As a technical institution, WPI is responsible for educating future scientists and engineers to become leaders in their workplaces and communities. This mandates instilling an inherent consideration of sustainable impacts to personal and professional decision-making. The environmental, social, and economic impact of technocratic decisions are the most important component to the success of sustainability in a society. In this sense, it is imperative to the success of society that WPI students embody and elevate the institution’s Mission, "to create, to discover, and to convey knowledge at the frontiers of academic inquiry for the betterment of society."
Issues of sustainability are an inherent part of WPI's unique curriculum. There are course work, projects, and research all over the university. Please take a look at the full list of Sustainability in the curriculum.
WPI Projects and Community Engagement
Community engagement is a critical part of our undergraduate education. Faculty and students have the opportunity to engage in community research projects through WPI's various project center experiences. A key goal of these project experiences is to promote "civic learning." The goals of civic learning are to provide a platform for students and faculty to engage in the democratic processes of a community, exploring the problems it faces, appreciating the richness of its diversity, learning about the time commitments and energy required to enhance community life, and, most of all, learning how to work collaboratively. These goals can be accomplished through "lending" a community our expertise. Critically, however, it involves developing a process of learning with a community about their issues and developing solutions that reflect community values and promote an inclusive society.
Through the Global Perspective Program, WPI students are exposed to sustainability at fourteen different communities around the world: Bangkok, Cape Town, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Namibia, Panama City, Puerto Rico, Stantec, Venice, Wellington, and Worcester. The program offers students a real-world opportunity to solve problems between technology and society. The President's IQP Awards highlights five outstanding projects annually, and in 2012 all five projects were sustainability related! A sample of environmental, social, and sustainable student projects have been compiled, though we encourage you to search through the Student Projects Database for a better look at sustainability projects.