SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN A CAPSTONE ENGINEERING DESIGN COURSE
1 University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UNITED STATES)
2 Kennesaw State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The Senior Design Program in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department endeavors to provide an opportunity for students to begin their transition from engineering student to practicing engineer. As with many similar capstone programs, this is accomplished by bringing in external project sponsors with real problems for their organizations that the students, functioning on small teams, address over the span of a full academic year. Most of the project sponsors are for-profit companies, with many of those being engineering companies of some sort. This has proven to be a particularly effective model over the past 15 years since its inception, and has proven very scalable as the program has grown over the years. Six years ago, in addition to the more typical project sponsorship, a “service-oriented” project option was included as an option for students so inclined. These projects tended to address problems faced by peoples in need in developing countries around the globe, ranging from an orphanage in Uganda in need of an irrigation solution to obviate irrigating their fields strictly using buckets carried by the orphans, to developing a method for mitigating cooking fire smoke accumulation in housing structures in northern India. These projects have provided many benefits to the students beyond those provided by the senior design program in general. The students, as an essential step in fully and appropriately characterizing the problem they are to address, learn much of the culture and way of life of the peoples they are endeavoring to benefit through their efforts. The problems don’t tend to be particularly technically challenging (chimneys and irrigation systems, for example, are commonplace), but coming to a solution that will be adopted by the target people, be a lasting solution, is economically viable, and effectively addresses the underlying problem is often a very significant feat, indeed. Coupled with the opportunity for the students to use their efforts to benefit people less fortunate than themselves, these projects have proven a very rewarding experience for all. The topic of this paper is a particular project that sought not only to address a real need, but to do so in a way that was economically sustainable, and even could provide local economic growth. Shelter is one of the fundamental human needs regardless of wealth or status in any society. In developing countries where resources are limited, providing shelter for poverty stricken communities that are already in dire need of basic amenities can be a daunting one. The project described in this paper focused on the design and development of a kit that could be delivered to a community that would allow the local people, with minimal training, to construct their own dwellings and community buildings. The kit was designed to utilize the rammed earth construction technique, thereby minimizing the need for constructions materials and maximizing the impact a single kit can have before consumables need to be replaced. The further intent is that locals so inclined would have an opportunity to use the kit as the basis for their own vocation, building for others in theirs and neighboring communities.
Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship, Capstone Design, Rammed Earth Contruction.