Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we received from previous CommUnity challenges. You can reach out to for additional information.

1. Do I need to be part of an ESW chapter to participate?

No.  We welcome applications to the challenge from any university or college. We do ask that you register as a member of ESW to participate. Membership is free for members of existing student chapters, and at-large student membership is $10. Reach out to to have the at-large membership fee waived for your team.

2. Is there a fee to enter the challenge?

No. There is no fee associated with the challenge. 

3. Is the challenge open to students of all levels?

Yes, there is no limit to who can make up the 3-6 person team. Participants must (1) be currently enrolled at a higher education institution as a full-time student and (2) not be graduating earlier than June 2018.

4. Do I need to be studying engineering to be qualified to participate?

No. We believe that you do not need to be an engineer to engineer change. We welcome students of all disciplines to enter into the challenge. Interdisciplinary teams of all academic backgrounds are strongly encouraged.

5. What is the duration of the challenge?

See the Current Participants page for the full timeline. The challenge runs from October – April, with finalist teams presenting at the ESW Annual Conference in April.

6. What if I miss or cannot make the webinars?

All of the webinars will be made accessible to participants via the ESW website.

7. What kinds of projects are you looking for?

This is the second year we have run CommUnity in the United States. We’d like to introduce you to our top three winners from our inaugural year:

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Tech team partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and looked how the lack of access to clean water and fresh food affected low-income communities in Atlanta. The team then used their previous research into optimizing natural herbicide solutions to educate community gardeners on organic weed control.

California State University-Long Beach

The CSULB team partnered with Long Beach Organic Inc. (LBO), a nonprofit organization that provides organic community gardens for the Long Beach community. The team discussed several community issues with LBO, including transportation and accessibility to public space, but decided to focus on sustainable agriculture and monarch conservancy in the gardens.

University of California – San Diego

The UCSD team partnered with the Global Action Research Center and Hoover High School in San Diego’s City Heights area to focus on improving the connection between local youth and their community. The team is working to implement after-school programs focused on sustainability and STEM topics at the high school.