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What is ESW?

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is an international 501c3 nonprofit network. ESW supports over 1,750 engineers & problem solvers who work to enact measurable, positive change in our communities. ESW has over 50 collegiate chapters across the US and Canada. ESW has completed over 300 chapter-led projects in 12 countries and 23 US states & Canadian provinces since its founding in 2002.


What is ESW's vision & mission?

We strive to empower students and professionals to tackle sustainability challenges. We work towards a sustainable world supported by a network of passionate engineers.

Our goals are as follows:

  • Design and implement hands-on sustainability projects across the globe.
  • Educate students and practicing engineers on sustainability best practices.
  • Unite those passionate about sustainability in a productive international network.


What kinds of projects does ESW pursue?

ESW will support any project that seeks to address one or more UNSDG targets. Our projects should be measurable, realistic, and timely. 

Some past projects include:

Check out more projects in our ESW project database here.


What are the benefits of joining ESW's network?

ESW Conferences
ESW hosts annual sustainability conferences. 

Build Day
Build Day unites neighborhoods for a day of action to literally build more sustainable communities.

Students can enroll in CommUnity for a 6-month project-based curriculum in community-based work.

Project Grants
We distribute project grants to our chapters to support ongoing initiatives.

Sustainability Network
Membership grants access to our growing global network of engineers & problem solvers. 


How can I become a member of ESW?

Click the "Join ESW" tab to learn more!


Do I have to be an engineer to join?

Nope! Anyone can join ESW regardless of background and level of experience. We believe that you do not have to be an engineer in order to engineer change. We welcome students and professionals of all backgrounds to join us in building a more sustainable world. Even if that doesn't sound like you, we have never barred anyone from membership. If you want to join, you are welcome to do so!


What's the difference between ESW and EWB?

EWB (Engineers without Borders) is another great organization with a mission very similar to our own. ESW tends to focus more on domestic education and technology at the collegiate level, while EWB tends to focus more on international volunteering and infrastructure at the professional level. ESW is led almost exclusively by students and recent graduates, so we tend to be much more independent, open to learning by doing, and open to pursuing totally new ideas and technologies. Recently, ESW has been tackling more international infrastructure projects, too. There's no shortage of work to be done, so we strongly encourage collaboration between organizations who share our values!


What are ESW's core values?


  • Pragmatic Optimism
    Our world is facing an existential climate emergency. It's easy to be discouraged in the face of impossible odds, but we still have reason for to be pragmatically optimistic. ESW represents the very qualities - dedication, passion, patience, skill, and knowledge - that is necessary to tackle the world's sustainability challenges. We will work to build a better future, and we have a lot of work to do. 

  • Three-Pillars Framework of Sustainability
    A sustainable world must have a healthy ecosystem, equitable society, and stable economy. All lasting solutions require a balance of all three.

  • Accessibility & Inclusion
    Our present sustainability challenges are among the most complex and diverse problems humanity has ever faced. If we stand a chance to solve them, we must listen to equally diverse experiences and perspectives. Diversity is critical to understanding the context needed to implement real solutions. 

  • International Collaboration
    No single individual or organization holds the key to all the world's problems, but we can make great progress by working together. We strongly encourage collaboration between external individuals and organizations who share our values.

  • Reinvent the Wheel in Moderation
    While design exercises can be a great learning opportunity, remember that the appropriate solution isn’t always new technology. The thoughtful implementation of existing technology is often more efficient than starting from square one. Education and results should be appropriately balanced.

  • Do the Right Thing Right
    We are ethical and diligent in our work. We develop data-driven solutions to real problems and invest the time and effort to provide quality results. We learn from both our failures and our successes to drive future improvements.

  • Get Your Hands Dirty!
    Engineering isn't all computer simulations and Excel spreadsheets (though those are important, too). ESW promotes the idea that hands-on is the best way to learn. Wire a solar panel. Organize a cleanup. Measure wind velocity. Plant a garden. You won't know if it works until you try!