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Engineers for Community Service (ECOS)
Engineers for Community Service (ECOS) is a student organization that works with communities to develop/apply technology to promote social justice. It is a College-wide student organization engaged in "humanitarian engineering." See "Current Projects" below.
Get Involved! ECOS sends regular emails concerning all projects, including information on how to join each project team. To learn more about a specific project, please visit the project's webpage under Current Projects on the menu above and join the groupme if you are interested. We also hold meetings throughout the semester where both prospective and current members can meet ECOS leaders, discuss current volunteer opportunities, and propose new project ideas.
New Online Project!
Dr. Howard Greene has worked with Columbus Alternative High School to set up an online tutoring program that ECOS is involved with. Dr. Greene is giving an information session on that project Wed 3/2/22, at 2:30pm (in person in Rm 405 Dreese Labs, and simultaneously on Zoom):
If you are interested in this project, you can email Dr Greene (greene.8), the ECOS President, Dorothy Nie (see header).
The primary subject area is in Algebra I, but Geometry and Biology are also being considered.
You can register here (as ECOS person): https://airtable.com/shreCV7nzMMIqJjn7
Grant Application, Ford Foundation:
1. Please fill in the information for the project and contacts.
College/University: The Ohio State University
Project Name: Columbus Community Gardens
Student Project Lead Name: Dorothy Nie
Student Org. (if applicable): Engineers for Community Service
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty Project Lead Name: Kevin Passino
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Contact Email: email@example.com
The Main Grant Contact is the fiduciary at the college or university.
Main Grant Contact Name:
Main Grant Contact Email:
Main Grant Contact Phone:
3. Please identify how you found out about the Ford College Community Challenge (max. 1,200 characters):
We discovered the Ford College Community Challenge in an email sent by the Ohio State University. It matched perfectly with our Columbus Community Gardens project that we had been considering as a potential new endeavor.
4. Introduction and Project Summary (max. 1,500 characters):
Over one tenth of United States households experienced food insecurity at some point in 2019. In 2020, these numbers more than doubled due to the COVID-19 crisis. For poor, underserved, and minoritized communities, these problems were made even worse by existing food security issues. This demonstrates a massive failure on the part of our society to help those who are in need, and we intend to help fix it. A 2018 study by the Ohio State University found that one third of households in the nearby neighborhoods self-reported food insecurity, and yet there are over 400 empty parcels of land being held by the Columbus Land Bank that could be used to grow food for the surrounding communities. Most of these neglected parcels are in the same underserved areas that report such high rates of food insecurity, so where better to start fighting back against this societal issue?
We plan to build these community gardens with a focus on providing healthy and accessible food to those in the area who need it. However, we also intend to encourage community involvement in the upkeep and development of these gardens in order to foster a sense of self-dependency and achievement. Beyond providing access to food, this project will also add decorative flora and amenities that will create areas of beauty and relaxation.
5. Which theme area(s) does your project address (more than one can be selected):
6. Describe how this project meets each of the following Ford College Community Challenge criteria
(please refer to the RFP for more details):
a. How is the project meeting an urgent and unmet community need in a tangible way
(max. 800 characters):
Food, despite being a basic human need, is not treated as a basic human right. It’s in communities that are already underserved and neglected that this issue comes to a head, where households are forced to choose between being fed and paying bills. For many households, the food they are able to afford is far from fresh and even further from nutritionally balanced. By enabling access to healthy, fresh, varied produce, our gardens will at least lessen this burden, if not eliminate it completely. More than this, however, these gardens will become beacons of community pride and collaboration. The power in that feeling is immeasurable, and we hope that it will also inspire others to help their own communities.
b. Describe the identifiable/measurable outcome. (For example, the project’s direct effect will allow 300 people access to low-cost, healthy food choices) (max. 800 characters):
Each garden we construct will vary in output depending on factors such as layout, sun exposure, and available space, but we expect to harvest at least 500 pounds of produce from each of them each year. This will be provided at no cost or obligation, collectively saving the community in excess of $1000.
c. The project must involve students in a leadership role. What leadership roles will students take on throughout the duration of the project? (max. 800 characters):
Our service organization is entirely student-led, and this project will be no exception. Every step of this process, students will be deciding how these gardens are planned, constructed, and maintained. We will be taking recommendations and opinions from the communities that these gardens will serve, but the final decisions will lie solely in the students at the helm. Each leadership position will govern a different aspect of the garden process, from crop selection to post-harvest clean up.
d. Which community-based organization are you partnering with? What is their role? (max. 800 characters):
We will be partnering with Columbus City Schools to establish and maintain these gardens. Their insight into the communities of Columbus will allow us to select optimal locations, and their schools will give us an efficient means of supplying fresh food to some of the families who may need it most. The gardens will also function as excellent sources of community engagement for their students as well. This may take many forms such as volunteer hours tending the gardens or instructional field trips.
7. Briefly describe how the university will communicate and/or publicize the project. (e.g. press release, web, local television, print, video, social media, etc.) (max. 500 characters):
Given the in-person nature of a physical project, we will be ensuring the safety of those who work in these gardens. Volunteers assisting in construction and heavy labor will be required to wear attire and protective equipment suitable for outdoor labor (close-toed shoes, gloves, safety glasses if necessary, appropriate clothing, etc.). Any person participating in regular gardening activity will also be required to wear gloves and close-toed shoes. Gloves will be made available. During the summer months, care will also be taken to prevent dehydration and sun overexposure. Face masks will be required according to state and/or University policy.
Village in the Ville is a grassroots, member-driven organization for adults 50 and up. This program of Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center is part of the Village Movement that began 15 years ago. Village in the Ville's boundaries extend north to Lincoln Avenue, east to the railroad tracks, south to 11th Avenue, and west to the Olentangy River. Through Village in the Ville, neighbors make new friendships, try new activities, and stay involved in the community. (https://www.clintonvillecrc.org/village-in-the-ville/)
Students taking on this project will give a quick presentation on a technology topic then have an attendee help session for the remainder of the time.
Meeting Time and Location
Meetings approximately once per month for 1.5 hours each. Contact herz.9 for exact dates. Rides are available as is COTA access.
3222 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43202
**Due to COVID, all meetings will be held virtually for the Autumn 2020 semester.
Join our groupme!
This project started in the 2018-2019 academic year and continues to provide technology support.
We help local service organizations create and improve their online presence mainly through web development. In the past we have helped Central Community House in the rebuild of their website, providing a sleek, modern design. The new design can be seen in the link below.
Meeting times and locations are flexible and project dependent.
** Due to COVID, all meetings will be held virtually for the Autumn 2020 semester.
Contact the project leaders for questions and meeting times, or join the groupme!
Jacob Smith.12380, Tia Renko.4
Westminster-Thurber Community is a retirement home off of Neil Avenue, about 5-10 minutes from campus. Each semester ECOS holds weekly "office hours" sessions to address technical questions the residents may have.
These can include questions on printing, creating documents in the Microsoft Office Suite, setting up email and social network accounts, and configuring mobile devices among other topics.
ECOS has received highly positive feedback from the residents, particularly because students teach the residents to address similar problems on their own in the future.
Meeting Time / Location
** Due to COVID, all meetings will be held virtually for the Autumn 2020 semester
Contact the project leaders or join the groupme for more information:
Alec Schnabel.24, Aswin Krishnan.127
The Westminster Computer Classes project started in fall 2007. Initially, in the 2007-2008 school year, the ECOS impact was pretty small. Our work in the classes consisted of a TA-like role. Westminster residents would teach the class and two ECOS volunteers would walk around and help the students when they had trouble. The residents enjoyed having us around, as we gave a slightly different perspective on the class material. At the end of the 10-week program, Westminster asked ECOS to step in and teach the classes. Starting in Fall 2008, ECOS had the responsibility of revising the teaching manual and teaching the classes for the 10-week program. Thanks to a handful of volunteers, the first three years were a great success. We look forward to improving the project, and expanding the classes throughout the city.
Gladden is a settlement house about 10 minutes south of campus featuring after school programs for underpriviledged kids. Students work with 4th and 5th graders to build drones. No prior knowledge needed! You can make a difference in the lives of many kids.
Meeting Time and Location
Meetings will resume in the spring semester. Contact a project leader for more information on meeting times and project schedules.
Carpool available from the Ohio Union to Gladden Community House (183 Hawkes Ave, Columbus, OH 43223)
**Due to COVID, the Gladden Community House project will not be meeting until spring semester (2021).
Contact the project leaders or join the project GroupMe!
Talia Naylor.100, Sara Derge.5
The ECOS wheelchair ramp project gives students a chance to utilize their engineering skills and knowhow in a unique, practical, community service endeavor to help improve the mobility, freedom and overall quality of life for their Columbus neighbors.
Since 2006, ECOS students have built custom wheelchair ramps for disabled people around the Columbus metropolitan community who require specialized access to their homes. The students consult with social workers at the OSU Wexner Medical Center as well as with local churches and nonprofit organizations to identify residents who require a ramp but who cannot afford to have one built and who have no other place to turn for assistance. They then visit with the resident and assess the location and needs and, finally, design and build a customized ramp or lift system for the resident’s home that will meet his/her requirements for improved mobility and freedom.
Meeting Time and Location
** Due to COVID, the Wheelchair Ramp will be delayed until further notice. We are looking to start working with Habitat for Humanity until it can resume.
Contact our project leaders or join the groupme!
Alex Bajzer.3, Jake Ballantyne.59
Facts and Figures
The ramps are built to Columbus City building code standards.
It usually takes about six weeks to build each ramp.
On average, each ramp costs about $1,200 in building materials.
As of 2015, ECOS has made an in-kind investment of over $18,500 in the community in this mission.
To learn more about the Wheelchair Ramps project, please view the project syllabus.
As of the Fall 2014, ECOS has built 16 wheelchair ramps for residents in the Columbus area.
Over the past nine years, more than 130 students have volunteeredtheir time to build at least one ramp; many ECOS students have worked on more than one ramp during their college career.
On average, each of these students has volunteered over 40 hours in this community service activity.
(Thanks to Roger Dzwonczyk for contributing to the above information)
To contact ECOS about having a custom wheel chair ramp built for your home, please contact ECOSosu@gmail.com.
The high cost of lumber can prevent ECOS from beginning construction on these ramps.
If you or your organization would like to make a contribution please contact ECOSosu@gmail.com.
The wheelchair ramp was for a man who lost the use of his left side. His only manner of getting in and out of his house was to be lifted by someone. After the ramp was built, he was very pleased to have additional mobility, as he can now use his electric wheelchair to enter and exit his home. Roger Dzwonczyk (Adviser), Son Ngo (Vice President of Local Projects), and Jimmy Hynes (Project Leader) were integral to the success of the project.
ECOS completed its third wheelchair ramp in February 2008 for a Columbus City resident who suffered a stroke. The ramp incorporated two turns and an intermediate landing to preserve the property’s pristine front yard. The total cost for the project was $1,700, which was funded by an OSU Source grant. A unique thing about this ramp is that it was built in the dead of winter when weather conditions were not what we would call “ideal”! Various stages of the building process include:
- Plotting out the general course of the ramp and taking appropriate measurements to ensure best use of the land, as well as convenient access for the user of the ramp to the driveway
- Creating a 2-D sketch of the ramp in CAD
- Digging holes using this sketch that are approximately 32” deep and 12” in diameter, and digging a hole for the concrete pad with which the ramp will connect
- Mixing and pouring concrete for each of the holes and the pad
- Construction of the platforms of the wheelchair ramp, one as an intermediate resting spot, and the other adjacent to the doorway
- Construction of the inclined sections connecting the two platforms to each other, and the intermediate platform to the concrete pad
- Adding “finishing touches,” such as balustrades, toe rails and hand rails
- Taking pictures throughout the process for a visual record of progress
The ramp was completed on March 1, 2008, after 8 separate trips out to site. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out: Design Jamie Hilovsky Building Crew
ECOS took their skills to a second wheelchair ramps for a women who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Due to the situations which ECOS encountered in their previous wheelchair project, we were better able to understand the time and financial commitment to the project and came out on time and under budget.
ECOS designed and built a wheelchair ramp at the home of a handicapped Columbus woman so that she can now safely and independently gain entry and exit to her home. A crew of OSU engineering students and professors came together to construct the ramp over a period of three weekends during spring quarter of 2006.
Past Local Projects
Use of the Internet is a privilege often taken for granted, but there are many families in America who don’t have access to the Internet. Access would greatly help them learn more about important topics such as money, health, education, jobs, child care and much more. Information like this can be accessed at websites like the Beehive (www.thebeehive.org). Low income families are especially in need of information of this variety, in order to better understand the factors that help them succeed in a technological and capitalist society. Rey Ramsey, CEO of One Economy: “Getting low-income Americans online is critically important to their economic well-being. Once online, they are more likely than upper-income Americans to use it to find a better job, get quality child care or help their children succeed in school. AT&T’s commitment to helping 50,000 families is extraordinary.”
With this in mind, AT&T, One Economy and Habitat for Humanity have come together to provide technology to 50,000 low-income families. Up to 10,000 of these families will reside in houses built by Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers have been recruited to help teach family members the basics of computers and the Internet. An Americorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) with Habitat for Humanity Greater Columbus, Lindsay Miller, requested ECOS’ help with a phase of this project. 5 computers were scheduled to be installed in homes on March 1, but there was substantial work to be done on these computers before they were ready to be used by their new owners. The process included:
- Installing additional memory
- Installing Office, Beehive, Spybot and Adobe Flash
- Registering Windows XP and Office
- Downloading Windows updates
- Removing some undesired programs
Emily Lui and Brandon Miller helped prepare these computers on February 22, 2008. Currently there are no more opportunities in this respect, but once new ones are made available, ECOS members will be notified. Please email us if you have questions about this project. Lastly, Habitat Columbus has often lent ECOS tools to help build two wheelchair ramps, so it was good to be able to return the favor, in a way. For more information on the AccessAll Initiative, check out this fact sheet: http://www.att.com/Common/files/pdf/accessall_gap.pdf
In 2011, ECOS began a partnership with AID (Association for India's Development) to develop interactive projects for after-school programs for children. One of these projects involves developing mobile educational apps. The goal of these apps is to provide children with easy to use, fun, and interactive programs that teaches Math and English concepts.
These are the apps we ended up working on:
- Zooming Number Line
- Factor Rows
- Prime Factor Trees
- Fraction Cutter
If you have experience with Android or iOS programming, we need you! If you don't have any experience, you are welcome too! We will learn the necessary skills together as we progress through the development stage. By the end, you will have helped create a mobile app that positively impacts students and their educational experience.
Ask A Buckeye is a homework hotline for middle and high school students seeking help in math and science. All volunteers are engineering students at Ohio State with strong backgrounds in math and science courses.
Hours of Operation: TBA
Please note that Ask A Buckeye only operates when Ohio State is in session (late August through April)
How to Contact Us
We welcome calls from students from any school, and we hope to expand the project to all of Ohio.
Homework Help Subject Areas
Subjects with which our volunteers help include (but are not limited to):
- Physical Science
- Earth Sciences
- General Math
We cannot guarantee that we will know the answer to every problem, but we will do our best to work with each student caller to figure out a solution to each question.
To better help our student callers, we have a number of textbooks from area schools. Ask A Buckeye has helped students from the following schools:
- East High School
- Columbus Downtown High School
- Columbus Africentric Early College
- Marion Franklin High School
- South High School
- Buckeye Middle School
- Columbus School for Girls
- Columbus Alternative High School
About the Project
The group first constructed and tested a prototype of a giant Block O-shaped vent cap. Although it looked neat, the first model did not last long. The ECOS team decided to refocus ots efforts by performing a failure analysis on the prototype, with the goal of designing a new prototype to be installed later in the academic year.
Currently, the Steam Vents Redesign project is retired.
ECOS has partnered with the Gladden Community Center in a unique project designed to spark young students' interest in engineering. During Saturdays of Spring Semester 2015, ECOS will travel to Gladden Community Center to help middle and high school aged kids design, build, and eventually race downhill derby cars.
We still have spots available on the team! If you'd like to be a part of this fun experience, contact the project leaders listed above for more information.
Eastminster Child's Play and Learning Center
About the Project
Eastminster Child’s Play & Learning Center (ECPLC) assists families with the development and child care of children from the ages of six weeks to five years. This non-profit center in Bexley, Ohio was built in 1954 and still holds many of the original units and features of the building. These outdated elements are not able to withstand the extreme weather conditions in the winter and summer months. If the classrooms cannot maintain a specified temperature range, the center must shut down. As a result, five families have stopped sending their toddlers and infants to Eastminster. ECOS is working to improve various aspects of the child care center through small-scale-volunteer projects, as described below.
Opportunities for Industry Involvement
After evaluating several different improvements for Eastminster (described in detail below), such as reflective roofing, dropped-ceiling, and blanket-wrapped insulation, ECOS has come to the realization that we cannot complete this project alone. We are turning to local Columbus engineers for feedback, suggestions, and general input.
In order to continue this project, ECOS is currently searching for grants and seeking the generous help of local companies.
If you or your organization would like to make a contribution, please contact us at EcosOsu@gmail.com.
There are many sources of energy loss throughout the building. As much as ECOS wants to help Eastminster renovate the entire center, we must realistically take small steps towards improving the environmental conditions and tackle one of these sources of energy loss at a time.
Since 2006, Eastminster and ECOS have been working together to find sustainable, energy efficient, and cost effective methods.. We originally looked into building a trellis or a louvered awning along the south wall. During the summer of 2009, ECOS completed calculations to prove that a trellis or awning would greatly improve their overheating issues. However, ECOS has established that the plants for a trellis would be difficult for the center to maintain. Also, by shading the south wall of windows, this does not necessarily improve the lack of sufficient heat in the winter months. Therefore, we have shifted our focus to the roof and insulation. We have found that improving the roof and/or insulation, we can better prepare Eastminster for extreme temperatures. Our hope is to slowly develop this project one classroom at a time, minimizing construction time as much as possible.
The roof consists of corrugated metal with a thin layer of asphalt on top. Many of the rooms have little to no insulation; however, we are not planning to replace the entire roof. Rather, we want to add safe, effective insulation.
In the past, Eastminster has had to combat overheating by placing a hose on the roof to lower the temperature.
There are two boilers located in the basement: Weil McLain (“newer one”) and American Standard (original with the building – 1954). Both are heated by gas and serviced before each winter season. Our goal is to replace these outdated boilers, as they could fail at any given time.
Air Conditioning Units & Heaters
Most of the rooms use window air conditioners, and almost all have been removed for this winter season. However, there is one particular window A/C unit that has been has been built into the wall using cracked wooden boards. The poor construction is causing another source of heat loss in the Toddler room. Although they have not installed this, Eastminster has another readily available air condition unit with the following specifications:
- Each unit = 18,000 BTU
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) = 10.0 BTU/W*h
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) = 9.6
The radiators that lay below the windows are separated from the outside by a thin sheet of metal. Some of the radiators are not transferring any heat. Therefore, Eastminster has recently placed two new heaters into two of the classrooms on the first floor, which is most prone to lack of heat. This has shown to help so far to warm the rooms; however, Eastminster has not yet experienced additional extreme cold to validate this observation.
All the windows on the first floor are single pane and are causing much of the energy loss. During the summer of 2008, Eastminster and ECOS placed the Gila Platinum Heat Control Window Film along the south wall of windows to help reflect the sunlight and heat.
Playground door and windows are equipped with weather-stripping Windows have been re-caulked recently Vent filters for the wall units have not been cleaned for approximately 2 years.
We need your help developing engineering senior design projects for adoption into the OSU College of Engineering curriculum. These projects could address technical aspects of social, political or economic needs in Columbus, the U.S. or developing nations. Some of these projects will be taken on by interdisciplinary teams of OSU students in engineering, science, business, international studies, foreign language – you name it. Students of all major areas are invited to participate in this process; we need perspectives of students in social sciences as much as perspectives of engineering students. These projects will be considered by the newly formed Engineering Education Innovations Center (EEIC) for inclusion in a new multi-disciplinary engineering capstone sequence. Please see the attached letter below to ECOS from Dr. Gustafson, Director of the EEIC.
To begin this effort, ECOS and the Engineering Education Innovations Center (EEIC) sponsored a kick-off brainstorming session Thursday, February 5th, 2009. We still need help brainstorming more potential project ideas. If you have any ideas (any problem anywhere in the world that could use a new technological solution), please email them to us.
Engineering Explorer Post offers high school students the opportunity to experience engineering through hands-on activities. ECOS members act as mentors during these "labs" which are held once or twice per month. Past activities at Ohio State include: welding lab, ice cream making, marble roller coaster, and the annual Holiday Party. They are always held on Tuesday evenings for about two hours and include a free pizza dinner for volunteers and participants. The Columbus post is run jointly by Ohio State and Burgess & Niple.
For more information, visit their blog at:
The Environmental Collaboration team is currently working with a local business that operates multiple restaurants in the Columbus area. The business wants to retrofit old shipping containers into portable urban farms for their own use and to sell to other businesses. The plan is to outfit containers with hydroponic systems in order to grow crops for sale as well as for immediate use in their restaurants. The containers will be able to run on various fuel sources including used vegetable oil, solar panels, and traditional generators and electrical power.
This project involves working on various design challenges related to the containers and their operation. Additionally, we are planning our time to help the business owners meet their goal of having a container built in the next three months, and having containers ready for buyers in six months.
To learn more about the Environmental Collaboration project, contact the project leaders (listed above) and view the project syllabus.
The Evironmental Collaboration project started under a different name - the Rain Garden project. Last year (2014), ECOS collaborated with The Crest Gastropub, a local restaurant. The Crest uses local food sources, and grows many of the fruits and vegetables for their menu items on site. Much of the furniture and decorations are recycled/reused materials. The owner's goal is to spur conversation on sustainability and the environment through how his restaurant is operated.
As a part of its goal to increase awareness of sustainability, the Crest wanted to install a rain garden on their property and contacted ECOS because to assist them in the design and construction of the garden.
With significant assistance from The Crest, FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershead), and other local volunteers, ECOS successfully installed a rain garden at The Crest on June 14, 2014.
Meeting Time and Location
Monday’s at 5:30pm in Dreese 317 and Thursday’s at 8pm in Dreese 357
What is the app?
- Visual based coding platform for a tablet
- A coding language for limited use of hands with profiles that can be set up for speech to text integration
- The language will be tap-based coding that will put together blocks of code controlled by super simple commands
- Built in Swift for Digital Flagship iPad use
ECOS is partnering with the Columbus Green Building Forum (CGBF) to do research on, and eventually help design and build, a LEED house. LEED is part of a major new effort to promote sustainable development around the world. There are three designations for a LEED house, varying with the amount of compliance with LEED regulations – silver, gold and platinum. Only one platinum LEED house has been built in the country (in California), and CGBF’s last project merited the ranking of gold. Eventually, we would like for professional engineers and architects in the industry to partner with us in this project. Part of ECOS’s role in this project is doing research on various aspects of green building. Our contact, Meera Parthasarathy, has given us several topics to research. They are:
- Radiant Heating Panels
- Tankless Water Heaters
- Solar Thermal Heating Systems
- Geothermal Systems
- Passive Solar Design
These topics each have their own section under the LEED Research thread on ECOS’s website forum. Three of these topics have already been researched somewhat by ECOS members: passive solar, geothermal systems and tankless water heaters. Check out the forum to get a feel for those three areas, and then check out Resources (on the left side of the page) => Sustainable Development for the articles the volunteers compiled with more in-depth information. If research piques your interest, pick out a topic that you want to learn more about and see what you can find in the libraries on campus, or through search engines like Google. You can post any questions or interesting findings on the forum. Meera has also given us a charrette summary of the project – Alex will be uploading this online shortly. For more information, you can also visit CGBF’s website at http://www.cgbf.org/
A few years ago, a handful of ECOS members traveled to Guatemala to build and design bicimáquinas – bicycle machines. These can be used to do just about anything that employs mechanical energy – washing clothes, grinding coffee, making smoothies, etc. But the technology is not limited to Central America. There are opportunities to use pedal power technology in Columbus as well! There are three ‘types’ of bicimáquina that have prototyped, but this project affords a great degree of latitude for the creative student.
Goals and purpose:
- Design, build and potentially mass produce three types of bicimaquina:
- an electrical generator
- a kitchen-suited machine with fittings such as a blender, egg beater, etc.
- a washing machine
- Promote sustainable technologies
- Pedal-powered generators were used to power displays at Earth Day 2009 events
- Display some of these machines in use on spring days in the oval
- Work with the RPAC to purchase bici-generators that serve as workout equipment and also power iPods or other personal devices
- Empower students and other members of the campus and Columbus community
- Offer off-campus students pedal-powered washing machines for use in their homes
- Offer all community members, especially those with low-income, alternative technologies
- A welder (we own a stick welder, can access more welders)
- Expertise in design and creation of bicimáquinas
- Plenty of donated steel bicycle frames
- Space to work in the welding engineering department
- Support from students with experience (including teaching how to weld and designing machines)
- Support from machine design faculty in Mechanical Engineering
Volunteers needed as:
- Project leaders
- Lead the design and build of a specific pedal-powered machine
- Organizing a design team
- Documenting progress
- Meeting deadlines
- Lead the design and build of a specific pedal-powered machine
- Team members
- Design and create these new machines
Each team will have 3-6 people working together on a different pedal-powered machine. All majors are invited, but those pursuing degrees in engineering, art, architecture or industrial design may have the best fit with this project. Project leaders will have substantial responsibilities above and beyond that of a volunteer.
Tech4Community (previously the Community Technology Clinic) is an organization for local engineers and engineering/IT students to meet impoverished and homeless people so as to build relationships, come to understand technology needs, and work together to solve technological problems. Tech4Community also provides "outreach services" to the support systems for the poor and homeless, including to food pantries such as the Worthington Food Pantry.
For more information, see: Tech4Community
Wonders of Our World (WOW), is a science education outreach program that takes the excitement of science to elementary schools. WOW creates hands-on learning opportunities for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students, helps teachers implement inquiry-based science lessons, donates the equipment and supplies that make classroom scientific explorations possible, and connects scientists and science student volunteers with the schools that need them most. Volunteering for the WOW program is fun and easy; transportation and supplies are provided, scheduling is flexible, and only 3-4 hours a month are needed. Take a few minutes to explore the WOW web site to learn more and if you are interested in volunteering, please contact the program coordinator for more information about upcoming volunteer meetings on campus.
For more information on WOW and how to volunteer: Wonders of Our World
Shantanu Bhardwaj.35 and Sam Farren.19
Meeting Times and Location
Thursdays, 1:00 PM in the basement of the 18th Ave. Library
This team will be creating a mobile app in collaboration with Worthington Resource Pantry so that community members can better utilize the resources at Worthington Resource Pantry.
To learn more about the Worthington Resource Pantry project (and perhaps contribute your time, talents, or your own resources to its mission), visit the pantry's website.
Past International Projects
In December 2008, a handful of engineering students from ECOS, as well as a rural sociology PhD student, traveled to Guatemala to work with Asociación Maya Pedal to build and design bicimáquinas (bicycle machines). These can be used to do just about anything that employs mechanical energy: washing clothes, grinding coffee, making smoothies, generating electricity, etc. Our team designed a new generator machine (using our linkage design knowledge gained from ME 553) and helped build a bici-bomba (pedal-powered water pump).
For more information see:
Meeting Time / Location
Mondays at 6pm, Location TBD
Contact Jen for more details.
Jen Schlegel.56 and Tia Renko
The ECOS Bike Design Project is focused on providing specially-designed bikes to children with disabilities. Each semester, students will design a bike to meet the specific needs of an individual. Students will then build the bike, gaining experience with welding the frame and completing the full assembly.
Donated biked are collected so that as many parts as possible may be reused; remaining parts and raw materials will be purchased from local partners.
In the past, students designed a bike for an 11-year old girl paralyzed from the waist down. This bike required a hand-crank system and 3 wheels, along with seating and sizing that can adjust as she grows. The bike was built for rugged terrain and weather.
ECOS organized and conducted a service project for Casa de Maria y El Niño orphanage in Medellin, Colombia, in July 2004. The objective of the project was to provide computer education for the children. This is useful to enhance the education that they receive in a public school, it is an interesting diversion, and it can motivate them to later choose a career in technology or enhance their skills in working in other areas. The project involved acquiring, transporting, and setting up four computers at Casa de Maria. We also trained the children how to use educational and fun software.
For more information:
Choluteca, a city in southern Honduras, is home to over 150,000 Hondurans. In 2005, ECOS launched an engineering service-learning program with Ohio State alumni Larry and Angie Overholt. The service-learning program in Choluteca was designed to introduce and teach students the concepts of humanitarian engineering and to drive students to use resources, knowledge, and skills learned throughout their education in a practical, real-world experience.
The service-learning program with Choluteca is a constantly evolving project from year to year as students build upon past projects and information while creating new innovative solutions. Some past projects include:
- Building an aquaponics system that produces both fish and vegetables for the community
- Implement two solar-powered systems in conjunction with the aquaponics system
- Test two alternative electrical power systems (wind generator and bicycle powered battery charger)
- Analyzing and developing housing structure improvements and cost-effective housing alternatives
The service-learning program consists of two parts. The first is a three credit-hour class taught during Spring Semester where students will study and research various issues and solutions relative to their project. The second part consists of a study abroad trip during May.
For more information about the service-learning program in Choluteca, visit the OIA Study Abroad webpage for Choluteca.
Alex Wohlgemuth, a senior in mechanical engineering, has been conducting research under the guidance of his faculty advisor, Sandip Mazumder, and a local mechanical engineer, Dale Andreatta. Dr. Andreatta works with developing world cook stoves and similar projects in his spare time, and saw the benefits of modeling certain scenarios in a multi-physics solver program such as CFD.
Creating more efficient cookstoves has numerous benefits for those in developing nations. Less wood is required, meaning the local ecosystem benefits, and less smoke is produced, which benefits the health of those cooking. Furthermore, more efficient stoves mean shorter cooking times, so those in charge of cooking now have more time for other activities, such as spending time with their family or other personal endeavors. With this in mind, the following is a fairly extensive overview of the research process.
The first step in conducting research involves creating a 2-D (or 3-D if necessary) model of the object of interest in a program called CFD-GEOM. Grids of varying size (more lines and smaller spaces create a denser mesh, and higher accuracy) are used to fill the areas where interactions of interest take place. In GEOM, the user can identify areas as regions where material can enter or exit the problem. Other areas are designated as walls – real-life boundaries to the problem (such as the bottom or side of a stove). Once this model is complete, the program CFD-ACE is used to set up the conditions of the problem in question. For instance, at the inlet, a substance designated ‘cook stove gas’ was modeled with properties identical to air. For a particular scenario, it was given specific conditions such as temperature and velocity (e.g., 773 K, 1.18 m/s). Once all the conditions of the problem have been specified, the problem is submitted to the solver. These results are displayed in CFD-VIEW, where a great deal of data can be recorded and analyzed. Continuing this example, one can determine the temperature and velocity profile of the gas as it enters the region of interest, comes into contact with the bottom of the cook stove, and, due to natural convection, continues along the side of the pot.
Furthermore, one can determine the heat flux transferred to the bottom and sides of the pot – this was the focus of the initial testing. Dr. Andreatta also proposed the possibility of having two concentric rings of air entering beneath the pot – one at a significantly higher temperature than the other (both rings had proportionate velocity values). Conditions were calculated so that in both scenarios – that in which the air entered at two different temperature and velocity values, and that in which the air entered at one temperature and velocity – the energy required was the same. However, the flux to the bottom of the pot was greater when the air entered at varying temperature and velocity values.
Other scenarios have been investigated, mainly variations on the addition of a skirt to the pot. The theory behind a skirt is that it improves heat transfer to the pot in two ways: by increasing convective transfer (transfer from a fluid to a solid) by pushing the gas closer to the pot, and by increasing radiative transfer by absorbing heat from the gas, which in turn creates a temperature differential which promotes radiative flux from the skirt to the pot. Numerous tests were run taking into account various factors. The first two, turbulence and absorption coefficient, were intended to make the computational model as similar as possible to the real-world situation. The last factor, the skirt, was the main focus of the testing. Here is an overview of the factors investigated:
Turbulence of the flow
(no turbulence – flow is in layers, or varying degrees of turbulent intensity, representing internal mixing of the fluid, leading to variations in velocity of the fluid)
The flow was modeled with no turbulence, as well as with intensities of 2.5%, 5%, 10%, 20% and 30%. Differing values in turbulence didn’t affect the power input of the system, but did affect where that power went. Greater turbulence meant that more convective heat transfer occurred on the bottom of the pot. A turbulent intensity of 10% appeared to match real-world tests most closely. Again, a base case of laminar flow was run to provide a comparison. Turbulent flow almost always increased heat transfer over laminar flow.
Absorption coefficient of the gas
(a property of the gas that represents the sootiness of the flame and the extent to which it participates in radiative transfer)
The gas was given several different values of absorption coefficient – initially, 0, 1, and 5, and later, values of 3 and 4. A value of 0 corresponds to a non-participating medium, and the remaining values represent different volume fractions of soot in the gas. A gas with an AC of 5 is considered very sooty, and the most radiative transfer occurred in this case. A value of 3 was found to match the real-world tests the closest. Tests were also run ignoring any radiative effects as a way of checking the accuracy of the model.
Distance between the skirt and the pot
(too far away, and the gas is not pressed closer to the pot, nor is there any significant radiative gain; too close, and the skirt obstructs the flow, and convective transfer lost offsets any gain by radiative transfer)
A perfectly insulated skirt, about 2.5 mm thick, was placed at several distances from the pot – 25, 15, 10, 7 and 5 mm. 10 mm ended up being the ideal case, where the flow was restricted enough to ensure maximum convective transfer, as well as providing significant radiative gain. These were all matched against the case without a skirt to provide a gauge of improvement over this base case.
Recently, the skirt was re-modeled as steel, instead of perfectly insulated, to again better match the base case. Since steel has a very high thermal conductivity, meaning energy is easily transferred through it, there was significantly less radiative transfer coming from the skirt to the pot. In an insulated case, no energy can get through, so it is forced to reflect back to the pot. Furthermore, the mesh was modified to allow the skirt to be moved up and down – in the mesh, this meant breaking it up into half-inch tall segments, which could be treated as fluid or a skirt, depending on the objectives of the tests at hand. An insulated skirt increases heat transfer by about 50%, whereas the steel skirt increases it by 25%. A next step is to investigate the benefit gained by adding a highly insulated material, such as glass wool, on the outside of the skirt.
Dale Andreatta recently presented these results at an ETHOS conference in Washington State. He made a powerpoint with this data, which can be downloaded on this page soon.
Betty Lise Anderson.67
About the Project
This is a multi-university collaborative project with the goal of building a complete set of low-cost educational laboratory experiments for higher education in engineering and low-cost STEM projects for younger students (e.g., middle school and high school). Attention is focused on the development of experiments that illustrate key theoretical ideas, are useful pedagogically, and yet are inexpensive to construct and maintain. There is also a focus on developing on-line instruction for the experiments.
We currently have good progress in the area of electrical engineering experiments, but many challenges remain for it and other areas of engineering. We have travelled to universities outside the U.S. (e.g. Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador) to promote the project and get other universities involved.
This project's essential focus in on helping developing universities and schools; it provides a great opportunity to fully utilize your engineering skills, no matter which engineering discipline you are in, and help disadvantaged communities and the developing world.
A project trip is planned for Colombia, South America, May 2017.
For more information, visit the iSTEM web site
Montaña de Luz is an orphanage in Honduras that is home to many children affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2005, ECOS began working with the orphanage as an academic service-learning program that provided students a glimpse of the world of humanitarian engineering and an opportunity to apply knowledge, resources, and skills learned throughout their education to a real world, service-learning experience.
The service-learning program consists of two parts. The first is a three credit-hour class taught during Spring Semester where students will study and research various issues and solutions relative to their project. The second part consists of a three credit-hour study abroad trip to MdL during Spring Break. Students will be driven to study and analyze the impact of sustainable technology and the impact their solutions and analysis could have at MdL.
Past projects at MdL include:
- Constructing a tilapia pond for a food source and potential business venture for the orphanage
- Repair and restructure a biodigester that provides an efficient composting method and methane to be used for fuel
- Improve the infrastructure of the orphanages computer lab to provide a better environment for learning
- Improve the orphanage's drinking water purification system
- Analyze and replace different areas of the orphanage's water distribution system
For more information about the service-learning program in Choluteca, visit the OIA Study Abroad webpage for Montaña de Luz.
To access reports from previous projects, please visit: http://ecos4mdl.pbworks.com
For 46 years, Project HOPE has worked to make better health care available to people around the globe. Since its founding in 1958, HOPE has trained more than two million health professionals and made medical services available to millions of the world’s poorest people. HOPE’s long-term health education programs combined with humanitarian assistance initiatives promote goodwill while fighting disease and alleviating suffering.
Over 5,000 health care professionals and volunteer educators have worked for HOPE. Project HOPE now provides approximately $100 million worth of resources to between 20-30 countries on five continents each year. A major component of Project HOPE's work involves bring medical technology to the healthcare systems of developing and war-torn countries. This engineering aspect of HOPE was created and developed by Professor Herman Weed, The Ohio State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who was for many years the director of the University's Biomedical Engineering Center.
He established clinical engineering departments in hospitals in countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America. With help from many volunteer engineers in the US, he developed the training programs, and provided equipment and organizational skills so that these departments could develop into self-sustaining technical resources for the hospitals.
Professor Weed has since retired after decades of service to Project HOPE, but this technical work of HOPE is carried on today by engineers such as Roger Dzwonczyk, OSU clinical associate professor and member of the participating faculty of the Biomedical Engineering Center. He has traveled to many HOPE sites throughout the world to train clinical engineers and medical staff members in medical technology, conduct infrastructural and medical equipment assessments of existing facilities that have been decimated by wars, natural disasters or neglect, and solve specific technical problems as well as help plan new healthcare facilities.
For more information on Project Hope and how to volunteer: Project Hope
|Benjamin Banneker Award||Ohio State Civic Engagement Banquet|
|Student Group Award for Excellence in Community Service||Outreach and Engagement Recognition Awards|
|Outstanding Community or University Service||OSU College of Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture|
|Honorable Mention: Spirit of Engineering||OSU College of Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture|
|2012||Spirit of Ohio State Award||OSU Office of Student Affairs|
|2008||Best Web Site Award||OSU Office of Student Affairs|
|Excellence in Community Service Award||OSU Service Learning Initiative|
|2007||Spirit of Ohio State Award||OSU Office of Student Affairs|
|2005||Spirit of Ohio State Award||OSU Office of Student Affairs|
Westminster Computer Classes
"[I] feel very fortunate to have had the services of these volunteers this past fall semester...I...found them to be very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic about their studies and future.
[The students] visited my apartment several times to help me with my computer problems and with my understanding in the use of my computer.They seemed very knowledgeable and were quick to identify problems and correct them...
They introduced me to many helpful things previously unknown to me about my computer, and to applications that were new to me. They helped me get better virus protection. They helped me to a better understanding of Facebook...
At all times [they] were very good about explaining to me what they were doing and teaching me all that was new to me. [They] were clear and precise in their teaching.
The Maggie McHugh Award of Excellence is presented annually to a member of Engineers for Community Service (ECOS) who has made significant contributions to ECOS during their involvement in the club. This award is named for Maggie McHugh, who helped develop the international projects section of ECOS during her time at The Ohio State University.
Nebras Alnemer: 2016 Maggie McHugh Award Recipient
Nebras majored in Computer Science Engineering at the Ohio State University. He joined ECOS in Spring 2014. During his time in ECOS, Nebras served as a project team leader for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry Project and the Westminster Project as well as VP of Local Projects.
"Nebras has always been one to go above and beyond in the sense that his heart is truly with ECOS. For example, at his time at Westminster, he would stay late, go help during winter and spring breaks in order to ensure the residents won't go unhelped. He has also opened my eyes to what can, and will be a great future for the ECOS organization."
"Nebras showed unwaivering effort and willingness to go above and beyond his duties, both as a project leader and as Vice President."
"Nebras made his ECOS projects and community service a priority. No matter how busy he was with school and work, he dedicated time each week to improving the club and the community. Residents and volunteers at Westminster knew that he truly cared."
Maggie McHugh: 2015 Maggie McHugh Award Recipient
Maggie majored in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Business Entrepreneurship at the Ohio State University. She joined ECOS in Fall 2012.
During her time in ECOS, Maggie served as the leader of the Recycling Off Campus Awareness partnership with the Environmental Engineering Society as well as VP of International Projects.
"Maggie dedicated her time and talent to creating international engineering service experiences where students can go to learn and grow for years to come."
Follow our Instagram for meeting and project updates: @ohiostateecos
Congratulations to our 2020-2021 Officers!
President - Alex Bajzer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Internal Vice President & Social Chair - Nick Krammer.email@example.com
External Vice President - Jake Ballantyne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer - Lauren Quintero.email@example.com
Webmaster - Tia Renko.firstname.lastname@example.org
|Vice President of Internal Affairs||Nick Krammer.5|
|Vice President of Public Affairs||Jake Ballantyne.59|
|Treasurer / Fundraising||Lauren Quintero.31|
|Social Chair||Nick Krammer.5|
Local Project Leaders
|Gladden Community House||
|Local Website Rebuild||Jacob Smith.12380|
|VV Technology Help Sessions||Max Hertz.9|
|Westminster Technology Help||
The following organizations have provided ECOS with financial donations which we have used to fund both our local and international projects.
If you or your organization would like to make a contribution, please contact ecososu [at] gmail.com.
We are sponsored by Studypool, the largest online tutoring platform. Studypool is an online marketplace that connects students with questions with tutors who can answer them. Using Studypool gives you access to thousands of verified tutors to help you with any question at any time. Studypool has helped over 1.4 million students and has close to 45,000 tutors. Their mission is to use technology to help students learn more efficiently.
Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs
For over 50 years, Battelle has donated money to The Ohio State University to assist in various research and group based organizations.
For more information: Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs
Comprised of representatives from each of the student organizations within the College of Engineering, Engineers' Council was created in order to establish more recognition for the College of Engineering, develop closer relationships among engineering students, and to allow students the opportunity to promote engineering disciplines. (http://ec.osu.edu/)
For more information: Engineers' Council
Honda Partnership Programs with OSU
“The Honda Partnership Program is an unparalleled, bilateral collaboration between The Ohio State University and Honda of America Manufacturing that supports initiatives in education, research and public service to positively impact diverse global audiences of students, faculty, public and private sector practitioners as well as the transportation industry.”
For more information: Honda Partnership Programs with OSU
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
The Society of Women Engineers is a professional organization at OSU that promotes the development of women in the fields of science and engineering at the collegiate and professional levels.
For more information: Society of Women Engineers
The Ohio State University College of Engineering
For more information: The Ohio State University College of Engineering
The Ohio State University Office of Student Affairs
The Office of Student Affairs is responsible for many aspects of student life outside of the classroom, ranging from services such as housing, student wellness, organizations and leadership development, as well as recreation and intramural sports.
For more information: The Ohio State University Office of Student Affairs
The ECOS constitution is available in several formats.
Engineers for Community Service
244 Hitchcock Hall
2070 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH 43210-1226