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Recent Success: SESH Students in Nepal

A group of 15 students from Structural Engineering Students for Humanity (SESH) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo traveled to Kathmandu in Nepal in 2018 to help Miyamoto Relief with plans to repair and strengthen a school badly damaged in Nepal’s 2015 earthquake. It is the fifth year SESH has volunteered alongside Miyamoto Relief, making them one of our most committed partners.

“The trip was fantastic,” said Al Estes, a Cal Poly professor who accompanied them to Nepal in 2017. “We were all outside our comfort zones and ready for an adventure. Kit Miyamoto gave the students a month of work to do in a week just to see how they would perform. The students had to self-organize and use everyone’s efforts to get it done.”

In previous years, the group worked on a variety of projects, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site palace, the Gaddi Baithak, and earthquake-damaged schools in both Nepal and Haiti. This year, the group’s two-week trip was divided into a week of humanitarian work with a second week for cultural tours and exploring Nepal.

This is “a unique opportunity for students to incorporate learned engineering and construction practices outside of school in a place recently affected by disaster,” SESH wrote of the experience. The goal, they wrote, is to connect with people and communities in developing countries “through the built environment.”

The group was established in 2011 to give students an opportunity to work on socially impactful humanitarian projects with an emphasis in structural engineering.  Students often say that the experience inspires them to continue pursuing humanitarian work. The group also raises funds for a Miyamoto Relief project as part of the partnership. In 2018, $10,000 was raised.