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The Ethos Center

Educate. Design. Discover. Together.

With our community partners, The Ethos Center sustains community-engaged engineering education, research, partnerships and action.


The Ethos Center promotes personal growth and transformation. We strive to develop critically reflective, global citizens who incorporate the sociocultural dimension of engineering. We challenge students to be inclusive and holistic in their approaches as they analyze and change how they frame problems and define solutions. Students grow in cultural humility, vocational discernment, practical wisdom and commitment to social responsibility. Our students and alumni develop global competence skills and a deep passion for the common good and justice for all. They also develop interdisciplinary and creative technical capabilities while confidently and rigorously applying technical knowledge and skills in support of human rights, social justice and environmental well-being.


Ethos design promotes just and sustainable technical tools and practices to advance the common good and address root causes of inequalities. We along with our community partners and their communities co-create socially and environmentally responsible design to address real-world social issues. Our design model stresses equity-centered design and interdisciplinary systems analysis and embodies the ideals of environmental protection, social justice, human rights, and peace. 


Faculty, staff and students engage with our community partners for research and development of new or enhanced technologies, processes, and systems to meet their needs and aspirations. Students are involved in research projects either through working in labs at the University of Dayton with faculty, working with STEM-oriented partners in their labs, or testing or implementing research projects on site with community partners. Faculty engage in applied research, systems analysis, and advocacy to further advance the vision and mission of our community partners. The Ethos Center promotes the innovation of just and sustainable technical tools and practices and promotes a community co-created approach to translating knowledge to action.


Innovation and social change happen best through partnerships with communities and collaborations across disciplines, perspectives and organizations. Our reciprocal partnerships with community-based and social change organizations in Dayton, across the country, and around the world are at the heart of The Ethos Center. Our partnership model embraces right relationships and ethical engagement. This means that we listen first, approach our partnership work with humility and integrity, and ensure co-creation of goals, measures of success, and solutions. We develop long-term, effective and collaborative relationships with organizations that build organizational capacity, leverage assets and promote community-driven action.

  • 500+

    UD alumni from engineering and other disciplines since 2001.

  • 20

    countries, 4 continents and 10 U.S. cities; we've grown from 1 immersion location.

  • Over 60

    community sponsors and partnerships in Dayton, the U.S. and around the world.

Ethos...Providing Transformative Learning Experiences

Ethos: An Internship Unlike Any Other Ethos: Applied Learning Ethos: Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Ethos Center at the University of Dayton provides service-learning experiences through technical immersions, student activities, research and hands-on projects. Through these experiences, School of Engineering students have gained perspectives on how engineering and technology are influenced by the world.

Explore Past Student Experiences

Through The Ethos Center, students travel across the U.S. and around the globe to provide sustainable engineering solutions for problems faced by developing communities. There, they learn to deal with unforeseeable challenges. They enhance their skills and confidence. And, they discover how their curiosity can fuel something greater than themselves.

Ethos Dayton Immersions naturally develop engineering students' entrepreneurial mindset, advancing their abilities to address the grand challenges of our world. The KEEN network frames the entrepreneurial mindset with 3Cs: Curiosity, Connections and Creating Value.

Explore Our Partnerships

Student Opportunities and Experiences

Student Experiences

Read about recent student experiences and see how their immersions have changed their perspective on engineering, the world and themselves.

Student Opportunities

Learn about the opportunities the Ethos Center offers: semester-long or summer international, domestic, and local immersions, weekend and 10-day breakouts.

More About Us


Working with Aprovecho Research Center in Oregon, Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service Learning (ETHOS) was developed in the spring of 2001 by a group of undergraduate engineering students from the University of Dayton. Our program was founded to promote the service learning aspect of engineering through technical immersions, student activities, research and hands-on projects. Since its founding, the Aprovecho Research Center has been one of our engineering partners. ETHOS has sent 330 students to 20 different countries, working with 40 project sponsors.

The ETHOS program is rooted in the belief that engineers are more capable to serve our world when they experience opportunities that increase their understanding of technology's global linkage with values, culture, society, politics and economics.

Through these experiences, students have gained perspectives on how engineering and technology are influenced by the world. Participating students have been able to use their engineering skills for humanitarian purposes, serving others through practical engineering knowledge. Our alumni learn about the world, different cultures and themselves.

From “ETHOS” to “The Ethos Center

ETHOS began as a student-lead immersion program in 2001 and was given the name “ETHOS,” which stood for “Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities for Service Learning.”  While the word ethos in the center’s name no longer is an acronym, the word ethos still embraces the essence of who we are — a Center to imagine and realize a justice-oriented ethos of engineering. Since 2001, many other faculty, staff, and student programs and collaborative partnerships have been added to the center, but our keystone program still continues to be our immersion program. To honor the history of the center, the original capitalization of ETHOS, and this keystone program, our immersion program will retain the capital letters and will be referred to as “ETHOS Immersions,” with ETHOS standing for: Engaging with community partners for socioTechnical and Human Rights focused Opportunities for Social change.


The foundation of The Ethos Center is our reciprocal partnerships between community-based organizations and UD's School of Engineering. Through collaborative work on shared goals and aspirations of these partnerships, our mission becomes a reality:  

The Ethos Center promotes, develops, and sustains community-engaged engineering education, research, partnerships and action to:

  • Research, develop, and validate just and sustainable technologies and systems. 
  • Facilitate transformative learning opportunities for students to engage in sociotechnical projects with community partners and explore their vocation. 
  • Catalyze transdisciplinary collaborations for evidence-based influence on policies and practice. 
  • Champion engineering curricula that advances community-oriented engineering for the common good.


Grounded in our Catholic and Marianist Identity to “educate for service, justice, and peace,” educate the whole person, and build community to creatively meet the needs of the world; and grounded in our School’s mission to advance engineering for the common good. The Ethos Center aspires to develop culturally-responsive, environmentally responsible, and community-engaged engineering practices, research and partnerships that actualize a just and equitable world.

The Ethos Center programs are grounded in five core values.

  • Ensuring ethical engagement, reciprocity, and inclusive access.
  • Transforming engineering education through discovery of self as an agent of positive social change with a sociotechnical mindset.
  • Honoring the lived experiences and knowledge of others, especially marginalized communities, through cultural and intellectual humility.
  • Opting for just and sustainable technologies that ensure human dignity and rights.
  • Supporting co-created, transdisciplinary collaborations driven by community assets and aspirations and their sociocultural context.

Frameworks that guide our partnership practices, curriculum, and technical R&D:

The following will continue to frame our work, but unlike values/principles, these may change as our field develops, learns, and grows.  

The Ethos Center: Shaping engineers to realize a more just and sustainable world for all.

  • 4.3 Million People: The number of people who die prematurely every year from illness due to solid fuel indoor air pollution. Properly designed stoves and heaters can burn fuel more efficiently and reduce the amount of pollution released into the air.
  • 75 Minutes:  The amount of time it takes the sun to send the world the same amount of energy we consume in a year. Making use of this valuable resource not only reduces emissions from fossil fuels, but gives people untouched by energy from the grid the opportunity to access power.
  • 3.4 Million People: The global population that dies every year from a water-related disease. Proper management of human and animal waste, implementation of filtering devices and education can help reduce these effects. 

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Visit Campus

The best way to understand our passion, innovation and community is to experience it yourself.


The Ethos Center

Kettering Laboratories, Room 101
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0212

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