By Mark M.

Engineering for Social Change is a class that deviates from any other engineering class that you will ever take. Instead of crunching numbers and memorizing formulas, we learned about the responsibilities that each engineer has when working in the real world as well as the importance of philanthropy. I think the most difficult part of this class was the semester-long grant making process where we had to decide which organization got to receive our $10,000 grant. When given a list of non-profit organizations that all make amazing impacts, it is really challenging to choose which organization is most deserving of our class’ donation.

From the start, we discussed as a class what aspects we valued the most through our theme papers and student-lead debates. Being able to have so much freedom and the ability to be creative in an engineering class is very rare given the rigidity of the curriculum. Giving the students the responsibility of collaborating with each other and debating to figure out which values should influence our final decision is something that will better prepare us for the real engineering world.

My biggest takeaway from this class is how strong of an impact we have as engineers to help people who are less fortunate. From the presentations from Dr. Kapilashrami funding a private school in India to Ms. Estrada creating sustainable lights for 3rd world countries, we got to hear firsthand the social impact that we can make through philanthropy. We were even given the ability to see what type of impact we could have through the ISCC project in which we research and suggest in a formal report and project pitch, why a sustainable solution would be most beneficial to an area in need. Although we do not actually go through with the solution, it is still evident what type of impact we could have.

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