Need a Research Question?
The following topics have been identified in partnership with University operational departments and faculty from various academic departments to assist students in identifying potential JP, Senior Thesis and graduate research topics using the campus itself as a living laboratory for sustainability problem-solving.
Please browse below, or use the sorting options to the right to narrow your search by topic or discipline. Contact the Campus as Lab team, Caroline Savage and Gina Talt '15, for more information or questions!
If you have a campus as lab research question that should be included on this list you can submit it using our contact form.
Refine and update the campus energy Heatmap by filling in data for as many of the greyed-out buildings as possible.
This year Campus Dining will reach incoming freshmen over the summer with a presentation about sustainability in dining. Will it change behavior?
Conduct a full economic analysis of green roofs to evaluate their dollar savings, including: Protection from UV radiation, temperature volatility/HVAC costs, stormwater runoff, air quality, CO2 sequestration, biodiversity, aesthetics. Use data on soil moisture, rainfall, and other meteorological parameters from the Butler green roofs.
Improve the campus energy Heatmap by adding features to increase engagement with the app.
How is climate affecting the physiology of tree species? Monitor metrics of tree health over time to determine whether there is a correlation between changing climate patterns and tree health or decline.
Evaluate the efficacy of long-term gamification to promote sustainable behaviors by developing a smartphone app that creates a year-long competition around recycling quality.
Which pathway is more comprehensively sustainable (in terms of cost, energy use, etc.) for food waste conversion using a biodigester: Composting or energy production?