Engineering and sustainability efforts at Tech

Club president Sofia Isaac leads a presentation at a general body meeting. ESW-GT aims to increase sustainablity in engineering. // Photo by Kunal Sahoo Student Publications

While engineering is at the forefront of many new revolutionary technologies, many question what role sustainability will play amidst such rapid development.Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is an international nonprofit network of students and professionals, “united by their shared passion for technical sustainability. [The ESW members] believe that young engineers & scientists are critical to solving the biggest sustainability challenges of today and tomorrow,” according to their website. 

Since the organization’s founding in 2002, ESW has over 50 collegiate chapters across both the United States and Canada and has completed over 300 chapter-led projects in 12 countries. ESW will support any project that seeks to address one or more of United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals. The organization has a new chapter on Tech’s campus whose spring semester is now in full swing. 

The Engineers for a Sustainable World GT (ESW-GT) chapter had their first general body meeting this past Thursday, Feb. 8. Club president, Sofia Isaac, fourth-year CHBE, spoke with the Technique about the organization’s goals.

“The club is focused on building a community around sustainability on campus. Apart from the general body meetings, we have different sustainable led projects like hydroponics where we grow plants without soil here in the green house. It’s pretty straightforward, just focusing on sustainability and trying to make the campus more sustainable or even individual practices,” Isaac said. 

To achieve their goal, Isaac explained the club works on “promoting different sustainable projects on campus.” She continued, speaking on collaborations ESW-GT has done at the Institute.

“There is a division within GT that also focuses on sustainability. We have done some collaborations in the past to get more people interested in the sustainability field as well as get different networking opportunities with different companies related to sustainability,” Isaac said.

Isaac also spoke about the international nature of ESW-GT and its impacts beyond the Institute’s campus, explaining, “this is just an ESW-GT chapter here at Tech. They have chapters all around the country and in a lot of universities as well. This is just an ESW-GT chapter here at Tech.”

Although some may perceive the organization as exclusive to engineers because of its name, Isaac explained that the only requirement for membership is a passion for the earth and climate and a desire to build a more sustainable world. In addition to this information being present on their website, Issac affirmed its truth at the Tech chapter.

“It’s just the name, it’s not major specific. It’s just called Engineers for a Sustainable World because the projects we do are a little more focused on engineering, like hydroponics. We also have a solar panels project in the works, but again literally anybody can join if they want,” Isaac said.

Although this was just their first meeting, ESW-GT has big plans, which Isaac outlined.

“We are hoping to expand our projects a little more. For instance, with our hydroponics project we are hoping to get a little bit better of a harvest. Additionally, we also hope to collaborate with different organizations and media on campus, to continue developing and carrying out projects,” Isaac said.

Another important component of the national and Tech chapter of the organization is professional networking, as Isaac explained, “We hope to connect with different companies to provide opportunities for people to meet but also possibly internship or job opportunities.”

For Jackets just getting into sustainability, the club also hopes to “provide opportunities for people to find out more about sustainability and change their personal practices as well,” according to Isaac. For those wanting to find out more about the club, Isaac recommended following the club on Instagram (@gt.ESW) for more information. 

“It is super fun to meet like-minded people and participate on projects. It’s also super good on your resume if you’re interested in that as well. It’s just fun to be able to interact with people who share the same beliefs as you,” Isaac said concluding the interview.