Bolivia - NDSEED

Population facets: 

This site is exclusively for NDSEED 2021–22 traveling members only.

Partner Organization: Notre Dame Students Empowering through Engineering Development (ND SEED) and Engineers in Action (EIA) Bridge Program

Location:  Bolivia

Number of Students:  Up to 6 students

Dates:  Determined by ND SEED team. Flexible Summer (6-8 weeks)

In person opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2022: No

Additional Information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  Spanish helpful, at least 2 group members must be fluent
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  None
  • Major Requirement:  Engineering , 1 Business student helpful
  • Student Minimum Age:  18 but recommended for upperclassmen between soph-junior or junior-senior years
  • Special Requirements:  1 year project commitment, Co-Req: enroll in 1 Fall and 1 Spring semester of College of Engineering Tech Elective Course; Students must be part of the ND SEED project team.
  • Other:  None

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment: 

(The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the Spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • Red Cross Certification
  • Self Defense

Special Funding Obligation:

ND SEED team fundraises to cover all expenses.  The ISSLP program provides a travel award to team members accepted and fully committed to and completing the ISSLP program requirements. ISSLP travel award will be retracted if academic course requirements are not fulfilled and prorated if student voluntarily vacates placement prematurely.

Site Description:  

Notre Dame Students Empowering through Engineering Development (ND SEED) was formed in February 2008 at the University of Notre Dame when six civil engineering students decided to combine their academic interests with service. By following the example of Continental Crossings, a group of students from the University of Iowa, ND SEED formed a partnership with the non-profit organization Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) and was able to empower a rural Honduran community by providing it with a suspended footbridge.

The success of the first ND SEED team's project and its alignment with the University of Notre Dame and the College of Engineering mission statements encouraged the formation of a second team, ND SEED 2010, in order to continue the tradition.  The ND SEED 2010 team worked with B2P to build a second Notre Dame bridge, this time with a community in Palquí, Guatemala.  Like the first team, they were responsible for fundraising the cost of the project, designing the bridge with the help of B2P and the faculty in the ND Civil Engineering Department, and managing the construction of the project onsite in Guatemala.  In 2010-2011 ND SEED started working with and building in numerous communities in Nicaragua.

After 7 years of work in Nicaragua, in 2017 ND SEED transitioned to Bolivia adding a fourth country to the list. The team partners with Engineers in Action (EIA), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in need through sustainable programs that build their capacity. ND SEED is committed to continue its relationships with Nicaraguan partners to ensure projects are maintained and hope continues to build.

ND SEED entered a partnership with the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) through Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns in 2010.  Over the coming years, the ISSLP will challenge ND SEED team members to think critically about the difficult social issues that they encounter over the course of the project, and delve into the root causes of the severe poverty that their bridges are seeking to reduce.  By developing a relationship with ND SEED, the ISSLP is able to offer engineering students a service-learning program that is both technically-based and supported by the College of Engineering.  

As NDSEED selects team members in a process separate and distinct from the ISSLP, team members are required to complete the ISSLP application and interview process.  Suitability and compatibility with ISSLP learning goals are assessed, and only team members accepted and fully committing to the ISSLP and completing course requirements receive the funding award.

Rising to the fundraising challenge, ND SEED secures necessary funds and successfully provides students with an amazing opportunity to put their engineering knowledge to use in the developing world through long-term, sustainable infrastructure projects.  It also exposes students to the rigors of managing a real project, including a budget of roughly $25,000.  The actual location of the site changes each year depending on where Bridges to Prosperity is working.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival/engagement.

This site will be in person for summer 2022.

This section reflects the most recent scope of work for students who deployed to Bolivia in 2019. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Building a 50-100m footbridge in a developing country takes a full year commitment.  ND SEED team members enroll in a variable credit Technology Elective course in the College of Engineering for both the fall and spring semesters prior to the summer construction of the bridge.   Fundraising efforts begin as soon as school starts in the fall or even before.

Housing & Lodging Information:

Housing and Lodging arrangements vary from year to year.  In consultation with the ISSLP and EIA, the ND SEED team makes the decision for their own living situation based on the practicalities of the site.  Accommodations have ranged from extended hostel stays, to camping in the village.  EIA’s in-country staff will work with the ND SEED team to ensure that all arrangements are safe and practical for the team.

For More Information

Former ISSLP/ND SEED Participants:

Will Tjaden '21 (ISSLP 2020)* (Graduate student in College of Engineering)
Keegan Siebenaler '23 (ISSLP 2021)* (Virtual 2021 Ecuador-Quito)
Arianna Bordogna-Jurkowitz '23 (ISSLP 2021)* (Virtual 2021 Ecuador-Quito)
*Did not deploy due to COVID-19 pandemic
Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.
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Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Information Session | Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM)
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm