Playground Design Project

Over 20 students from the CAECM Department’s Professional Construction Society and Habitat for Humanity student organizations collaborated to organize a playground design competition for Cross Trainers Academy, a K-12 school affiliated with the Milwaukee Rescue Mission in 2018. Five interdisciplinary teams completed a needs assessment for the school and provided the organization several design options for a playground.

Milwaukee Empty Bowls - Bowl Making Event

Since 2013, this partnership has provided MSOE students with opportunities to apply the knowledge they acquire through their academic studies to serve the community and develop the MSOE Mindset on various projects. For example, one student created a new website for the non-profit organization as part of her practicum experience, another student created an educational video as part of her practicum. In 2018 MSOE sponsored a bowl making party for 15 students to help them take a break from studying before final exams. The bowls that they created where donated to the fundraiser that was held at the Kern Center.

Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania

A group of civil engineering students traveled to Tanzania in 2017 as part of a senior project focused on a dam construction feasibility study. The project was initiated by Constantine Moshi, an international student with a special connection to Tanzania – it’s the place he calls home. In addition to surveying, student teams evaluated soil and rock; gathered rain and river gauge information; and researched local construction practices, including materials, costs, and cultural aspects that would be considerations in the final design. During the spring semester, MSOE students split into two design teams of four students, with two student-consultants who worked with both teams. The teams independently developed three dam alternatives chosen from the winter quarter. Throughout the process MSOE teams were in regular communication with USDM students, who conducted the labs and soil tests.

MLK Day of Service at MSOE

To commemorate the servant leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., MSOE students participate in a dedicated day of service annually with student organizations getting involved. Past service activities include school supply drives for the students at the Milwaukee Math and Science Academy. Students have also crafted appreciation cards for those serving our country. Inspirational notes were written for women who are battling breast cancer. Hundreds of sandwiches and snack packs were made to give to the local shelters across the Milwaukee Area. This annual event started in 2015 as an extension of the Office of Servant-Leadership at MSOE. Since then, it has become an institutional tradition.

Primary School Build Project, Guatemala

MSOE’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders demonstrated their commitment to MSOE Mindset Development on a trip to Chitom, Joyabaj in Guatemala to build a new primary school as well as a septic system. Seven MSOE students and a professor from MSOE coordinated the initial project in the USA before travelling to Guatemala over their spring break vacation to begin the work. A three room school house was designed, as well as a retaining wall, bathroom facility, and a septic field. The community continued the project on their own and the school was operational in August of 2015.

Blue Lotus Fall Deck Building

Since 2006, approximately 1,000 MSOE students have been involved in projects at Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center in Newburg, Wisconsin. Most recently, students completed the third phase of the deck project, which extended the five-foot wide boardwalk 80 feet. The extension was made of recycled decking and was built low to the ground, with safety bumpers along the sides for visitors in wheelchairs. This long-term relationship with Blue Lotus has provided students with countless opportunities to strengthen their leadership skills and develop the MSOE Mindset while serving those in need.

Harambee Neighborhood Community Garden Project

Students in the MSOE University Scholars Honors Program volunteered to clean up and improve Weber’s Greenhouse, a community business that donates plants to non-profits. The students collected plants helped design the community garden in the historical Harambee neighborhood in 2015.

Kayla’s Crew Playground Project

MSOE students played a key role in helping build Kayla’s Playground in Franklin, Wisconsin in fall of 2015. With guidance from faculty and staff at MSOE, nearly 50 students helped construct the all-abilities playground dedicated to the memory of a young girl. MSOE students were responsible for designing and installing the musical components and mural on a bridge for the playground. MSOE athletes, Circle K members, members of Sigma Lambda Chi Honors Society, and other students were servant-leaders on this project. Students took their knowledge from the classroom and applied it in this real world experience.

Our Next Generation Tutoring

Throughout the 2013-2014 academic year, the American Society of Engineering Education helped organize tutoring for school age children on campus once a week. Approximately a dozen MSOE students mentored these students from Our Next Generation. These young children will likely be college bound and this is just one step along the way.

Uganda – Return

Professor Leitzke led three students to Padibe, Uganda in 2013. The previous year, one of these students helped to design a building to house a sunflower press for the village. As a result of the sunflower press the GDP of Uganda has increased by 2%. The 2013 group from MSOE returned to teach people throughout the small village of Padibe best practices in making concrete for use in constructing light-weight latrine slabs with bamboo reinforcement. As part of a cultural exchange, the elders in the village taught the group from MSOE how to build a traditional Acholi hut.

Sharp Literacy Honey Bee Project

In 2013, Tim DeLeo, an Air Force veteran and EE student at MSOE developed the interactive robot as a part of an independent study project mentored by Dr. David Howell. Funding for this robot was provided by the Brady Corporation. The robot now helps children learn and have fun at the same time. The interactive display includes information about a bee’s life, based on a book published by SHARP Literacy.

Milwaukee Empty Bowls

MSOE sponsored the annual Milwaukee Empty Bowls events from 2013-2019. The event used art to heighten hunger awareness and raise funds that help support food pantries and meal programs in Milwaukee. In any given year there were over 300 volunteers, 35 restaurants, a few bakeries and more than 2,000 attendees who raised over $60,000 for several charities. Originally, the Office of Servant-Leadership coordinated MSOE’s involvement of over 80 student volunteers annually. This annual event transitioned to an institutional tradition until it stopped due to the pandemic in 2020. We are happy to share that it will be coming back to MSOE in 2023 with the support of WMSE.