March 24, 2021
March 24, 2021
March 26, 2021
The concept of Service-Learning (SL) has been shown to have many positive impacts on engineering students and young engineering professionals generally. Traditionally most engineering coursework is heavy on hard science and math and very light on any courses involving social sciences. Four faculty from Redacted University (RU) involved two different Civil and Environmental Engineering senior design student groups in a SL opportunity in Somewhere, TX in the 2019-20 school year. We worked with a local non-profit organization called Christ Church Camp (CCC) that served as the primary client for design. The project was to design a neighborhood for those transitioning out of homelessness and into greater self-sufficiency. The neighborhood’s design had to fit within a budget determined by grant money sought by CCC. There were engineering challenges concerning how to build sustainable tiny homes and use rainwater harvesting to support an urban garden. Student designers also had to learn the basics of social-work and poverty alleviation so that they could design a neighborhood that would build confidence and community for homeless individuals. Frequently, the homeless that CCC serves experiences long standing psychological challenges with a significant percentage of individuals coming out of addictions and with deficient relational skills. The first group of students had to select a large piece of land that was in an urban area. They were free to design a neighborhood that could house about 40 individuals between temporary tent-structures and tiny homes with few constraints. The second group of students improved on the design by redesigning tiny homes to be built from shipping containers, removing the tent dwellings, designing a central community building, and incorporating sustainable design choices that would result in a LEED certified neighborhood (estimate 45 points in final design). In addition to guiding the project itself, faculty examined student comments from weekly memoranda to evaluate both ABET outcomes and growth in empathy/compassion. We expect that this kind of partnership between engineering education and social-work related non-profits will become more common. Specific challenges we faced including interfacing with city government, uncertainties about land locations to purchase, and having clients that are so different from students and their experiences. We hope that other engineering educators will be able to surmount these challenges by building upon our experiences.
Leitch, K. R., & Howell, N., & Butler, E., & Unnikrishnan, V. (2021, March), Innovative Neighborhood for the Homeless: a Combined Technological-Socioeconomic Approach to Engineering Senior Design Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/36385
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015