Developing Local Engineering Solutions in India
In partnership with mobility partner Authentica, 14 students from various engineering disciplines traveled to Maharashtra in India as a part of the Humanitarian Engineering major this past December. This global engineering fieldwork trip is a core component of the major requiring students to undertake work in either a developing country or indigenous community. The unit of study, led by Dr. Jacqueline Thomas and Dr. Aaron Opdyke, gave students first hand exposure working in cross-cultural contexts. The fieldwork trip allowed students to collaborate with organisations on five social responsibility projects within the city of Pune, the second largest city in the west-central Indian state. Three groups worked on projects associated with Gathagram, a proposed township to be built in Pune by construction and design property development company Orange Country Group. One group investigated strategies to enhance the sustainability of the proposed township, while another researched how best to safeguard the precinct against natural hazards. The third were tasked with assessing the practicality of making Garthagram’s hospital a carbon neutral standalone building by evaluating the building’s power management and generation, waste management and water management infrastructures. A separate group partnered with SWaCH, a wholly-owned workers’ cooperative that advocate for better working conditions of waste pickers, to review design requirements for sorting sheds across the city. They analysed problems faced by waste pickers in sorting sheds, including facility layout, water and sanitation, and human factors. Another collected data on behalf of Saraplast as part of an ongoing ‘Uber for Waste Management’ research project intended to identify potential customers for septic tank services using a mobile app.