By: ESW/MOSS Students
As you might know, ESW/MOSS (Engineers for a Sustainable World / Mudders Organizing for Sustainability Solutions) serves as our campus chapter of the larger Engineers for a Sustainable World organization – and each year in April, we send students from our group to attend the national ESW conference. This year, five of us had the opportunity to attend the 2018 ESW National Conference, which was held at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta this year! This year’s conference was truly an insightful and exciting experience – and on top of that, our chapter was awarded the “Outstanding Chapter Award” for the second year in a row! We are thankful to the offices and departments who helped make this trip possible, which included the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, the President’s Office, the Department of Engineering, and the national Engineers for a Sustainable World organization.
We wanted to share reflections from each of the five of us who attended this year – including our main takeaways and what we enjoyed most about the experience:
Kayla Yamada (’19, Engineering)
I highly enjoyed my experience at the ESW National Conference. Some of my highlights included the keynote speech delivered by Stephanie Stuckey (Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Atlanta) and a workshop on hydroponics in New York City. I also really enjoyed meeting ESW students from other schools such as U.C. San Diego, Rose Hulman, and the University of Texas. Some chapters had over 200 students, and it was inspiring to see the projects they undertook this year – which ranged from building a bridge in Puerto Rico to developing different wind turbine shapes to installing solar lamps in a dark part of campus. Our chapter has been focusing more on outreach and student body-oriented events this year, so it changed my perspective to see the larger-scale projects that other students were leading. A great conclusion to the conference was when our chapter received the Outstanding Chapter Award to recognize our hard work during the year. After returning to the campus, some of the attendees volunteered for leadership positions in ESW/MOSS – and I’m sure this trend will continue. I wish we could have stayed longer (and eaten more southern fried catfish), but I am very grateful to our sponsors for making this experience possible.
Nam Tran (’21, Computer Science & Mathematics)
The ESW Conference gave me a fantastic experience that included networking with fellow chapters and the chance to take inspiration from some of their design presentations back to current sustainability projects. A number of schools – such as the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at Austin, U.C. San Diego, and U.C. Irvine – were interested in collaborating on international projects in the summer or in the near future. This would be a great opportunity for fostering Mudd’s collaborative attitude and perspective beyond the campus. One specific engineering project most of the other schools had that I was surprised Mudd did not have was a Solar Car Project. It has the potential to become a popular student program with the number of engineers at HMC and student interest in technical extra-curriculars, but the cost seemed a bit high when I surveyed some of the project leaders (roughly around $100,000 for the finished car). There were many other intriguing ideas – bacteria-based batteries, balanced sustainable-versus-profit company models, novel solar panel film photovoltaic designs – that I look forward to learning more about later in the future.
Shivam Malpani (’21, Computer Science)
Being a part of the ESW conference was a very valuable experience. The conference was inspiring and informative. We learned about the very cutting edge of technology and research that is being undertaken to address climate change and promote sustainable practices through lectures given by professionals and scholars in the field. We were inspired by budding engineers from around the country who are equally passionate about making a change in the world. Attending the conference has motivated me to step up and be a part of the sustainability revolution during my time here at Mudd.
Dillon Coville (’21, Engineering)
The 2018 ESW Conference in Atlanta, GA, was a very special opportunity. Not only was it a great chance to visit another region of the United States and experience a unique city and culture, but it was also great to have the ability to connect with other ESW students – which was very valuable. As a first-year student, I’ve had little exposure and experience taking such leaps outside of the Mudd bubble. And yet, seeing different groups’ projects, being able to work with them in a design challenge, and talking and connecting with them were both encouraging and will also serve to foster more ideas for ESW/MOSS on our campus. I am excited for next year to see how we will grow and expand, and I am grateful for the privilege of going to the conference.
Duncan Crowley (’18, Engineering)
At the conference, we all learned a great deal about the future possibilities for sustainability and student activism in both the academic and business worlds. Not only was I very pleased to learn from so many accomplished presenters, but it was also much more impactful to simply meet and talk with students around the country from institutions and engineering departments far different from that of Harvey Mudd who are making a huge impact with projects of their own designs. This was truly inspirational, and it made me think deeply about the “societal impact” clause of my degree and how people around the country are making sustainability a part of their careers. We had an especially good time with the students from U.C. San Diego, and we considered setting up an inter-college activity (possibly including a party!) for next year. During one of the speeches delivered by Bob Keefe (Executive Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs), we were inspired by his stories about how his southern kindness and experience as a journalist have helped him convince conservatives of the economic virtues of clean energy and green industry. At the time of the conference, he was extremely proud to announce the launching of a website called cleanjobscount.org, which tallies all of the clean energy jobs in the United States (3 million total) – demonstrating that these jobs are of much greater economic importance than fossil fuel jobs like those in coal mining.
We thank everyone for the support we’ve received all year, and we look forward to coming back next year with more ideas and inspiration to advance sustainability on campus and beyond!