View Quadangles Print Version →


Read Class Notes Online →





Past Issues →




subscribeOnline picture



Advertise with Us →



Bookmark and Share



subscribeOnline picture RSS feed


Students Engineer a Clean, Green Solution

A school in San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala planned to install flushing toilets for the first time. While that seems like a major step up from outhouses, workers planned to drain the toilets into a nearby river, posing a huge environmental threat. For URI engineering alumnus Marc Vigeant ’12 (above), the potential nightmare was a solvable problem.

The Barrington native leads the URI chapter of Students for Global Sustainability. They’re a team of seven engineering students who’ve met weekly for nearly two years designing a wastewater treatment system for the school and surmounting challenges at every turn. The school lacks reliable electricity, so they’re using dosing siphons that harness natural energy from gravity to provide flow. There’s no existing treatment infrastructure, so they designed a sand filtration system. There are no plat maps, so they traveled to Guatemala last summer to do their own survey.

And to pay for the project, the group sold plastic cups, empty ink jet cartridges, old cell phones, and broken laptops to a recycling company, and asked for financial support from the URI College of Engineering. Armed with money and plans, Vigeant and classmate Dan Waugh ’12 traveled to Guatemala in August to oversee installation of their system, which now serves as a model for the community to reproduce.

“At first it seemed like an over-whelming project,” Vigeant says. “But over time, the solution became more and more palpable.” The team was guided by Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Vinka Oyanedel-Craver, and by Stephen Andrus ’04 and Phil Virgadamo ’64, M.S. ’66, engineers at GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies in Norwood, Mass.

“I’ve been really impressed with the students,” says Andrus. “They do a great deal of work and they are very devoted to their cause.”

On his way to graduate school for master’s degrees in engineering and business, Vigeant aims to open an engineering firm specializing in installing renewable energy systems.

Comments are open, but there are no comments.

Leave a Comment

Most comments will be posted within 24 hours of submission.

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free


Salute to Eleanor Porter

A Yearning for Home

The Business of Dumpster Diving

Getting Technical on Crime

Throw your iPhone, We Dare You

Real Life Through the Lens

News & Views

Helping Veterans Find Peace at Home

Healthy Rhode Islanders, Healthy Savings

When the Turkish Government Called, URI Was There

Students Engineer a Clean, Green Solution

Eating Green

R.I. Radio Hall of Fame Welcomes “Voice of the Rams”

Students Create Award-Winning PSAs

September Is Pharmacy Month at URI

Press Box

Grapes and Grain Raises Record Amount

Luebke Provided Years of Support

Foster Suits Up For Colts

Rhody Auctions Come to

Class Acts Profiles

Paul Lonardo ’98

Danielle (Towne) Oaks ’06 and Eli Moger ’10

Rachel Lessne ’07

Carlene Capobianco-Messinger ’89

Danielle Bogert ’93

Molly Sholes, M.L.S. ’80

Back Page

Still Playin’ the Blues

Alumni Chapters →


Family Day at Roger Williams Park Zoo

It’s All Thanks to You, Rhode Island

URI Night with the PawSox

Upcoming Events

All in the Family

Homecoming Weekend 2012

Big Chill Weekend 2013

URI Honors Colloquium

Alumni Career Services

Job Interview Basics

QuadAngles © 2014 URI Alumni Association. All rights reserved. Produced by the Office of Publications and Creative Services for the URI Alumni Association, Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881. Phone: 401-874-2242 | Contact Quadangles