Fourth year students in Seton's LEAD (Learning Engineering and Design) program participate in Purdue University's Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program to create their senior capstone projects. This year, our students have partnered with ECO City Farms, an educational, non-profit organization located in Prince George's County, designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local urban farming. Our senior LEAD students made a recent visit to the local farm to determine how to support the needs of the organization through their project. Highlights from the visit include learning about farm operations, touring the current crops, tasting green beans and habanero peppers, and hearing about the ongoing needs of the farm.
EPICS is a service-learning design program in which teams of students partner with local and global community organizations to address human, community, and environmental needs. Through EPICS, high school students complete innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects and gain the experience of working to design solutions that meet real needs in their communities. Seton adopted the EPICS model for our LEAD program because of its alignment with the Vincentian mission of our school to serve our community and meet needs where they exist.
In the EPICS program, students work in teams and partner with a non-profit organization. Students design projects to meet the needs of this community partner, enabling them to better serve residents in the local community. LEAD Program Coordinator JoEllen Gray and Seton President Sister Ellen Marie Hagar selected ECO City Farms as a community partner given their commitment to engaging and empowering youth and families and promoting environmental protection, renewable energy, and materials reuse. Of great importance, however, is their potential to provide healthy food choices for people in our local community who may not have access to such food. We look forward to the partnership with ECO City Farms and the culmination of the capstone projects for our fourth year LEAD students.