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.

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.

Disciplines: engineering

Design a student feedback tool on building conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity).

Topics: energy, buildings
Disciplines: engineering

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.

Disciplines: engineering, natural sciences, social sciences

This year Campus Dining will reach incoming freshmen over the summer with a presentation about sustainability in dining. Will it change behavior?

Disciplines: social sciences

What are the most effective mechanisms to encourage University faculty, staff and commuting students to utilize public transportation, bicycles, and walking to get to and from campus?

Disciplines: humanities and arts, social sciences

Evaluate the costs and benefits of more sustainable equipment options for landscape maintenance (hedge trimmers, weed whackers, leaf blowers, etc).

Disciplines: engineering, natural sciences, social sciences

Expand the campus energy Heatmap to include all buildings in the campus carbon footprint (e.g. the High-Performance Computing Research Center at the Forrestal Campus).

Topics: energy, buildings
Disciplines: engineering

What is the difference between the quality of harvested rainwater compared to domestic water? Are the impacts on plants of each different over time?

Topics: landscape, water
Disciplines: natural sciences