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.

What are the bottled water purchase patterns on campus and what are the most effective way to reduce those purchases?

Disciplines: humanities and arts, social sciences

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

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

Use data about energy systems on campus to understand energy use over time. Plot energy use from different campus systems relative to the academic year or a smaller period of time. Do usage patterns exist?

Topics: energy
Disciplines: engineering, social sciences

Use sensors to study whether conference rooms are being underutilized or inefficiently heated, cooled, and lit.

Disciplines: engineering

Collect baseline data on water clarity, oxygen levels, and organic carbon in Lake Carnegie to determine the effect of gasoline loads on water quality

Topics: water
Disciplines: natural sciences

Investigate the CO2 storage capacity of campus trees and impervious surfaces using LiDAR.

Topics: landscape
Disciplines: natural sciences

Collect baseline data on dorm waste left behind during move-out, both through empirical analysis of the waste, and qualitative surveys, to greater clarify and inform the need for a more reliable, less economically challenging avenue of dorm item management.

Disciplines: social sciences

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