Project for Underserved Communities (PUC)

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PUC 2014: Water collection system in Tanzania

Projects for Under-Served Communities (PUC) is a unique service-learning collaboration between the School of Social Work, the Cockrell School of Engineering, and the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin.

Although they might seem apart, engineering and social work are a logical match: both are project-oriented and both want to enhance people’s lives. Through PUC, engineering and social work students team up to design and implement sustainable-development projects in communities across the globe.

The PUC program spans through three semesters. In the fall, social work students work alongside engineering students in teams to focus on project selection and planning.

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PUC 2014: Public bathroom for a community clinic in Nicaragua

In the spring, while engineering students take a technical design course, social work students concentrate on a community development course. Both groups meet regularly during the spring, and social work students offer culturally-relevant community engagement strategies to ensure that the engineering projects will be well received in the communities. 

In the summer, both groups travel together to implement the projects with community and technical partners. Read about trips to Nicaragua and Tanzania in summer 2014. Watch a short video by social work student Danielle Goldfarb about a PUC trip to Ghana in 2012.

As part of the ongoing engineering collaboration, the school’s Institute for Community Development: U.S. and Abroad will help support  the sustainability of PUC projects by placing social work interns in locations where PUC engineering projects are in need of a sustainable component.