

The volunteer opportunities are dependent on the needs of the project. There are projects that will have the need of professionals other than engineers. For example, a project may need hydrologists, contractors, chemists or other scientists, water treatment plant operators, etc.  All project team members must be a member of at least one of the allying organizations.

If my local group's application is accepted, is my local group responsible for any fundraising?

Local groups are responsible for fundraising for the costs associated with the assessment and design of the project. This may include costs associated with travel to the site, analysis of water quality samples, equipment rental, etc. The partner community is responsible for the capital construction cost of the facilities.

What is the time commitment for a typical project?

The time commitment for a project will vary widely depending on the needs of the project and the role that you have on the project team. If you have a minor role in a small project this may be just a few hours. Alternatively, it you have a major role in a large project, you may need to spend up to 20 hours per week on the project.

What will the work we’ll be doing look like?

The work that volunteers  do varies widely depending on the needs of the project, but you will act in a similar capacity as a consulting engineer. This includes site assessment, developing a scope of work with the partner community and working on the analysis and design of a solution to the problem that the community identified. The work product depends on the needs of the partner community. It will likely be an engineering report or design plans and specifications.

Can I get school credit for volunteering?

School credit may be awarded on a case-by-case basis; however, it is ultimately decided by your school. Consult your school advisor for more information.

If I have additional questions, who should I contact?

Please contact cecinfo@ewb-usa.org.

 

 

Community FAQs

Please consult the FAQs below if you have questions about how your community can apply for a project.

What is Community Engineering Corps?

The Community Engineering Corps (CECorps) is an initiative to provide underserved communities in the U.S. with the engineering expertise to implement infrastructure projects that will improve their quality of life. Created in partnership between the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association and Engineers Without Borders USA, the CECorps seeks to tap into the enthusiasm, energy and experience of the members of all three organizations to serve communities that do not have the resources to access engineering services.

What type of projects does the Community Engineering Corps do?

The CECorps provides engineering design and related technical services for infrastructure related projects. This can include analysis and design of new facilities or working with communities on operation and maintenance of existing facilities. The CECorps works on water supply, sanitation, civil works (such as roads and drainage facilities), structures, energy supply, and agriculture projects.

Does the Community Engineering Corps provide funding for projects?

The CECorps provides engineering services and covers all costs associated with the assessment and design of a project. These costs could include items such as transportation costs for project teams to get to the site, costs associated with laboratory tests of water quality, and rental of equipment. We do not provide any funding for the capital construction cost of a project. Funding for the capital construction cost of facilities designed by the CECorps is the responsibility of the partner community.

Who does the Community Engineering Corps partner with?

The CECorps works with communities in the United States that do not have the financial resources to access engineering services in a traditional fee-for-service manner. We partner directly with communities or non-governmental organizations that represent communities. We do not partner with individuals or for-profit agencies.

Who can apply for a project?

Any community that needs engineering assistance but cannot afford to retain those services can ask the CECorps for assistance. The definition of  “community” is broadly defined. Examples may include a municipality, the members of a community garden or the homeless persons who use a specific homeless shelter. Please consult the listing of Case Studies for examples of community projects.

How does my community apply for a project?

The community should complete the 541 Community Application and submit it to cecsubmittals@ewb-usa.org. Details can be found on the Apply to Start a Project page. If you have questions about the application procedure or need assistance in completing the application, please contact cecinfo@ewb-usa.org.

Are all applications accepted?

Before approval, every application is reviewed to make sure that the potential project and community partner are a good fit for the CECorps and are consistent with our mission and vision. If the project is declined, we discuss with the applicant why the project was declined. It may be a situation that can be remedied. For example, if a project is very large, the applicant may be asked to reduce the scope of work and make the project a more appropriate size. On the other hand, if the applicant is a for-profit corporation, the project would be declined since we do not partner with for-profit corporations. The factors considered are listed in the 541 Community Application.

What happens after the community submits the application?

After the community submits the application, it is reviewed by the Domestic Application Review Committee (DARC). If the project is approved, the community is informed of the approval and we then match the project with a CECorps project team that would be appropriate for working on the project. This process can take up to three months, though it is often quicker. If the project is declined we will work with the community to modify the application and/or project, if possible, to make it acceptable as a CECorps project

If I have additional questions, who should I contact?

Please contact cecinfo@ewb-usa.org if you still have questions or need assistance to complete the application.