W. Cully Hession 2016-08-24 03:59:35
“One of the major constraints I placed on the compost facility design was minimizing the use of fossil fuels for aerating the feedstock. I was interested in deliberate technological simplification and creative design to amplify human muscle power in making compost. I had my own ideas, which I shared, but the students came up with their own creative solutions that were quite different from my thinking. They let themselves be guided by my constraints without being constrained by my guidance. Very impressive.” - Rick Williams Founder, Lick Run Farm and Community Development Center The BSE Comprehensive Design Project is a two-semester, realworld team experience for seniors. In 2015-2016, we had 49 students in 14 teams developing designs across two focus areas: biomolecular engineering and watershed science and engineering⎯as well as food, bioprocessing, and health-related engineering. Ten design projects were developed with industry clients, three were related to faculty-derived ideas, and one was fully developed by the student team. The locations of the designs were local (on campus and in town), regional (the cities of Roanoke and Salem), eastern Virginia (Saluda), and international (Malawi). For the first time, we had two teams working on the same design problem and, given that we have 70 seniors in the 2016-2017 class, we will be moving toward having more teams developing alternative designs for the same client. Designs were developed for nonprofit groups (the Lick Run Farm and Community Development Center, Lick Run Watershed Association, and Impact+Amplify), for-profit groups or companies (Afri-Nut Ltd., Cardinal Mechatronics, Cell Free Bioinnovations, and Novozymes), government agencies (City of Roanoke, Virginia Department of Corrections, and Virginia Tech Dining Services), and a local apartment complex. Some of the best experiences were with very energetic nonprofits, particularly Lick Run Farm and Community Development Center and Impact+Amplify in Roanoke. These groups are led by high-energy individuals working to revitalize low-income neighborhoods and promote sustainable, healthy communities. As one student commented, “Working on a real project for a real client with a real need enhanced our sense of purpose as a team. The reward was far greater than the typical satisfaction felt from a completed test or assignment.” Similarly, another student stated that working with a nonprofit was “both challenging and rewarding” and felt their project “was contributing toward a higher cause.”
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