What is Engineers for a Sustainable World?

University of Rochester ESW Members outside the Genesee River

“Forge innovative, lasting solutions to local and global sustainability challenges.”

Engineers for a Sustainable World, or ESW, is a burgeoning organization known for sponsoring student run sustainable projects, educating people on sustainable policies and practices, and constructing a global network of sustainability focused communities.

ESW as a whole began at Cornell University in 2001. While originally called Engineers Without Frontiers USA, a dispute from the similarly titled Engineers Without Borders encouraged the change of name to Engineers for a Sustainable World. Following a change of leadership ESW’s headquarters moved to Merced, California where it remains a primarily student run organization. Most of the national board are college or university students, although the executive director and office manager are full time professionals. ESW also enlists an advisory board of academic and corporate faculty from across the United States.

At college campuses, ESW chapters conduct engineering projects focused on sustainability and other environmental issues. These projects can be within the University, in its vicinity, or international.  Currently there are ESW chapters are 28 colleges and universities in the United States.

Here at the University of Rochester, our chapter of ESW is exceptionally active. ESW ran the Biodiesel program where members collected waste vegetable oil from campus dining halls and converted it into biodiesel. UR Biodiesel has its own lab and offered corresponding course work. ESW conducts many events on campus including Terracycle, where bins were placed around the University and non recyclable items like cookie packages and candy wrappers were collected. Once gathered they were sent to the company Terracycle where they are turned into products like folders and backpacks. Outside the University, ESW plans to retrofit a house in the 19thWard in order to improve its energy efficiency. This project will educate students on efficient design and improve the property.


Right now, ESW is conducting a Bra Drive in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since bras are one of the top 10 non-recycled materials, ESW is collecting them through bins in the laundry rooms of Burton, Gale, Valentine, and Riverview Building A. The bras will then be recycled.

For more information about ESW, contact engineersforasustiainableworld@u.rochester.edu. Thanks for reading!


By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013

2 Replies to “What is Engineers for a Sustainable World?”

  1. I admire the initiative for the celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, have a good job to everybody of the ESW.

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