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Academics

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As a technical institution, WPI is responsible for educating future scientists and engineers to become leaders in their workplaces and communities. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) uses the following definitions to recognize sustainability in the curriculum:

  • Sustainability-Focused courses place a strong emphasis on questions of sustainability connected to many or all aspects of the course curriculum.
  • Sustainability-Related courses incorporate smaller aspects into the course work or simply focus on one sustainability principle.

WPI submits sustainability course data to be evaluated by the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating Survey (STARS), which is used each year by the Princeton Review Green Colleges survey and Sierra Club Cool Schools survey. A listing of the sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses can be found at the following link:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LOe4N9BL-EqnpYXiUsSf8WSxU2XiD6Y5/view?usp=sharing.

Sustainability is integrated into every aspect of our lives. Whether you are designing a more wind resistant airplane foil, creating a flexible prosthetic for an amputee patient, or analyzing grey water applications, you will need to know about sustainable materials and practices. Not only will the preservation of better livelihoods play a part in your workplace, but it will be an important part of your life.

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Sustainability Engineering Minor

The Sustainability Engineering minor offers a better understanding of how your work will affect the world around you.This minor is for both engineering and non-engineering majors, and focuses on sustainability, humanities, engineering, business, and social science courses. Focus topics include clean energy, green buildings/architecture, and sustainability in the developing world.

For more information, click here or contact Paul Mathisen at mathisen@wpi.edu.

Projects

13th Annual Sustainability Project Competition

The 13th Annual Sustainability Project Competition, an event held to showcase students’ projects related to research in one or more of the three aspects of sustainability (the environment, social justice, or economy), is a virtual competition this year because of COVID. !  These included 1 first-year projects, 18 undergraduate projects, and 9 graduate student projects. 

The projects can be viewed at the site for the 13th Annual Sustainability Project Competition

 

Last year's projects are still available as well. These can be viewed at the following site: 12th Annual Sustainability Project Competition

 

Research

Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Since 2017, the Office of Sustainability has conducted two surveys each year in the fall and in the spring to gage how well students understand sustainability. The results show that the majority of respondents have general knowledge about sustainability. Respondents demonstrated good understanding of how individual actions affect climate change, from eating a diet with a lot of meat, to using a cellphone charger, and to shopping online. There have been no major changes in the data between year to year. The results can be viewed here