Engineering Sustainable Systems

Service Learning Project Examples

Welcome ESW students,

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site.

We applaud ESW students for their passion for helping to meet basic human needs around the world. We have many opportunities available for you to continue your work on development projects at the University of Michigan. Below are some key examples.

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BLUElab at the University of Michigan is a student-run organization that works toward sustainable solutions to development problems at home and abroad. Toward our goal, BLUElab coordinates project teams that develop environmentally, culturally, and economically sustainable technologies. BLUElab also organizes educational events to raise awareness of development issues and the critical role engineers play in tackling these technical problems in a socially responsible way. BLUElab’s diverse membership consists of over one hundred undergraduate and graduate students spanning all College of Engineering departments, as well as students studying disciplines outside of engineering.

The video below features some of BLUElab’s student and projects.


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Sustainability Without Borders is an interdisciplinary student organization that focuses on research, design and implementation of sustainability projects in rural areas. Presently we work in Liberia, West Africa where last year we started implementation of exciting projects like a polyculture rice-fish pond, a rain water harvesting system, a flushing toilette that feeds a biodigester and an electricity producing playground. Our implementation trip last year included 5 UM students, 6 Engineering students from Clemson Unviersity Engineers Without Borders and 4 students from University of Liberia where a new chapter of SWB is about to be born.

Watch the video to learn more about this work in Liberia.


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Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives, or M-HEAL, is a student group at the University of Michigan that was founded in the fall of 2006. It was founded by a group of biomedical engineering students who recognized that while extracurricular engineering project teams existed on campus, none were specific to the field of biomedical engineering. They identified global health as a discipline that would enable them to do biomedical engineering design while also helping those in underserved populations. The initial goal of M-HEAL was to apply the knowledge of engineering students to work in global health, but our mission has grown to include a multi-disciplinary effort to develop sustainable solutions.

The video below is a business pitch from M-HEAL students for CentriCycle, an M-HEAL design project.

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SNRE Master’s projects are interdisciplinary problem-solving experiences conducted by groups of Master’s degree students as the capstone of their academic programs at the School of Natural Resources and Environment. In the past, several student SNRE master’s project groups have worked on projects with client organizations on environmental and development strategies and goals for developing regions such as Laikipia, Kenya.

The video below provides a general overview of the SNRE master’s project experience.


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If you are interested in finding out more about the Engineering Sustainable Systems dual degree program, we encourage you to learn about the available specializations and read about current students in the program.

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