Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is proud to award Small Projects Grants to chapters tackling interesting, impactful projects on their campuses and in their communities. Since 2014, the program has funded 12 exciting efforts through ESW chapters nationally. Projects vary from hydroponics to waste collection systems, solar charging stations to chicken coops and gardens, but all are ideated, fundraised, and executed by our motivated and talented student and professional members. The Small Projects Grant program originated in 2014 through a gift from an ESW alumnus, Hendrik van Hemmen, and have been supported annually through alumni donations since. The program provides up to $500 per chapter for a project of their choice, awarded through a competitive proposal process.
2014 Small Project Grant Winners
Pennsylvania State University’s Apparatus X: Apparatus X is a self-contained living unit and design studio for mobile deployment in disaster relief areas. Apparatus X will be deployed in New Orleans, LA, as a focal point for community-informed design of new construction in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Purdue University’s Solar Smoothie Cart: Purdue’s solar smoothie cart is a student designed and built mobile unit for providing smoothies and other treats to the campus community using an entirely solar powered infrastructure. The cart will raise awareness of renewable energy on campus and provide an activity and revenue source for the chapter.
Georgia Tech’s India Waste Collection System: Working with communities and NGO’s in India, Georgia Tech has identified a solution for vertical stack composting of urban waste to be deployed in these areas. The grant will support Georgia Tech piloting their system at a university Greek house.
The Boston Professional Chapter’s Fenway Victory Garden Plot: This garden will provide the focal point for the young chapter’s activities, increase awareness of organic, local food production, and provide a source of revenue for the chapter. The grant will help provide seed money for garden supplies.
2015 Small Project Grant Winners
Smith College’s Solar Laptop Charging Station: ESW-Smith will be designing and installing a photovoltaic charging station at a table outside of the campus’s café. The charging station is expected to provide around $450 of energy savings each year.
Georgia Tech’s Greenhouse Hydroponic System: ESW-GT will be expanding their existing greenhouse hydroponics project by constructing additional systems in visible locations on campus. This project will bring awareness to this method for reducing water use in agriculture, while growing food that will be donated to a local food bank
Eastern Mennonite University’s Solar Chicken Coop Project: ESW-EMU will be taking their campus’s chicken coop off the grid with the installation of a photovoltaic system that will power a heat lamp to keep the coop’s 10 chickens warm overnight. This coop will serve as a small scale model for raising livestock animals with reduced use of fossil fuels.
2016 Small Project Grant Winners
Georgia Tech Solar Kiosk: Georgia Tech is building a solar kiosk funded by local sponsors and the University that can move around campus and the community to provide popcorn, smoothies, and coffee. However, there is currently a funding gap for a power inverter and insurance to operate the cart on the University. The grant funding will be used to complete the kiosk and allow the chapter to execute their business plan for selling snacks and drinks on campus to help raise money for the chapter and its other numerous sustainability efforts.
University of Pittsburgh Hydroponics: In 2014, the Pitt ESW chapter pioneered the FloGro indoor hydroponic system for a local food pantry to produce low-cost, fresh produce for the community. However, as they seek to grow food for more individuals through a local food bank, the chapter needs additional funding to maintain and improve the FloGro system. Funding from the Small Projects Grant program will be used to provide nutrients for the plants and test water quality so system improvements can be designed. In addition, more energy efficient lights will replace the existing lighting, thereby improving the sustainability of the overall system and enabling lower cost food production.
University of Rhode Island Vertical Gardens: The URI aims to promote vertical gardens for the food growing benefits and aesthetic value, and is proud to use the ESW Small Project Grant funding to demonstrate the ease of construction and viability of vertical farming techniques. They have already prototyped several vertical hydroponic and aquaponic systems, and the additional funding will help refine the design and demonstrate a vertical hydroponic food system. All produce grown will be donated to a local food pantry.
Illinois Institute of Technology Aquaponics: ESW’s IIT chapter has designed and piloted a hydroponics farm from the ground up over the past two years. With additional funding, they plan to improve and modify their design to an aquaponics system which will use less water, fewer chemical additives, and reduce maintenance while also adding fish to the list of food they can grow. The food will be donated to the campus food providers or local food banks as well.
Georgia Tech Natural Herbicides: Throughout the last year, Georgia Tech’s ESW chapter has cultivated a relationship with the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Community Garden Leadership program to encourage gardeners to use organic weed control methods and facilitate the success of local food production efforts. With the funding from ESW’s Small Projects Grant, they will expand this partnership and teach courses on organic weed control to underprivileged students in Atlanta as they learn about community gardening.