By Mofoluso K.
This semester I learned that as a millennial life is sweet yet ominous. The age I live in is one of scientific and social breakthroughs, increased wealth across the world, and hyper communication. Yet, for as many positive developments that have arisen in the last 100 years there are as many negative developments that have formed. Global warming is reaching the point of no return and threatens many lifeforms around the world, world hunger is increasing despite adequate amounts of food, crime is rising in countries despite a rise in living standards, and the threat of war is still present across the globe. And these are just a few of the many problems we are faced with today.
As an engineer I am one of the driving forces behind the positive change caused by engineering. My problem-solving skills are at their highest level of demand ever and science is just beginning to step into many new and exciting fields where I can leave an impact. However, not much attention is called to the need for engineers to fix growing problems in the world today.
ENME 467, also known as “Engineering for Social Change”, is the course that ties in what it means to be an engineer into the need for engineers to help fix the growing problems of our world today. This course is symbolic of the stepping stone all engineers in today’s world need to base themselves on when solving problems. Specifically, this course walks you through the need for social change to be one of the highest priorities as an engineer and the need to revamp engineering practices to minimize the unintended negative effects that have arisen and may arise in the future.
The course accomplished its goals by having engaging lectures on a broad scope of topics, encouraging students to learn about and interact with non-profits, and then leading students to write a grant proposal for a specific project. The lectures in my opinion were the best part of the class because they allowed for open discourse which helped form and challenge my opinions. Every Friday I could expect to come to class ready to engage in a debate of some sort on a new topic with one of my classmates. The topics of the lectures ranged from personal security online to the Flint Michigan Water Crisis. Needless to say, the topics were varied. This variety helped to attack different problems and encourage unique discussions every week. I believe the lectures were the greatest part of the class. Another way this class strived for its goal was to have us interact with a non-profit of our choice and create a project with them. This helped us to learn about how non-profits operate and how we as students could have a social impact on our immediate environment. Lastly, the grant proposal paper gave us a taste of the effort that goes into effecting social change and the process that many people take to get to their goals. The grant proposal was also important because the class was given $10,000 to give to a non-profit of their choice for a specific project. The proposal helped to formalize the plan and direct the student’s efforts.
All in all, I believe this class encouraged me to want to engineer for social change and to also be mindful of how my actions and products will affect others. I would recommend this class to anyone!