Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

03-26-09

Contacts:

Leigh Cumpston, ISU engineer student, (515) 988-1986, lcumpst@iastate.edu

Allison Machtemes, ISU engineer and MBA student, (320) 583-1044, allison9@iastate.edu

Krishna Athreya, Engineering Leadership Program director, (515) 294-5858, ksa1@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Anne Kassel, News Service, (515) 294-6881, akassel@iastate.edu

ISU engineering students lead a symposium to educate others on water conservation

AMES, Iowa -- Two Iowa State University students are taking the world's water conservation into their own hands. Seniors Leigh Cumpston and Allison Machtemes will lead a water conservation symposium on Sunday, March 29, in Howe Hall as part of their project for ISU's Engineering Leadership Program (ELP).

"We focused on water conservation because it's such a global issue," said Cumpston, a chemical engineering major from Clive. "We both have developed a passion for conserving water as many in the world do not have access to the important resource and ELP allows us to pursue our interests."

The "Water Focus" symposium will be held in the Howe Hall Atrium from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and feature presentations by the City of Ames' Smart Water Program and FOX Engineering on industry conservation, individual conservation and the future outlook of water as a resource. It is free and open to the public and will provide an opportunity for the Iowa State University and Ames communities to learn different water conservation tactics.

The two students hope this symposium will lead to better conservation practices that will result in long term benefits. It is the first of three parts to their ELP project.

With the assistance of a grant from 3M Corporation, the Engineering Leadership Program was established in 2006 to allow engineering students to develop projects to integrate their academic skills with experiential learning. Cumpston and Machtemes are two of 60 ELP students.

"The Engineering Leadership Program is an opportunity for students to connect their multiple learning opportunities and experiences at Iowa State University in order to help them develop as leaders within their communities," said Krishna Athreya, director of ELP. "It serves to remind students that their educational opportunities mean they are part of a very privileged and small minority in the world and they have a responsibility to give back to the world in return for this privilege."

Machtemes, a civil engineering and concurrent MBA graduate student from Glencoe, Minn., credits Iowa State for this opportunity and said the technical skills learned in the classroom directly benefit the project.

"Leigh and I are in different engineering programs which have each provided us with a variety of learned technical skills," said Machtemes. "Because of this, our skills complement each other and allow us to be more innovative and creative in our project."

While the first part of the project focuses on public awareness and education, part two is the testing step in which the students will purchase water-saving consumer products and disperse them to areas of need in the United States. The end of the 10-year project goal is to implement a water-conservation and treatment plan in a foreign country.

"We know 10 years is a big goal, but we're hoping to build a relationship with a foreign country where water is an endangered resource," said Cumpston. "Ideally, we would like to implement our plan to benefit their population."

Cumpston and Machtemes receive no payment or academic credit for their ELP project since it is completely voluntary. Yet the project has become their passion, and for good reason.

"As the population of the world grows, the resources become finite and we want to do something that could make a difference," said Cumpston. "We need to become more aware of conservation practices and we're hoping our project can create a passion among others to take an active role versus a passive role."

Machtemes says the project is vital for future generations

"For economics to grow and support a population, we need water," said Machtemes. "We need to apply and know conservation skills so we can better the next generation of society."

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Quick look

Two Iowa State seniors will lead a water conservation symposium on Sunday, March 29, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Howe Hall as part of their project for ISU's Engineering Leadership Program.

Quote

"As the population of the world grows, the resources become finite and we want to do something that could make a difference. We need to become more aware of conservation practices and we're hoping our project can create a passion among others to take an active role versus a passive role."

Leigh Cumpston