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Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries (CEDC) is a student-led Creative Inquiry organization that works on projects aimed to advance the developing world, mainly in Haiti.

“Our mission is to work with local communities in the Central Plateau of Haiti to develop sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life through interdisciplinary student-led initiatives that embody our core values in partnership with Clemson University, non-profit organizations and industry,” CEDC’s website said.

With nearly 100 students involved in the organization, CEDC manages to run 20 different project groups in the spring, ranging from aquaculture research to do-it-yourself water filtration system development. While students work on their projects in Clemson, CEDC typically sends two to five interns to Haiti at a time in order to implement the students’ designs, repair previous project systems and collect data for project teams in Clemson.

After its foundation in 2009 by a group of Clemson graduate students, CEDC began to develop their largest, most impactful project to date. The village of Cange in Haiti’s Central Plateau lacked access to clean water. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, a year after the organization’s founding, the need for a clean water system was exacerbated further. To address this problem, CEDC designed and implemented the first municipal water system in the entire country, allowing more than 20,000 Haitians to have access to clean water. Today, the organization, led by Faculty Advisor David Vaughn, aims to implement projects that have a similar impact to the water system that was implemented by CEDC’s founding members.  

Aside from the work in Haiti, CEDC has made an effort to focus on projects closer to home as well. CEDC has partnered with Rebuild Upstate, an organization that focuses on repairing homes throughout upstate South Carolina, to allow students to serve the nearby community through various construction projects throughout the semester. Additionally, CEDC held its second annual Walk for Water on March 9, an event that was designed to simulate the walk that millions of women and children have to make each day just to find clean water.

While the name of the organization implies that CEDC is an engineering organization, students from all majors are welcome to join. In fact, CEDC contains several functional groups aimed towards non-engineering students including a marketing team, project controls and a finance team. CEDC students meet for an organized class time on Fridays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. to learn more about Haitian culture, receive relevant organizational updates and present their project progress to other students. Then, from 3:30-4:30 p.m., the students break off into their project teams and begin to work on their projects. With help from graduate students and industry professionals, CEDC students are able to make significant progress on their projects with each passing week. Through this work, it is clear that, in the words of their founder Jeff Plumblee, CEDC truly has, “develop[ed] our students into better team members, leaders, and more compassionate community members.”

Check out @cu_cedc on Instagram and @CU_CEDC on Twitter for more information.

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