Failure Forum 2018

The Idea

While every EWB chapter is working hard to do the best for their partner communities, mistakes along the way are inevitable. Our chapter earnestly believes that the best way to foster successful projects is to encourage honest dialogue and create spaces in which everyone feels comfortable admitting to failures small and large, and takes the time to learn from those mistakes.

This belief led to the conception of The Failure Forum, which will take place on April 7th of 2018. This student-lead conference is dedicated to the candid discussion of failure in the context of EWB projects and the lessons that can be shared and learned when things go wrong. It aims to encourage student and professional engineers to speak up about a reality that sometimes seems taboo in the engineering service world. The event will be from approximately 12-7pm at Harvard University and will be followed by an informal chapter social.


Who: YOU!

What: A failure-themed EWB conference hosted by the Harvard student chapter

Where: Harvard University's Maxwell-Dworkin Building, 33 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

When: Saturday, April 7th, 2018 from noon - 7pm

Why: To promote a culture where it's acceptable to talk about and learn from failure

How: Register here! It costs $20 per person but there is discounted $15 pp registration until March 17th.

Check back later for more information on food and parking.

Questions? Email


Welcome Panel

Bree Carlson, Harvard University Environmental Health

EWB-USA Speaker

Eric Lundborg, Engineers Without Borders-USA

EWB Project Failure Case Studies

Walt Walker, NYC State Representative

Heather Pieszala, Hartford Professional Chapter

Katrina Haidari and Samantha Schloder, University of Pittsburgh Chapter

Learning and Leading Through Failure

Alain Lempereur, University of Geneva and Brandeis University

Kelly McQueeney, Harvard University Environmental Health

Building Failure Resiliency

Bill Van Schalkwyk, Harvard University Environmental Health

James Hylko

Wally Higgins, WEB Consulting


Dave Sacco, Yale University chapter faculty advisor and ICP reviewer


Time Activity Title
12-12:30pm Welcome Panel Intro to the Failure Forum
12:30-12:40pm Break
12:40-1:25pm Northeast Region Talk EWB-USA and Failure
1:25-1:35pm Break
1:35-2:20pm Session 2 EWB Project Failure Case Studies
2:20-2:35pm Break
2:35-3:20pm Meet and Mingle Failure Activity Building an EWB Failure Community
3:20-3:30pm Break
3:30-4:30pm Session 3 Leading and Learning Through Failure
4:30-5:30pm Session 4 Building Failure Resiliency
5:30-5:40pm Break
5:40-6:20pm Wrap-Up Conclusion