Dartmouth Engineering Students Help Tackle Binge Drinking

Dartmouth Now

November 29, 2011

By Joseph Blumberg

It’s not standard practice to ask engineers to take on a social problem, but that’s just what President Jim Yong Kim and Professor John Collier did recently when they challenged students in an introductory engineering course to come up with solutions to campus binge drinking.

President Kim at Thayer School
President Kim talks with students. See more photos

Kim participated at the invitation of John Collier, the Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation. Collier wanted his students to see how the methods they were learning in class could be applied to a wide variety of problems.

“Getting students to think critically using some of their academic skills about a topic that is so relevant to their lives is a powerful exercise,” Kim observes. “Taking such problems to engineering students is also consistent with our work in the National College Health Improvement Project.” ...

... Engineering student Ned Kingsley ’14 reported, “Being able to use the skills that we have been learning all term and apply them to a Dartmouth-specific problem was really interesting, and it definitely changed how I thought about a lot of the issues.”

The students generated specifications for possible solutions, brainstormed alternatives, and then rated the alternatives against their specifications.

Of the dozens of alternatives generated, eight were ultimately recommended by the students. All of those will be considered by the Dartmouth College Health Improvement Program, Dartmouth’s implementation of the Learning Collaborative work.

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