What We Do

Our mission is to educate engineers to serve communities by collaboratively identifying problems and providing solutions that are just, socially responsible, and sustainable.

Why collaborate with communities? Our students learn to define and propose solutions jointly with the communities that they serve. Too often, interactionsbetween engineers and communities rest under the assumption that engineers have all the knowledge, skills, and resources to solve problems for communities, which lack all of these. Such a perspective often gets in the way of effective solutions. Among other things, HE graduates understand and value the perspectives of affected communities, and then jointly propose and develop solutions with them.

What are just solutions? Just solutions contribute to more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources to enhance human capabilities while reducing risks and harms in a given community. HE graduates cultivate engineering practices, designs, artifacts, or systems that lead to just solutions to pressing challenges.

What are socially responsible solutions? The rapid rise of corporate social responsibility points to the importance companies place on good relationships with the communities affected by their operations. Socially responsible solutions enhance the wellbeing of communities and the environment while maintaining an organization’s profitability.

What are sustainable solutions? In the context of humanitarian engineering, we focus on local sustainable solutions that preserve or enhance communities’economic diversity, political self-determination, and local ecosystems. Among other things, HE graduates co-develop with communities strategies for using energy effectively, conserving limited resources, and protecting biodiversity.

Learn about one of our big initiatives: the collaborative, interdisciplinary joint project called Responsible Mining, Resilient Communities. This project is being completed as part of the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant intiative.