Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service

Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service (IDEASS)

IDEASS is a service-learning program designed to empower students as change agents to face challenges of the 21st century. IDEASS takes a hands-on approach to solution-driven collaboration, drawing from multiple disciplines to produce projects that combine cutting-edge technology with responsiveness to the social, ecological, and economic issues of our time.

How It Works

In this yearlong upper-division course, students work together in teams with professional mentors to design and implement a project related to sustainability. IDEASS gives students a hands-on introduction to potential career paths in the growing green-tech economy while fulfilling senior exit credit for majors such as Environment Studies, and many alumni have been offered jobs in fields related to their projects when they graduate. Take a look at some of our past projects here for more information.

IDEASS Students at Zero Motocycles

Program Goals

1. Design sustainable solutions for the built environment
2. Build campus and community coalitions to design and launch new sustainability  projects
3. Prepare students to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce
4. Promote civic engagement within the Monterey Bay community
5. Increase interaction between academic majors
6. Broaden participation and retention in STEM fields
7. Train students to use quantitative reasoning and problem solving skills for sustainable design work.
8. Initiate changes that serve the needs of community.

Project Impacts

IDEASS students develop project objectives within their areas of interest cooperatively with community mentors and experts in the field. Community and industry partners benefit from collaboration with motivated students who have been carefully selected for participation in IDEASS. These student-led teams, guided by a group of four UCSC IDEASS academic advisors have a strong reputation for on-time deliverables that fulfill some objective known to be important to major stakeholders. Projects usually focus on sustainable technologies and practices in the built environment, such as energy, water, food, transportation and waste. Depending on student experience and partners’ needs, projects may use any number of approaches to address environmental concerns, such as technological innovation, education and behavior change, participatory research, policy planning, and other modes of sustainable design.

Now Accepting Applications for 2014/2015!

All students from all majors are encouraged to apply. However, the program is designed for juniors or seniors poised to fulfill senior exit requirements.

Click Here to Apply!


"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand"

          - Chinese Proverb