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The ETHOS Center

Core Values

The ETHOS Center is an experiential learning initiative of the School of Engineering at the University of Dayton. Participating students use their engineering skills for humanitarian purposes, serving others through practical engineering problem solving and design. The ETHOS Center programs are grounded in five core values.

Appropriate Technology

Technical internships through The ETHOS Center are focused on the development of appropriate technologies. These types of technologies are designed to be simple to use, easy to maintain and cost effective with both the end user and the environment in mind. Our students have worked on a variety of projects including rainwater collection systems, household water filtration systems, renewable energy technologies, biodigestors, construction projects, and clean cook stove technologies. 

Cultural Sensitivity

Our programs engage students in cross-cultural design experiences, both domestically and internationally, in order to better understand how social and cultural issues can enhance or limit engineering design. Students learn that respecting and valuing local cultural norms changes how we implement projects. Integrating cultural knowledge and local expertise is essential to the success and sustainability of our projects.

Established Partnerships

Our students are not on their own when they leave the classroom. Each student-led group is partnered with a local not-for-profit organization in their host city or town that acts as an on-site mentor for each and every project. Since the inception of ETHOS in 2001, we have formed over 50 partnerships across the globe. The ETHOS Center provides students with the tools and skills needed to work on their respective project before they depart for their service-learning experience.

Cultural Immersion 

Among the most influential aspects of the service-learning experience is the student immersion within a different culture. Students are given the opportunity to visit a different state or country for ten to fifteen weeks to live and experience a different way of life. Many live with host families, while others live independently within their host community. In either, students gain a better understanding of life within their host countries, fostering their personal and professional growth as engineers.

Personal Transformation

Very few students have returned to The ETHOS Center following their service-learning experience without undergoing a unique personal transformation. Though often subtle, students return from their trip with a profound understanding of some of the most troubling global issues we see today — poverty, extreme hunger, access to clean water, and access to reliable energy sources — and how their engineering skills can aid in the development of solutions. 


The ETHOS Center, Kelly Bohrer, Acting Director

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0212