Research & Education

graduating students

31 graduating seniors from 15 different departments were awarded Certificates in Environmental Studies in spring 2017 . (Photo by PEI Staff)

Princeton is uniquely positioned to advance teaching and research related to sustainability on campus, in the local community and across the nation. Teaching and research — including initiatives that engage the campus as a laboratory for new ideas — will reap exponential environmental benefits. By engaging students in sustainability research and other environmental initiatives, the University aims to prepare them for lives of leadership and active civic engagement in a time when such commitment is critical to achieving a sustainable future. 


Cultivate leaders among students and engage researchers from multiple disciplines to advance global sustainability, using the campus as a living laboratory.


  • rammed earth

    Sigrid Adriaenssens, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is leading a study to explore how rammed earth made from local soil can function as a sustainable building material in New Jersey’s humid climate by using a rammed earth wall constructed at the Forbes Garden. 

  • graduating students

    Thirty-one graduating seniors from 15 departments were awarded certificates in environmental studies in spring 2017.

  • In 2014, the Dean for Research Innovation Fund for the Campus as a Lab was launched to catalyze campus-based research exploring sustainability, energy and the environment. Learn about the latest projects

  • class at solar field

    In 2017, 21.48 percent of graduating seniors representing at least 25 disciplines engaged academically in environmental studies and sustainability during their four years at Princeton.

  • students in a stream collecting research

    Since 2011 the Office of Sustainability has maintained a web resource listing potential technology and behavior-based research ideas utilizing the campus as a living laboratory, and continues to develop partnerships with academic departments to advance these efforts.

  • solar picnic table

    Since 2008, the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund has awarded support for 14 faculty research projects, 3 senior thesis projects, and 71 campus-based initiatives from students or staff such as the Garden Project at Forbes College.

  • During the 2016-2017 academic year, 82 undergraduates from 15 majors held environmentally-focused internships with Princeton faculty and external organizations, including assignments in 10 countries around the globe.

  • Nearly 118 courses have been offered since 2012 that either focused on or incorporated sustainability. New sustainability-related courses offered in 2015-16 included two student-initiated seminars: "Investigating an Ethical Approach to Sustainability at Princeton," and "Science, Society & Dinner."

  • STARS Silver Award

    The AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) allows metric-driven progress assessment across operations and academics for North American higher education and has recognized Princeton at the Silver leadership level

What’s Next

  • Advance support for sustainability-related research fellowships, course-related fieldwork, internships and undergraduate research through various departments.

  • Continue to define the role of sustainability in the existing University curriculum, both graduate and undergraduate, and explore how to develop a more cohesive curriculum around the environment and sustainability.

  • Continue to develop support for faculty interested in using the campus as a laboratory and assure a venue for faculty and students to present their research and initiatives.

Related Video

play video
This tour video takes you inside Guyot Hall, the home of the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Environmental Studies program, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.