Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference


This paper describes the second half of a first-year course designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from engineering, humanities, social science, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Our course, “Humanitarian Engineering Past & Present,” begins with a nineteenth-century sewerage problem before turning to currentday problems of sanitation. Having studied in depth the challenges of providing acceptable sanitation to an ethnically, economically, and topographically diverse community in a nineteenth century industrial city, long before sanitation was considered a basic human right, students form teams to identify and propose a solution to a sanitation problem in some particular part of the contemporary world.

This paper discusses our classroom activities and the learning outcomes they produce, primarily around the ethically infused subject of sanitation, why it is a basic human right included in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and why engineering students should be curious about how people live in parts of the world where sanitation has not yet been secured for all people. Our project aims to understand how students are motivated first to care about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and then to develop the expertise to be able to help meet these goals.

ASEE 2017: Paper ID #19764

Conference Title

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference 2017