2017-2018 Energy and Environment Student Research Projects Announced

The Office of Energy and Environment and the Office of Student Life Energy Management and Sustainability are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017-2018 Student Research Project Grants and the Coca-Cola Project Grants, offered to students interested in researching a particular energy, environment, or sustainability-related issue on or near campus. Five student teams were selected to receive funding to conduct research in a variety of topic areas.

OEE Student Sustainability Research Grant – Project Summary

Natural Variability in the Contribution of Heterotrophic Carbon to Tissues of Hawaiian Corals

Student lead: Alexandra Smith, Approved funding: $2,619.18

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, serving as habitat to approximately 25% of the world’s marine species. However, increases in global seawater temperatures and ocean acidification threaten corals existence. Healthy coral reefs utilize carbon as a food source, capturing it from the water column or through a relationship with algae species that live in the coral. Changes in marine conditions stress corals, causing the loss of their beneficial algae and the related carbon food supply. This research project will examine what factors affect the amount of carbon that corals can acquire as a food source, and whether there are other ways they can obtain carbon resources. These answers could help lead to ways for corals to maintain their carbon levels to remain healthy ecosystems.

Coca-Cola Grant – Project Summaries

Plastic Bag Recycling – Pilot Project

Student lead: Michaela Master, Approved funding: $2,622

The student organization Net Impact designed the Plastic Bag Recycling Pilot Project to explore the effect of bin design on the rate of collection of plastic bags for recycling. The team intends to implement the program in the Spring Semester of 2018 by introducing a pilot plastic bag collection in four residence halls with four different style bins. At the end of the semester, Net Impact will utilize the collected data, such as the amount of plastic collected as well as the level of contamination, to propose the best bin design for permanent placement on campus.

AgriCULTURE Gardens and Ohio State’s Student Farm (combined projects)

Student leads: Alyson Gordon and Jamey Weyenberg, Approved funding: $8,925

This project is a combination of two separate proposals. The project will provide funding for a “Pop Garden” on campus and for equipment for Ohio State’s student farm. The proposals were combined in part due to the similarity of their goals. The overall project goals include the promotion of sustainable growing spaces on campus, engagement of more students in a wider range of activities such as beekeeping and microgreen production, and increasing awareness among students and faculty through educational programming.

Carmack Woods Preservation

Student lead: Patrick Sanders, Approved funding: $13,766

The student team plans to evaluate the Carmack Woods land to determine its ecological value and document the importance of maintaining the area in its natural state. The project includes the removal of invasive species and the planting of native species through three events planned for the Spring Semester of 2018. These events will be held in partnership with student organizations and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, a local community group.

Ohio State Residence Hall Compost Collection

Student lead: Maria Ulatowski, Approved funding: $244

The Ohio State Residence Hall Compost Collection is a pilot composting program that will launch on the second floor of Houck House, an on-campus residence hall. The project will provide multiple collection bins for food waste. The students will partner with a local company which will collect the food waste each week. The weight and the level of contamination will be tracked before each collection. Results will be compared with another residence hall compost pilot project.