Engineers for a Sustainable World

At universities across the country, classes and curricula are offered in conjunction with various clubs and activities that augment student experience and involvement.  For instance, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute here in Troy students have the awesome opportunity to become involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World, a student-led national program tackling local and global sustainability obstacles.  Using the skills they’ve gained in the classroom, Engineers for a Sustainable World are actively creating a better tomorrow for people not only in their community around Troy but also around the world! Take a look at just a sample of the superb work they’ve been doing:

Engineers for a Sustainable World is a non-profit organization with student chapters at colleges all around the country. We are committed to building a better world through sustainable engineering initiatives and educational programs. ESW-RPI was founded in 2005, and currently runs major projects in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in Troy.

The Haiti project began [in 2008, and continued through the] response to the devastating earthquake in 2010 which left many towns without basic necessities. We became involved with the village of Rantlamouaie to recover. We have installed a patient ward and a day care center, both of which were constructed out of used shipping containers.  Both facilities were powered using solar panels mounted on the roof. The patient ward is used by the Doctors without Borders to treat patients. The childcare center is run by the community and its purpose is to enable girls, traditionally in charge of their younger siblings, to attend school. Both facilities are heavily used.  We also designed a classroom which will include clean burning stoves where students can learn to cook using these new technologies.  This is of critical importance in a natural environment where wood resources are scarce due to deforestation. The future of this project is the construction of a mobile solar charging station for cell phones.

The daycare center in Haiti

The daycare center in Haiti

We have been working in the Mayan village of Ek-Balam, Mexico, for the past three years. We have installed a 300W Photovoltaic array which powers lights and a charging station in a home owned by the village. Additionally, we have installed a solar thermal system for the shower of that same home.  In the future, we aim to expand out solar thermal program to other families within the village.

The installation of solar panels in a Mexican village

The installation of solar panels in a Mexican village

The Biodiesel Project is operating here in Troy. We are working to build a facility which converts the waste vegetable oil produced by RPI campus dining halls into useful biodiesel. Biodiesel is a fuel which can be used for heating in a standard oil furnace, and it can be substituted for petroleum diesel in a standard diesel vehicles. Just as importantly, it is fairly easy and safe to produce. We like to work with Transition Troy and other community groups to spread awareness and education the production process and use of biodiesel. Once our facility is fully operational, we also intend to organize workshops for interested community members where you can get hands-on experience and a better idea of how to safely produce it yourself. Please contact esw-biodiesel@union.rpi.edu if you have any questions!

– Liam Moynihan, ESW correspondence

ESW's bio-diesel processor here in Troy

ESW’s biodiesel processor here in Troy

The Biodiesel Project has also been funded by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute! Impressive!

Engineers for a Sustainable World remind us all that true sustainability comes from communities helping one another,  and we’re excited to have these dedicated students come to the Celebration! Come by on Saturday to learn more about them and how you can get involved and help a local biodiesel project grow! Check out their website too! http://eswatrpi.wix.com/eswrpi

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