Engineering Sustainable Systems

Service Learning Opportunities

We applaud ESS students for their passion in 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.


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.

Sustainability Without Borders (SWB)

Sustainability Without Borders (SWB) 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.

Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives (M-HEAL)

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.

SEAS Master’s projects

SEAS 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 for Environment and Sustainability. SEAS master’s project groups work on projects with client organizations on environmental and development strategies and goals for communities worldwide, such as Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.

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

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