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.

How do Princeton's purchasing, consumption, waste, and other interactions with surrounding communities contribute to a narrative of environmental justice or injustice?

Disciplines: Anthropology

Design a robot that reduces contamination in campus recycling by removing common non-recyclable items from recycling bins, or uses machine learning to prompt individuals about the appropriate bin (compost, recycling, or trash) to use.

Topics: waste reduction
Disciplines: Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Robotics

How can we learn (in aggregate) about individuals’ waste, energy, transportation, and other behaviors without impinging on privacy?

Disciplines: Computer Science, Psychology

Develop a tool to help visualize interactions between complex campus systems, e.g. energy and water use, transportation and storm water runoff, purchasing and waste, etc.

Disciplines: Anthropology, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre

Design a rewards system for recycling properly, possibly in collaboration with existing student-designed app EcoTracker, then test to see whether recycling behavior is sustained after the reward is given.

Topics: waste reduction
Disciplines: Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Psychology

Apply game theory to sustainability challenges

Disciplines: Computer Science, Psychology

Are bathroom hand dryers bad for human health? Corroborate or dispute past studies with ties to the paper industry that paper towels are more effective than hand dryers at reducing the spread of germs.

Disciplines: Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Studies, Geosciences

Develop less environmentally harmful prototype alternatives to single-use consumer products (e.g. disposable water bottles, straws, utensils).

Topics: waste reduction
Disciplines: Chemistry