Great Problems Seminar (GPS)
This two-course introduction to university-level research and project work focuses on themes of current global importance. Everything you do will be tied to current events, societal problems, and human needs. GPS is all about important problems. The skills you’ll develop are exactly what you’ll need to be successful in your project work at WPI, and in your future career.
This program was one of three first year programs recently recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as a 'Real World Engineering Education Program'. A total of 95 programs were nominated, and only 29 received that designation. Find out more here.
2013 Great Problems Seminar Lecture
Conscious Capitalism and Sustainability at Whole Food Market
Speaker: Kathy Loftus '86 (Whole Foods Market)
Come hear Kathy speak about her groundbreaking efforts to make Whole Foods a model of flourishing business that creates shared value for stakeholders—from implementing green building practices to sourcing alternative energy, developing water and waste management programs, and educating consumers about environmentally-conscious shopping practices. Kathy will also share highlights from her own journey, including the experiences that inspired her as a student at WPI and her distinguished record championing energy efficiency and renewable resources at the local, state, and national levels.
September 4, 2013, 5pm AK 116. For video of lecture, click here.
- Learn about—and work to solve—the current paradoxes of our food situation: The malnutrition of too little and too much food; deprivation and obesity. What political, economic, biological and chemical solutions can be found?
- From the biology and management of infectious disease control to the research and regulation required to bring new drugs to market, learn to examine problems with local complexity and global scale.
- Explore the looming water crisis from social and ecological perspectives while examining topics such as water as a human right, pollution, ecosystem services, technological innovation, and global governance.
- While every generation and community have experienced energy crises, people have found ways to proceed—though their solutions have had positive and negative consequences. Learn about the history, policies, and current trends in energy technologies.
- Explore the complex ecological challenges faced in today’s world. Examine causes, trends, impacts, and solutions to land use changes, climate variability, loss of habitat and biodiversity, and other similar ecological problems from different perspectives.
- While focusing on the challenges for the 21st century such as population growth, climate change, energy, water and food, aging infrastructure and health care, learn how you can make a difference by recycling and reusing material resources.