UVA in Lithuania: Sustainable Engineering Design Challenges
UVA in Lithuania: Sustainable Engineering Design Challenges offers students of all majors and backgrounds the opportunity to work on real-world requests for sustainability interventions in two UNESCO World Heritage cities in Northern Europe and Central Europe. Students will spend 3 weeks in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Prague, Czech Republic.
Students will spend 2 and a half weeks in Vilnius, Lithuania working alongside engineering students at the elite Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) campus. City officials, VGTU faculty, and business representatives will share their expertise with us as we work on projects for the city related to waste governance and recycling, smart interventions in mobility, green public spaces, and renewable energy and efficiency. The experience ends with four days in Prague, where we compare the two cities' experiences merging old and new through guided tours and opportunities to freely explore the city.
The primary teaching tool for this program will be a practicum focusing on an actual problem experienced by an industry client or city agency. Understanding sustainability requires engagement across multiple disciplines. Our focus is on developing skills for investigating the combined social, technical, historical, cultural, and political aspects of enacting sustainability in practice. These skills will be targeted at real world challenges that require dynamic systems thinking coupled to client focused design strategies.
Faculty will supervise student progress, offer their expertise in guided workshops, and help students and their teams to overcome any obstacles they might face. Site visits to various industries, labs and other facilities in Vilnius and Prague will enrich our understanding of the complex context and culture of these cities.
Students will take Sustainable Engineering Design Challenges (STS 2500; 3 credits). This course places top US and international engineering undergraduates in an intense, high-pressure environment; stirs in challenging design problems and resources; and sees what kind of results they come up with. Students are expected to think outside the box, and apply critical thinking and design skills to real-world problems.