Campus as Living Laboratory - Sustainability in Curriculum, Independent Study, Capstone Projects, and Research Projects

Geospatial Sciences – Commuter Survey

The Sustainability Office and Department of Geospatial Science conducts a commuter survey at least every three years to measure the Greenhouse Gas emissions associated with faculty, staff, and student commuters. The survey consists of a GIS analysis and a physical survey or questionnaire. The work-study employee will continue developing the GIS model for calculating commuter miles, surveying vehicles or commuters, and potentially developing an application that can be used annually to calculate annual commuter mileage and greenhouse gas emissions. GIS experience and a GIS faculty mentor are required.

-Recycling Inventory

In October 2018, the Radford University Chorale collaborated with the Biology Department to develop a concert entitled, “I Can See the Light”. The focus of the concert is nature and climate change. Choral director Meredith Bowen said, “I want to educate those who don’t know about climate change and show the tools we have to reduce those effects. My hope is that people are moved to small, everyday actions they can take to help save our planet. We will model this one way by providing the program projected on a screen rather than printed on paper.” Biology Faculty Dr. Lauren McCarthy took the program music and message to her ecology lab where students found images that represented the music.

Electricity, Water, and Steam Dashboard

Two Data and Information Management MS candidates began the development of an energy, water, and steam dashboard to display real time usage in RU campus buildings, with the intent of eventually replacing Lucid. The dashboard model was their capstone project and presented with the application and presentation.

Greenhouse Gas Inventory

During Spring 2018, a Junior Physics student collaborated with the Sustainability Manager to collect and process campus greenhouse gas emissions data for the annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The student processed raw data into formats compatible with SIMAP, entered the data into SIMAP, then prepared a campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.

Solar Survey

The Solar Survey was a course project from an Introduction to Environmental Studies class in the Department of Geospatial Science. The students developed the survey to assess student, faculty, and staff knowledge and opinions about alternative energy on campus. The survey was widely distributed across campus. The results were presented to the Office of Sustainability to bolster support for university adoption of alternative energy sources.

Campus Tree Map

The Campus Tree Map is a collaboration between the GIS Center, Department of Geospatial Science, and the Department of Biology to produce an interactive map of campus trees and raise awareness of the value of green infrastructure. The project has been driven by student and faculty collaboration. The map products resulting from the project have been displayed in the Center for the Sciences building, used during campus tree tours each semester, and in class activities. Further, an interactive tour using augmented reality was develop by a student in Geospatial Science to further engage the campus.

Geospatial Science Senior Capstone Project

Using GIS to Identify Outdoor Recycling Bin Locations – A senior Geospatial Science Major conducted waste audits in all campus outdoor trash cans to identify the outdoor cans where most recyclable materials are thrown away. The student processed the data and presented the data with heat maps, a poster presentation, and written report. RU placed outdoor recycling bins at all but one of the recommended locations.

Develop a Campus Sustainability Map

A senior student completed an independent study credit for Geospatial Science by developing an interactive campus sustainability map using ARC GIS. The project was overseen by a faculty advisor and the Sustainability Manager.