Lecture in 2013
I apologize for my delayed response.
I have talked to Fred Stolfi, a professor in the mechanical engineering department here at Columbia -- he liked the idea of involving students in OSE for senior design (he was in fact a little disappointed it was too late for this year's students). He also mentioned he would probably be willing to sponsor OSE projects as faculty research, which would allow students to get academic credit for working on a project with OSE. Please contact him at (212) 854-7421 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Though he will better be able to explain the scope and requirements of the senior design project at Columbia than I, here is a quick a overview:
Seniors are required to take a 1-credit class in the fall in which they form groups, and generate and submit project proposals. There are usually presenters who come in and provide inspiration for solving a particular problem or who have ideas for projects. About a month in to the fall course, students (groups of ~4) have to select one idea, do a literature search on relevant technology/prior art. Near the end of the semester students have to present CAD drawings and explain their design. In the spring semester, students take a 3-credit senior design class. Early in the spring semester, students undergo a detailed CAD review with part drawings for everything in their design. After approval on the detailed CAD review they begin fabrication and at the end of the semester there is a design exposition with judges and all the finished projects.
I'd bet it's pretty a similar format for senior design as found at other schools. Another person who might be interested in helping students be involved with OSE is Bob Stark email@example.com.
In regards to EWB, it may in fact be possible to designate factor e farm as a community, I am still trying to find the exact details on the matter. It appears that OSE can apply directly to EWB as a target community, either while in contact with a specific chapter or even without a chapter affiliation:
"Motivated communities learn of EWB-USA and apply in the hopes that a chapter will adopt their community's proposed program and collaborate with them to meet their project needs. Chapters can review these programs on the Open Programs portion of the website." (I reviewed the Open Programs link. There are currently 9 open programs, all in Africa.)
"In support of our community-driven model and approach to community development work, we accept the 501 - Community Application for an EWB-USA New Program/1st Project directly from communities. The application can be submitted by one of the project partners, such as a community-based organization (CBO) and/or local non-governmental organization (NGO)/local government. While we no longer accept 501 applications directly from chapters, it is understood that the chapter may be involved with the community-based organization/local NGO/local government in the development of the 501 - application. In addition, it is acceptable for the chapter to submit the final application to EWB-USA, on behalf of the community/project partners."
Attached you will find the 501 - Community Application, as well as the 505 - Site Assessment form. These should provide a pretty good idea the EWB-USA guidelines for a site/community.
Please keep me in mind if you need anything.
Best, Eric Laukkanen