International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) (7th : 2015)

An edible education in sustainable development : investigating chocolate manufacturing in a laboratory-based undergraduate engineering course Jannini, Alexander V. Struck; Wisniewski, Christian; Staehle, Mary M.; Stanzione, Joseph F.; Savelski, Mariano J.


Green engineering, sustainability, and sustainable development are topics of great import to all engineering disciplines. To introduce students to these topics, hands-on experiments were developed for inclusion within a multi-disciplinary freshman engineering course. In these experiments, students learned to produce chocolate truffles and, ultimately, challenged to analyze and optimize the sustainability of the process with a cradle-to-gate and social life cycle assessments. Student analyses incorporated waste management strategies, overall energy and material consumption calculations, carbon reduction strategies, the use of engineering software, and the importance of fair trade in this industry. Eighty-nine freshman engineering students at Rowan University completed the experiments. Pre- and post-tests were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the course on increasing student knowledge of sustainability, of sustainable development, and of the impact engineers can have on socioeconomics. Preliminary results indicate that the course was effective in enhancing student knowledge and awareness of the social and environmental implications of chocolate manufacturing. A complete analysis and description are presented in this paper.

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