Sustaining Sustainable Design through ‘Normalized Sustainability’ in a First-Year Engineering Course

Monica E. Cardella, Matthew W. Ohland, and Alice L. Pawley
School of Engineering Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907

Stephen R. Hoffman
Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907
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In the fall of 2007, Purdue University began integrating sustainable design topics into our Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving and Computer Tools course which our first-year engineering students complete prior to advancing to their specific engineering disciplinary programs. In the Spring of 2008 we began assigning a six-week design project related to Sustainable Design. The students work in teams of three-to-four students to consider their living spaces and how they might make those spaces more sustainable. In this paper, we present an overview of the educational activities, including the material that is presented to students and more details on the design project. Additionally, we present an analysis of some of the students’ final projects. We present three cases which represent different student responses. This work will contribute to what we as a design education community understand about first-year engineering students’ ability to engage with this material.


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