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BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Engineers Without Borders Support Students in Sustainable Development


Five university students were this week given the opportunity to pursue studies in sustainable development with the support of scholarships provided by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC).

The EWB Challenge Scholarship program provides development opportunities, internships and research projects to the value of A$10,000 for emerging leaders in the field of sustainable development so they can create positive change through humanitarian engineering.

Engineers Without Borders Australia CEO, Lizzy Brown, said the EWB Challenge Scholarship program supported the development of future leaders in humanitarian engineering.

“The program supports students through their final three years of university study. The Scholars are all highly motivated and very passionate about ensuring that their careers will have a social benefit. It is inspiring to think about what the future holds with these young people in leadership positions,” Ms Brown said.

The partnership between EWB and the BSC supports the EWB Challenge, a first year university design program aimed at introducing students to concepts of humanitarian engineering. Each year the program reaches approximately 10,000 students across 52 universities where students are challenged to come up with engineering solutions to real-life issues facing the developing world.

BHP Billiton President Corporate Affairs, Tony Cudmore said the partnership with EWB reflected BHP Billiton’s commitment to Sustainability.

“The projects that students develop through the EWB Challenge are truly remarkable and we’re proud to support our next generation of engineers in making a difference to the lives of people in developing countries,” Mr Cudmore said.

“As the world’s largest diversified resource company we count a large number of engineers among our workforce.  Many of these employees put their own time and effort toward making a difference for disadvantaged people and this is exactly the type of community involvement the partnership with EWB promotes.” 

Scholarship recipient and RMIT Electrical Engineering student Olivia McCombe said she had developed a keen interest in the issue of energy poverty and looked forward to furthering her studies in the area with the help of the scholarship.

“I used to romanticise the idea of life off the grid but it eventually dawned on me that electricity is about more than flickering fluorescent tube lights; the history of its distribution has been about lifting generations out of abject poverty, enabling the exchange of ideas, and keeping warm, among other things,” Miss McCombe said.


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