Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science

First Advisor

John Scharf

Second Advisor

Mark Parker

Third Advisor

Gillian Glaes

Abstract

Sustainable solutions should be a goal for any long-term project, especially in the context of a developing community. Primary considerations in the evaluation of sustainability include the need, resources, and support. The precise needs that the project fulfills must be known and considered throughout the project’s design. Resources must not only be preserved through the project but should also work toward functioning alongside natural processes. The community must also support an undertaking; otherwise there will be a lack of commitment towards witnessing the success of the project. It is difficult to parameterize a developing community because there are so many variables involved with assessing a community’s level of development. Economic measures alone fail to sufficiently answer the question of whether the economic life of a community enhances the lives of people. Catholic social teaching calls for individuals to work towards justice and the common good while immersing oneself in the truth of God’s Word. With the projected population surge, especially in developing communities, engineers are going to be increasingly important in ensuring that all people obtain the resources and standard of living worthy of their dignity. The Engineers Without Borders Carroll College Student Chapter’s work in Mexico at Santa Maria has taught many lessons concerning sustainability and has demonstrated the importance of such factors as community need, resources, and support in the evaluation of overall sustainability. The sustainability of additional projects such as adjustable eyeglasses and compressed earth block construction can then be evaluated using this sustainability criteria.

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