While the term “sustainability” is often used to define efforts to improve the environment, there is a growing understanding of the need for sustainable development in numerous cultural and societal areas. This concept includes addressing acute social issues such as homelessness and the services available to this population.
Within the past several years, a group of RIT students came together to form a local chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World with the goal of promoting the social and environmental aspects of sustainability in the Rochester region and communities around the globe. One of the group’s central programs has been a partnership with Rochester’s St. Joseph’s homeless shelter. The group volunteers weekly at the shelter, assisting with their daily meal program, which serves more than 100, as well as cooking evening meals for the organization’s 12 residents. Students are also preparing an energy audit of the shelter’s facilities to reduce energy use and lower heating and electricity costs.
The group originally found out about the work of the shelter through Sarah Brownell, a graduate of RIT’s mechanical engineering program, who now works for the organization. They have also received assistance from faculty advisors Brian Thorn and Andres Carrano, who are helping to conduct the energy audit and providing ideas for additional energy efficiency and cost reduction opportunities.
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