Santa Clara University

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Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project

education-slurp

Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project (SLURP) is an academic program for undergraduates to participate in research projects that enhance sustainable campus living. SLURP consists of two sections, one for lower-division students--catering to freshmen who live on the SLURP floor of Swig Hall (CyPhi RLC)--and one for upper-division students. The program is open to students of all disciplines/ majors. Brief descriptions of the lower-division class fro 2013-14 are listed below.

2013-14 Projects 

EcoMug
This project sought to reduce source waste on campus through single-use coffee cups and promote a reusable mug culture. It was found that many coffee cups are improperly diverted and are excess waste. Limiting the number of necessary single-use cups will help bring Santa Clara University closer to carbon neutrality. Proposed ideas from collected data include an express idea for reusable mug users, an economic discount for bringing a reusable mug as opposed to a disposable one, selling "EcoMugs" and increasing discount incentives on a strategic marketing day (Bring Your Own Mug Monday).

EcoTray
This project aimed to increase the use of EcoTrays on campus in order to reduce single-use container waste and understand students' resistance to the EcoTray system. The main findings showed that most students were not aware of the eco-tray program; those who were, perceived them to be inconvenient. Some suggested solutions include the creation of EcoTray drop-off stations as well as more marketing to encourage knowledge about the EcoTray prgoram.

Orientation
This group project's primary objective was to add a sustainability awareness and education portion to Santa Clara University's freshmen orientation by creating something tangible to highlight the current programs and projects available to incoming students. Prior to implementing this component, research about what current students needed to know and would have liked to know was needed first. Results from data collection indicate that SCU students were confident in their ability to divert waste, that sustainability is a defining feature of SCU and that the majority of students wish to learn more about sustainability but were unaware of such programs upon arrival to campus or during their freshmen year. This year's project resulted in the development of a sustainability flyer that all incoming freshmen will receive and a script for a film being produced by student orientation directors.
Classroom Energy Use
By targeting the behavior of professors, the goal of this project was to reduce energy usage. During research, it was discovered that after the last class session of the day, many lights, computers, and monitors are left on overnight and over weekends. Prompts to spur behavior change were implemented in pilot buildings (Lucas Hall and Arts & Sciences) to affect change.

2011-12 Projects

  • Carbon travel offsets. Photo courtesy of SLURP 2011-2012. Creating Carbon Offsets for Faculty and Athletic Travel to Help Santa Clara Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2015

     By: Carlton Gossett, Athan Hsiao, Blake Leamy, Sean Mohr, Lawrence Tse

    Carbon offsets, a method unused for SCU travel, offers potential in helping Santa Clara reach its goal to become carbon neutral by 2015. We investigated the feasibility of using carbon offsets to eliminate the emissions caused by student athlete and English department travel. More specifically, we constructed 3 proposals with varying aspects such as price, type of offsets, profit vs. non-profit. We tailored a program to fit SCU’s needs. We researched proposals in which sports and faculty travel are offset based on the sum of miles traveled. We believe that this administrative approach will allow for more fluid, future investment in carbon offsets.

  • Freshmen Orientation. Photo courtesy of SCU Facebook page. Keeping Freshman Orientation Fresh

     By: Dana Kilsby, Keely Graskamp, Kyle Calabria, Max Williamson, Sophie Won

    Our research project was founded on the belief that current freshmen summer orientation does not contribute to the University’s effort to become carbon neutral by 2015. The goal of our research project, Keeping Freshman Orientation Fresh, is to discover whether or not moving orientation to the week prior to fall quarter compliments the Climate Neutrality Action Plan crafted by Santa Clara University in 2010.

  • Bettering Benson. Photo courtesy of SLURP 2011-2012.Bettering Benson: Promoting Sustainable Behaviors in our Dining Environment

     By: Kathryn Jacobs, Ellen Yun, Claire Harvey, William Whitesides, Genevieve Magnan

    Santa Clara University's sustainability policy highlights environmental stewardship, education, and service. SCU spends 30 percent of our food budget on local products, and purchases exclusively cage-free eggs, sustainably harvested seafood, as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, milk, chicken, and turkey breast. We feel that our dining and recycling services could be modified to create less waste. The purpose of our study was to discover possible ways of improving the Benson dining system in order to help students make sustainable choices. We focused on the students waste, specifically concerning excess food, disposable containers, and Bensonware theft.

2010-11 Projects

  • compostThe 3 C's: Compost, Compost, Compost

    By: Maggie Anderson, Laura Beck, Mimi Sanicola

    In 2009, Santa Clara University adopted an on-campus composting program as part of efforts to strengthen the culture of sustainability and achieve a zero-waste model on campus. In this study, we sought to learn more about students’ barriers to, perceptions of, and participation in composting programs to identify ways to strengthen the on-campus composting program and help inform the creation of a municipal program in Santa Clara.

  • zipcarBay Area, Play Area: SCU Students’ Perceptions and Usage of Public Transportation

    By: Eric DeFina, Veronica Rodriguez & Michelle Tang

    The goal of our project was to understand SCU students’ behaviors and perceptions of public transportation in order to improve students’ usage of these systems and decrease environmental impact when traveling off-campus. Our project began by studying past research about types of transportation programs such as bike sharing, car pooling, and university transit passes that other universities offered their students. We learned about the programs’ implementation on various university campuses and the feedback they received from their students. With this in mind, we aimed to discover the potential barriers to SCU students’ usage of public transportation in order to promote sustainable student travel in and around the Bay Area.

  • paper stackPromoting Double (Siding) Standards

    By: Navjot Grewal

    Santa Clara University is a campus that prides itself on becoming sustainable and actively seeks to minimize its environmental impact. The campus has taken an active role in providing as many opportunities to recycle and compost as possible, however, there is still significant waste of paper. One potential avenue for reducing waste would be to promote double sided copying and printing. While most university printers do provide an option to print papers in duplex most students do not know how to access the option. This lack of knowledge and lack of resources educating students prove to be a major obstacle in decreasing the amount of paper generated on SCU’s campus.

  • doublesidedprintingSave [1/2] the Trees

    By: Emma Kent, Christian Moreno, Claire Ryan, & Scout Tweedie-Yates

    The Problem: Even environmentally conscious students don’t often use or understand double-sided printing options at Santa Clara University.

    The Purpose: We wanted to look further into educating ourselves and others on double-sided printing. 

    Existing Resources: 

    • SCU installed a new printing system during Winter term 2011 capable of duplex printing
      • We were not clearly informed of this
      • The printers with this capability are primarily in the Learning Commons
    The Goal:
    • Understand the options
    • Educate students about the availability and help them understand how to use this feature
    • Find the best ways to reduce paper use for all in the University
  • gardenburgerMeatless Mondays, Sustainable Food Initiative

    By: Dillon McCord, Miguel Allende, Sam Bayless, Alex Nouaux, Carina Fernandes

    What we eat may have a bigger impact on the environment than any of our other actions. So what can we do to eat more sustainably? Our project sought to encourage sustainable eating habits at SCU and determine the most effective ways of promoting food sustainability. Our initial research showed that eating less meat was the most effective way of reducing energy use, water use, and carbon emissions. In fact, the meat and dairy industry is responsible for emitting more CO2 than every single car, truck, bus, plane, ship, and train in the world combined. It takes about 15lbs of CO2 just to produce 1lb of beef. Based on this information, we decided to launch a Meatless Mondays campaign on campus. Giving up meat for a day is something everyone can do, and something that has a real impact on the environment.

Contact Us

Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053 sustainability@scu.edu