Offloading my carbon footprint

footprint baby

In 2005, when I first took the ecological footprint quiz, I saw that I was one of the worst culprits of using more than my share. The quiz showed me that it would take over 8 earths to support humanity if everybody lived the same lifestyle as me.  Who knew that driving 30,000 miles per year and eating meat at every meal wasn’t good for anyone involved? By 2009, Read More →

An update on my office

My lakefront office

Last October, I promised to rethink how my office was being used. The old set-up worked well when I was there, but I realized that was only about 2% of the time; nearly all of my teaching, research, writing, and meetings happen elsewhere. Inspired by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft’s wonderful book Make Space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration, our research group rethought how we could Read More →

A guest post from Megan Milam about Kiwi Elegance

An offending snowmaking machine - small margins for error lead to elegance values (photo courtesy of Alan Lam)

Megan Milam took my class as a first-year student and won the low-carbon meal competition – by riding her bike to get sushi if I remember correctly.  Megan has continued to work with me throughout her time at Clemson, which has included some pretty amazing work co-ops. Her most recent adventure took her to New Zealand, where she found elegance that I’ll let her describe. Read More →

Pigs are fast swimmers and the 10 best things I learned from students last week

#4 - Pigs are good swimmers (Image courtesy  of cdorobek on flickr)

I’m always learning from students, especially at the beginning of every semester, when I meet individually with everyone in my classes. So that I am not hogging knowledge, here are the 10 best things I learned from about 65 meetings last week: 10. No one considers my class the highest priority in their life. 9. It can be cheaper to “donate” medical waste than dispose Read More →

A successful distance Ph.D. – by Morgan Young

A picture from hiking club was most appropriate

On May 9, Morgan Young will walk across the stage at Littlejohn Coliseum and officially receive his Ph.D., which he earned through five years of hard and smart work. I asked Morgan to write about his experience because he completed his Ph.D. without being physically located in Clemson. It seems like more students should be able to follow this path. The Ph.D. is, after all, Read More →

How soccer explains… (reading list)


There is no better (or at least more fun) way to learn about our world than through soccer. Or maybe you just want to sound like an expert when discussing this summer’s World Cup. For either case, here is my top 10 list of soccer books.   Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow tops the list. Galeano’s book is a work of art that also manages to cover Read More →

Elegant fences

A living fence (picture from Carol Foil on flickr)

Nobody wants their donkeys to escape.   Fences like these would solve the escaped donkeys problem, but they rely on metal poles, which are not available everywhere and not particularly beautiful.   Living fences, like those shown below, are more elegant. The trees do everything a metal pole would, but the trees actually look nice and sequester climate changing emissions while they’re at it.

Podcast on “how to break into sustainability”


Here’s a podcast I did with author and Engineering Career Coach Anthony Fasano, PE. Basically, after talking about how I used to be able to play soccer, I try to answer, “how can engineers find a way to incorporate sustainability in their jobs?” It’s a question I’m asked frequently and one that I have learned quite a bit about as I watch graduates succeed at Read More →

The ESSo research group creation story

An ESSO club meat and 3 "vegetables"

I’m excited to share this guest post from Michael Dukes. Michael was a founding member of our research group and earned his Master’s degree in 2009. He has since earned his P.E. and, despite relocating to Oklahoma, remains a die-hard supporter of all things Clemson.  The ESSo research group creation story, by Michael Dukes, P.E. The Engineering Sustainable Solutions (ESSo) research group was founded during Read More →

Twitter chat for


Last Wednesday, I hosted a twitter chat for, a “movement to transform engineering education.” Besides my forgetting to add hashtags a few times, it went pretty well, with lots of good input and shared resources from the various participants. Here’s the recap of the twitter chat. And following is how I set the stage for the chat:  As you’ve probably guessed, I’d like to discuss Read More →