Environmental Engineering Student Looks to Make an INpact

Dylan Verburg

Dylan Verburg is a student in Environment Engineering.  He is also the co-founder of INpact COLLECTIVE, a social enterprise aimed at importing artisan products from India and reselling them in Canada. The profits gained help promote educational empowerment in India. The idea for this business was sparked during Dylan's first visit to India as part of his research work deploying equipment in a drainage pond outside the Indian capital of New Delhi in an attempt to improve water quality.

“Two 50-foot sections of tubing were placed … with the intention of oxidizing the inlet stream before it mixes with the main body of the lake,” the civil engineering student writes in a blog on the Windsor Engineering website. “Six additional lines are placed strategically in the main body of the lake,” located along the Yamuna River in North Delhi.

He measures the resulting changes, which aim to aerate the water, allowing beneficial bacteria to flourish and naturally restore the ecosystem.

“There is so little dissolved oxygen in the water that life forms depending on oxygen can’t survive, making the water a prime breeding ground for pathogenic organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and mosquitos,” Verburg writes.

His participation in the research project is supported in part by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarships in Water and Energy, established in celebration of the monarch’s diamond jubilee.

While living in India he quickly built a connection with three kids who lived near the site where he was working. Unlike other parts of India, these kids and others in this area weren’t receiving the education they needed in order to excel and have a good life.  In an attempt to help change their fate, he reached out to friends and colleagues (his founding partner, Aditi, being the most responsive and supportive) and quickly realized that this problem is common in that area and there are difficulties involved in trying to register undocumented citizens in school. After learning that the cost of sending these kids to school was reasonable, he realized it would be possible to change the lives of these kids and many like them at a relatively low cost per child. He quicklly sent an email to the EPICentre (The University of Windsor's in-house business incubator) for support and recieved the backing he needed. Starting his own business was very intimidating but it has been well worth all the time and effort.
INpact imports beautiful Indian artisan products: shawls, pashminas, leather weekender and messenger bags, and decor — India has a very proud tradition and deep history of artistry. They resell these products in Canada and use the profits to promote educational initiatives in India. He hopes to be part of the change that helps bring education and drive social change. 

Dylan was also featured in The Voice — the official publication of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers 

Story adapted with permission from:

Online diary records student involvement in Indian hydro-engineering project

UWindsor Environmental Engineering Student Helps Fund Educational Initiatives in India Through Social Enterprise