The notion of social responsibility is critical to the future of engineering. For this reason, we are developing a project aiming to educate the next generation of engineers on the importance of community.
Our goal is to partner university engineers with local charities in order to develop designs for the problems that the charities are facing. These charities would be assessed by a team at the host university in order to assess which ones would be best to receive university support. It will vary from city to city and therefore we cannot give a definitive charity right then and now. An example for Sheffield would be Crisis , a homeless charity. University engineers would work in teams for a week to develop a solution. This timescale is suitable for the complexity of the projects and to keep student engagement from dwindling. The winning teams of the universities will have the opportunity to present to the charity that could implement the solution. The assessment criteria includes: cost, sustainability and community involvement. These ideas are essential for creating responsible engineering solutions to local problems.
The timescale is based around implementing one project a year within the universities we’re working with. Initially we would focus on the University of Sheffield as this is where our team is based. This is shown as the first project on the chart. Following this, we intend to support the charity in implementing the final design. Alongside this we would move onto another two universities for the following year giving more opportunities, over the following years, for universities to join our team. As we get more experienced, the time to develop and find charities will decrease.
Having done a brief costing we would aim to gather volunteers from the university, however we would still need some paid employees for administrative purposes, hence the office and bill costs. We would aim to earn these expenses back through university support. This would benefit them by providing good publicity and an opportunity for positive development.
The prime focus is on younger engineers as they will shape the future of this industry, making it crucial to illustrate the importance of responsible engineering. Platforming students allows the future generation to gain experience solving real world problems. Furthermore, it gives them an ethical insight which can be taken forward in order to make them more globally responsible. There is often a disconnect between university students and their cities, hence we would aim to increase the levels of direct involvement between universities and local communities. This is a great way to bring communities together whilst also providing direct action to areas in need. This generates a mutual benefit for both communities and university students; giving a generation of engineers a renewed view on the importance of community making them more globally responsible.