Engineering Students working on the Ecological Garden's new worm bin

Engaged Engineering in the Ecological Garden

Collaboration between engineering department and the Student Farm Ecological Garden was recently highlighted by UC Davis Public Scholarship & Engagement:

On a crisp fall day, the UC Davis Student Farm buzzed with energy as engineering students worked diligently under the bright sun. With shovels and paintbrushes in hand, they dug a trench, assembled wooden frames and brought their design to life.

Their project, a teaching-focused worm composter, was the culmination of an innovative course designed to reimagine civil engineering education. “As engineers, we possess a unique opportunity to connect with our communities, but engagement is often overlooked in undergraduate classes," said co-instructor Alyson Kim, a doctoral candidate in civil engineering working with Associate Professor Sabbie Miller. Kim hopes to cultivate engineers who are as proficient in public engagement and sustainability as they are in design and construction. “I wanted to provide a broader perspective,” she said.

The heart of Kim’s class (ECI 189C) is a collaborative project with a local partner. For the inaugural run, 10 students constructed a worm composter for the Student Farm. This challenge was steeped in the ethos of the course. "The worm bin is a conversation starter for a lot of the big ideas we’re thinking about these days — reducing food waste, addressing food justice, reducing our climate impact and carefully stewarding resources we use on farms, like nitrogen and phosphorus," said Julia Schreiber, ecological garden coordinator at the Student Farm...

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