Sustainability is a key area that is addressed at Stevens in academic programs and research. It is a multidisciplinary domain of critical importance to our futures, one that we strive to enhance our efforts and their impact. These initiatives strongly align with our Strategic Plan 2012-2022, The Future. Ours to Create.
Stevens embraces sustainability in the functioning of our campus. This provides opportunities for analysis and testing, and for innovation that can engage our students in a very direct way to make a difference. Similarly, through our close relationship with our hometown, the City of Hoboken, our students and researchers are able to work on sustainability projects of value to the community and on related efforts in resilience.
Sustainability in Undergraduate Academics
There are many sustainability-related courses offered at Stevens that undergraduate students can take, either as part of their major program of study as electives, or with focus through our Green Engineering minor program, or even as credit towards a graduate program if they have upper-class status and meet the academic requirements.
- Sustainability Major Environmental Engineering
- Provides a broad-based engineering education that prepares students with the technical and social fundamentals that will enable them to have an impact in the improvement of interactions between humans and their environment including the air, water or the earth
- A six-course program (at least two courses of which cannot be used towards the major) available to any engineering student
- Provides a holistic, systems perspective to the impact of human activity on the environment and the role of engineering in providing solutions
- The goal of this program is to educate students in the concepts of sustainable development and industrial ecology while providing insight into sustainability tools and metrics such as life cycle analysis and ecological footprint
- Shows how engineering decisions, particularly with regard to design, can support sustainability goals
- Develop an awareness of ethical, economic, social and political dimensions that influence sustainability
- Core courses include: Sustainable Engineering, Sustainable Energy, and a contextual course in Environmental Policy: Economic & Philosophical Issues
Sustainability in Graduate Academics
Stevens offers several options in sustainability in through graduate programs and certificates.
- Sustainable Engineering Graduate Certificate
- A five-course interdisciplinary program consisting of a core foundation course in Sustainable Engineering, two technical electives that can be chosen to provide a focus area, a systems engineering elective and a policy elective
- Open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any engineering field
- Can be taken online (with limited elective options) for those who cannot physically attend the course on campus or as a full-time student
- Certificate in Sustainable Energy Systems – Mechanical Engineering
- For students who meet entry requirements for the graduate program in mechanical engineering a four-course certificate is available that can be applied towards a master’s degree.
- Comprises two core courses in Thermal Systems Design and Sustainable Energy plus two electives
- Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering
- The environmental engineering graduate program is divided into three areas of concentration: environmental processes, groundwater and soil pollution control, and inland and coastal environmental hydrodynamics.
- Master of Science in Sustainability Management
- The sustainability management graduate program provides the analytical and professional skills that sustainability enthusiasts in a variety of technical and non-technical fields need to evolve into sustainability professionals.
- Curriculum covers environmental management and society, business and management, and assessment methods and evaluation tools. Students work with data from real-world sustainability projects in collaboration with industry mentors.
Engineering Senior Design Projects
- These are a two-semester capstone activity taken in the senior year of engineering programs. Students work in teams, often multidisciplinary, to tackle a significant and challenging real-world problem while applying the knowledge that they have gained through their undergraduate engineering studies. All projects require a sustainability impact assessment to be included even if the project is not directly addressing a sustainability goal.
- Many projects do have a direct sustainability goal, such as in the Energy domain.
- An exceptional, major, multi-disciplinary project that a large number of Stevens students have engaged with in recent years is the Solar Decathlon sponsored by the US Department of Energy. This international competition is to design, build and exhibit a net-zero energy use, solar-powered house. This is a two-year project and Stevens has entered this competition three times, with our 2015 entry winning first place overall and winning an unprecedented seven of the ten competitions that make up the Decathlon. That entry, the Sure House was designed to be not only sustainable but also resilient to extreme weather and flooding events as a prototype for the housing of the future in coastal communities where much of the world’s population reside.
There are many research projects led by Stevens faculty that address sustainability topics. Some examples include:
- The Light & Life Laboratory led by Prof. Knut Stamnes in the Department of Physics & Engineering Physics uses light as a diagnostic and predictive tool for studying our environment. Their projects include remote sensing from space of the health of the oceans.
- In the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Profs. Simon Podkolzin and Henry Du have conducted research on gold and silver catalytic nanoparticles for green chemistry and sustainability. Profs. Podkolzin and Lawal have been investigating microalgae as a potential non-food biomass fuel source. Prof Besser studies microchemical systems for alternate energy production
- In the Department of Civil, Environmental & Ocean Engineering, Prof. David Vaccari studies the conservation of phosphorus, an essential resource for fertilizers needed to feed the world’s expanding population but in critically short supply. Dr. Xiaoguang Meng has developed techniques to readily detect arsenic in drinking water, a major source of natural contamination in developing countries risking the health of 140 million people and he also developed techniques to cheaply remedy such contamination. Prof Elizabeth Fassman-Beck researches green infrastructure technologies such as living (green) roofs, bioretention, permeable pavement, and floating treatment wetlands.
- In the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Profs. Yong Shi and Frank Fisher research active nanostructures and microstructures, with examples of application to energy scavenging and harvesting from vibrations