Community Programs

Community Outreach Projects

Open to all Pitt undergraduate and graduate students this annual competition challenges University of Pittsburgh students to work collectively on service-oriented projects designed to implement solutions to environmental problems to benefit the university and/ or greater community.  Projects are judged on their ability to create public awareness of sustainability issues, improve quality of life in our region and feature a strong public outreach or education element.

MCSI funded two community outreach projects in 2012

The first was a grant to The Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) Flow Energy Team providing equipment resources to explore non-traditional wind energy harvest for potential use in urban Pittsburgh. The ESW student team has partnered with Pittsburgh Green Innovators who has agreed to let our team perform device testing on a section of roof beginning immediately. This gives the team the chance to perform real world device development and testing, while also establishing the beginnings of a demonstration project for the facility once renovation is done.


PittStartIn addition, MCSI funded a project to impact all incoming Pitt freshman. Over the past few years, Pitt has made great strides in implementing sustainability principles on campus. As a way to introduce incoming Pitt freshmen to the many ‘green’ aspects of the Oakland campus the Mascaro Center joined forces with the Office of Admissions and student leaders from Engineers for a Sustainable World to create a PittStart sustainability scavenger hunt that challenges the incoming freshmen to find 5 of 11 different sustainability examples on our campus. Participants are entered into a drawing with the chance to win a campus bike package including a bike, lock, locker and helmet.

View Past Winners> 

Energy Efficient Building Technologies Challenge

This annual contest sponsored by MCSI asks undergraduate students from universities in Southwestern Pennsylvania to create a technique for “greening” residential or commercial buildings that carry a low-price tag and a quick payoff.


2010-2011 Winners 

1st place ($5,000 prize) “TurboFlow”  

2nd Place ($2,500 prize)  “The Green Space Heater”  

3rd Place ($1,000 prize) “Energy Efficient Water Heating System for Existing Buildings”  

4th Place ($200 prize) “Development of an Application for Crowd-Sourced Energy Management" 

View 2009 Winners>

Curriculum Development

Phelps Architecture, Construction & Engineering High School (Wash., DC)

A group of MCSI graduate students teach 9th grade workshop on green schools

Mt. Lebanon High School

Students depict the use of renewable energy— the sun and wind—in creative, hands-on projects.

Powdermill Nature Reserve

Visitors learn about the green and sustainable technologies found in the new Powdermill Headquarters Building.

Community Collaborations 

Students, faculty, and staff partnered with a neighborhood tree planting and two Western Pennsylvania Conservancy community gardens on October 24th in a day of service.

Carmalt Academy of Science and Technology  

Carmalt Academy of Science and Technology is an ideal learning environment infusing science and technology across the curriculum.

Carnegie Science Center Exhibit 

Building Green gives young people a hands-on opportunity to learn about green design and its impact on human health and the environment.

Ceramic Filter Project

MCSI faculty and students are working on the development and implementation of low-cost ceramic water filters for poor communities around the world.

Connect to Excellence

Future City Competition

Mentors help seventh- and eighth-graders present their visions of a city of the future.

Heinz Distinguished Lecture Series

Open to the community and aims to bring to the University innovative, thought-provoking, and forward-looking concepts appropriate for sustainable infrastructure development.

Manchester Academic Charter SchoolSustainable Schools Competition

MCSI was delighted to work with the Manchester Academic Charter School on our first sustainable schools competition.

 MCSI partners with Kingsley Association

The Kingsley Association is located in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh, part of the city’s East End and representing 12% of the total population.

Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Phipps works on designs for a building that generates all of its own energy, treats its own water, and uses resources efficiently.

Urban Youth Action (UYA)

MCSI partnered with Urban Youth Action (UYA) to present a series of green lectures to provide 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students a general understanding of sustainability principles.

Vandergrift Improvement Project

Local citizens grow the town of Vandergrift using principles of sustainability.



Get Involved

Students, teachers, professionals, partners... see how you can get involved.