From Engineering Students, A West Campus Guide


There's a lot going on at Yale's West Campus, but it's a big space and still relatively new (compared to the rest of Yale's 300-plus years). So how do you help visitors find their way around?

A group of students in Engineering Innovation & Design (ENAS 118) set out to take on this challenge. Justin Freiberg, the sustainability manager at West Campus, met with the student team – Thomas Chu, Karina Rodriguez, Jared Weinstein, and Julia Shan – and posed them with this question: How can we engage visitors and help them connect with the resources here?

Set within a landscape of over 136 acres, and connecting health, culture, energy and the environment, the West Campus now accommodates seven research institutes, the Yale School of Nursing, and numerous projects focused on the natural and built landscape. So Freiberg asked the students to help him create a product that could keep up with the many changes.

The students made an app for mobile phone devices to help users navigate a series of trails and research projects across West Campus, as well as call up information about resources and ongoing projects there. To further engage users, the app features a scavenger hunt game that prompts users to find certain landmarks with clues.

A few of the team's members hope to continue working on the project, possibly expanding it to broader uses.

Freiberg said he was impressed with the students and their project, which they showcased last week for the course's final presentations.

"The student team from ENAS 118 really did great work this semester — I was impressed with both their creativity as well as their persistence in building a working solution to a tough problem," he said. "Beyond that, the class itself seems to accomplish multiple tasks; along with learning to build this hugely helpful tool, they were also learning the broad set of skills needed to work well with a client."