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 Kristi Wiedemann for more information or questions!

Are behavioral nudges successful at reducing the use of single-use Keurig/K-cups? Are there health-related impacts of frequent K-Cup use?

Topics: waste reduction
Disciplines: Anthropology, Art & Archeology, English, Environmental Studies, Geosciences, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School

Conduct a before-and-after study of renovations to the Frist Gallery food waste disposal area. Test whether upgrades to the area (tentatively planned for March 2019) result in less contamination of the compost or recycling streams, ease of access of the new system, or other variables.

Topics: food, water
Disciplines: Anthropology, Art & Archeology, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Geosciences, Psychology, Robotics, Sociology

Princeton's Office of Information Technology wants to conduct environmental monitoring using sensors inside a set of High Performance Computing Research Center (HPCRC) cabinets. 

1)     What can the sensor data (temp/humidity/air flow/particulate) tell us about the overall health of the equipment running within the HPCRC data center?

2)     How can we use environmental data (temp/humidity/air flow/particulates) to optimize the amount of energy usage within our HPCRC data center as a whole?

3)     With our fully deployed IoT system at the HPCRC data center, how vulnerable is the system to malicious or unauthorized users and access (security posture of an IoT system)?

Topics: energy, buildings
Disciplines: Architecture, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Robotics

Use mass spectrometry to compare the concentrations of organic pollutants in Princeton and Trenton.

Topics: landscape
Disciplines: Chemistry, Molecular Biology

In which spheres of campus sustainability do we see conflicts between environmental and societal interests?

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, Psychology, Sociology

Build on a past light pollution study of campus to suggest improvements in campus lighting design to minimize disruption for wildlife and create more dark sky areas.

Topics: energy, landscape
Disciplines: Astrophysical Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Studies, Geosciences

Would providing financial incentives encourage departments to reduce use/purchase of bottled water? Conduct a pilot study or controlled experiments within some departments.

Disciplines: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geosciences, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School

Design an app that tells users whether or not a certain item is recyclable in a given location (e.g., some types of plastic are recyclable on campus but not in the Municipality of Princeton).

Topics: waste reduction
Disciplines: Computer Science, Environmental Studies