Abstract–As part of a curriculum redesign for AY2009-10, university faculty and administration created a new course –Freshman Year Seminar– which is required of all incoming first year students. A service learning component is included as a part of the course. For FYS students in the College of Engineering, their freshman year seminar course includes the engineering design and construction of a service project which serves a community need and also takes advantage of their particular skill set. For AY2017-18, the faculty team broadened the idea of community to include the global community in response to a joint United Nations/Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Humanitarian Technology Challenge Sustainable Development Goal for food security. The goal of this year’s project was to produce a working model of a solar-powered food dehydrator which, theoretically, could be used to combat hunger in communities far removed from our local one. In principle, a dehydrator can extend the shelf life of food by preserving them for consumption at a later time, thereby addressing one aspect of the availability and accessibility of food. The feasibility of the idea was demonstrated in the current designs, while future iterations will stress the global aspect by restricting the designs to include only parts and components easily accessible in the local environment. Finally, using an end-of-semester survey we found that not only were engineering students enthusiastic about working as a member of a multidisciplinary team (69% of respondents agreed that participating on a multidisciplinary team was beneficial to their educational experience), but they also indicated a willingness to contribute their time and (future) money in support of social issues like global hunger.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.