The Community Service Learning (CSL) Group Project was first introduced into the B.Sc. Electrical and Computer Engineering programme in 2009 as a module of ECNG 2005 Laboratory and Project Design 3, which is part of the Department’s Engineering Practice stream. It facilitates a key component of our undergraduate graduate profile at threshold: “Graduates will have demonstrated the ability to apply their acquired skills to meet basic social and economic needs taking account of local and regional considerations”. Additionally, the project allows for the overall development of our students, facilitates the key attributes of the distinguished UWI graduate, prepares our students for life and the complex world of work, and contributes to The UWI’s public service responsibility.
The project is focused on the application of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) knowledge, techniques and skills to solve a real-world, community-based problem, under the guidance of a qualified supervisor. Students are required to identify a community in need; explore some of the social, economic or other problems that exist for the residents, and which can be addressed using electrical and computer engineering knowledge; formulate a project proposal with relevant rationale; and design and implement a feasible and sustainable solution, adopting systematic and formal project management approaches (including consideration of industry standards and regulations, codes of practice, occupational health including and safety protocols, time, financial and other resource management, and risk assessment and management). The project takes place over a period of 6-8 weeks in Semester II of the academic year (i.e. January – March).
A key aspect of the delivery of the CSL project is the demonstration that the proposed solution has a significant impact on the everyday lives of the community members. Here are some sample projects and testimonials from our beneficiaries:
Installation of an Electric Bell and Computer Upgrades at the Durham Village Hindu School, Charlieville
Design and Development of a Website for Online Student Registration at Celia’s Pre-School
“It will have a good impact on the school and the surrounding community” (Beneficiary)
Design and Implementation of an Electronic Buzzer System for the JC MacDonald Home for the Aged, San Fernando
Electrical and Computer Upgrade at the Grace Community Complex for the Challenged, Cunupia
Installation of a Solar Power System for a Resident of the La Fillette Community
“…I was just praying that it would be us that they would select…it is a positive change to the family. I am glad for the opportunity that my children will have betterment in their lives….a lot of positive things will be happening…everything will change…just a blessing” (Nikeisha Felix-Lewis, Beneficiary)
Improving Emergency Response at the Charis Works’ Christian Academy, Tacarigua
Implementation of a Security and Fire Alarm System at the Police/Scouts/Lions Headquarters in Couva
“…cameras…smoke detectors…it’s a valuable help and contribution to the PSL” (Darren Narcis, Chairman and the PSL Association)
Development of an Online Platform for the Sixth Formers’ Association Services, Carapichaima
“Thanks guys this is probably the best thing that could ever happen to the SFAS organization because for so long we have been trying to keep interaction between students and tutors throughout the year.”-Gianmarc Cole (President of SFAS)
Improvement of the Security & Communication Systems at St. Pius Boys’ R.C. School, Arouca
“The intercom system in the principal’s office is good. Before, the security had to leave the booth unattended. Prior to the PA system we used horns and the students were unable to hear us. We also had burglaries, there was an incident where someone came through the ceiling in the staff room. Now, with the camera, we will be able to see what takes place on the compound. We are thankful for the cameras, intercom and PA systems.”-Kimberly Young-Moreno (Secretary at St.Pius’)
Electronic Security System for Animals Alive Shelter, Oropouche
“The shelter is highly appreciative of the alarm, intercom and surveillance system designed and installed by these fabulous UWI students. Animals Alive feels very confident that these systems are going to help us have a rapid response in case of emergencies and the caretakers are very happy to erveive these gifts” (Kathryn Cleghorn, President of Animals Alive Shelter)
Since its inception, the CSL project has been an iconic undertaking at The UWI and Department has taken great pride in this initiative. We continue to maintain it as an integral part of its B.Sc. programme.