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Research Opportunities

The University is committed to providing hands-on learning experiences that bring classroom content to life. Multiple “living lab” projects - which involve faculty, staff, and students in a collaborative venture that helps solve a problem, answer a question, or meet a University sustainability goal – happen every year. Research into best practices in electronic waste management, audits on recycling rates, and analysis of our campus food system have all led to ideas to improve campus practices.

Beyond research conducted through courses, students interested in conducting sustainability research can apply for academic year and summer research funding.

Boatwright Library’s Sustainability LibGuide features recommended readings as well as specific books and articles, and is a great resource for anyone working on sustainability research.

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Sustainability Research on Campus

Professor Finley-Brook’s GEOG 210 worked with the Office for Sustainability on waste diversion efforts. The class read Garbology and discussed key findings. Following a presentation from the Director of Sustainability, the class performed a waste audit alongside Custodial Services in the fall of 2015.

The class then researched 6 topics related to waste diversion and presented their solutions at the end of the semester. Their work was captured in a blog and proposed solutions were presented to the new Director of Custodial and Environmental Services for potential implementation. One of the ideas, composting in Puryear Hall, was piloted the following semester to great success.

Faculty Involved in Sustainability Research

Faculty from 20 different departments have been involved in sustainability research. These faculty members include:

Jeremy Drummond (Art)
Erling Sjovold (Art)
Emily Boone (Biology)
Jory Brinkerhoff (Biology)
Kristine Grayson (Biology)
Rafael de Sa (Biology)
April Hill (Biology)
Malcolm Hill (Biology)
Roni Kingsley (Biology)
Peter Smallwood (Biology)
Amy Treonis (Biology)
Carrie Wu (Biology)
Christopher Stevenson (Chemistry)
Barry Lawson (Computer Science)
Erik Craft (Economics)
Tim Hamilton (Economics)
Andrew Yates (Economics)
Jonathan Wight (Economics)
Patricia Stohr-Hunt (Education)
Julietta Singh (English)
Mary Finley-Brook (Geography)
Todd Lookingbill (Geography)
David Salisbury (Geography)



Kimberley Britt Klinker (Geography)
Nicole Sackley (History)
Sydney Watts (History)
Stephen Nash (Journalism)
W. Wade Berryhill (Law)
Carol N. Brown (Law)
Joel Eisen (Law)
Wendy Collins Purdue (Law)
Noah Sachs (Law)
Don Forsyth (Leadership)
Christopher von Rueden (Leadership)
Neil Ashworth (Management)
Robert Phillips (Management)
Andy Litteral (Management)
Judith Schrempf-Stirling (Management)
Ellen M. Walk (Management)
Ladelle McWhorter (Philosophy)
B. Rick Mayes (Political Science)
Gerard Gilfoyle (Physics)
Yvonne Howell (Russian)
Elizabeth P. Ransom (Sociology)
Maja E. White (Theatre and Dance)
David Kitchen (SPCS)
Porcher L. Taylor (SPCS)

If you or if you know of someone conducting research in sustainability not on this list, please contact