Training students to practice sustainable development is core to the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as reflected in the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which states: “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties” (Canon 1). As such, it is natural that GT’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has a close relationship with the Serve-Learn-Sustain program (SLS), whose mission is to prepare students to contribute to the task of “creating sustainable communities.”

Majors who are interested in being better prepared to apply their civil and environmental engineering knowledge and skills to sustainable communities work are encouraged to seek out SLS-affiliated courses and faculty within CEE. The purpose of this document is to provide students with information on these opportunities.


Key CEE Questions Related to “Creating Sustainable Communities”

CEE’s sustainable communities curriculum focuses on three areas: 1) sustainable transportation, 2) environmental monitoring, technology, and impact assessment, and 3) planning, construction, and management of smart and sustainable cities. CEE majors who enroll in CEE SLS-affiliated courses will engage in real-world projects to learn to think in depth about the following important sustainable communities-related questions:

  1. How do facilities (e.g., buildings, landfills, bridges) and systems (e.g., transit, energy) contribute positively or negatively to creating sustainable communities? For example, DeKalb County harvests methane from their landfills to use in their county transportation vehicles.

  2. How can we collaborate with communities to design and build facilities and systems to have positive environmental and community impacts? For example, CEE professor John Taylor is working with GT’s Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design to crowdsource data from future building stakeholders to ensure the building meets equity, health, water, energy, material and other criteria key to achieving Living Building certification.

  3. How can data about facilities and systems be used to understand the current status of real-time operations and to impact future decisions that foster the development of sustainable communities? For example, Atlanta’s North Avenue Smart Corridor, a $2.7 million project unveiled in September 2017, is piloting transportation and traffic technologies with its living lab to help reduce crashes, improve traffic flow and increase emergency vehicle response times.

iGniTe First Year Summer Launch Program

Every summer, SLS leads a Sustainable Communities program for first year students focused on the theme of Equitable & Sustainable Development, using Atlanta as its classroom. In this late summer program, students enroll in courses that meet core curriculum requirements. The Sustainable Communities courses participate together in a series of joint workshops and activities, exploring problems and solutions from different academic and practitioner perspectives. Courses include projects with real-world partners. This is a great opportunity for incoming students to get to know Georgia Tech and Atlanta, and get involved in SLS right away, learning social perspectives on infrastructure and development - topics that are central to Civil & Environmental Engineering.

SLS-Affiliated CEE Courses

CEE offers SLS-affiliated courses every semester. Currently, all SLS-affiliated CEE courses are 4000 level and can be counted as CEE Technical Electives. These courses include:

CEE 3000 Civil Engineering Systems Every Fall & Spring
CEE 4090 Capstone Design (CE and EnvE) Every Fall & Spring
CEE 4150 Construction Management and Megaprojects Every Spring
CEE 4350 Environmental Technology in the Developing World Every Spring
CEE 4395 Environmental Systems Design Every Year (semesters differ)
CEE 4460 International Disaster Reconnaissance Every Spring
CEE 4610 Multimodal Transportation Every Fall
CEE 4620 Environmental Impact Assessment Every Spring
CEE 4660 Sustainable Transportation Abroad Every Other Spring
CEE 4699 Independent Study Research* Every Semester
CEE 4803 Smart and Sustainable Cities Every Other Fall

*Students can approach any CEE faculty member to discuss opportunities for independent study/research. See a list of SLS-affiliated CEE faculty below.

SLS Courses that Meet Other CEE Degree Requirements

CEE majors can also look for SLS-affiliated courses that meet these degree requirements:

  • ENGL 1101/1102

  • Social Science Elective

  • Wellness Elective: APPH 1040

  • Free Electives

To find SLS-affiliated courses that meet these requirements, visit the courses section of the SLS website and search for courses using the “Core Curriculum Requirements” search option – and make sure to choose the semester you’re interested in, as well.

SLS Signature Programs

CEE also encourages its majors to participate in SLS’ Signature Programs, which include curricular and co-curricular options, as well as single- and multi-semester programs. These programs include a Sustainable Cities Minor and a program on Innovating for Social Impact, which results in a Certificate of Completion issued by SLS.

Learn More!

CEE and SLS encourage students to reach out to faculty and advisers to discuss their SLS interests and learn more about available opportunities.


CEE majors are also encouraged to reach out to CEE faculty who work closely with SLS and whose courses and research relate to sustainable communities. The faculty listed here are eager to advise CEE majors interested in this topic: