Student Eco-Reps Final Project Reports
Penn's Student Eco-Reps program is an internship program for undergraduate students interested in learning about environmental issues and working on sustainability projects that advance the University's Climate Action Plan 2.0. This year's Eco-Reps have been working in small groups with staff in Penn's Sustainability Office to help implement projects aimed at improving the University's environmental footprint in areas such as waste, energy, food, and water, as well as projects focusing on environmental education and literacy. Read on for short summaries of some of the outstanding projects from the 2017-2018 academic year.
Green Initiatives at the Penn Relays – Eco-Reps Hannah Sanders, Artemis Tiburcio, and Richard Ling
The Penn Relays Eco-Reps team focused on minimizing single-use plastic water bottles from the waste stream and maximizing recycling and compost throughout the Penn Relays event. In preparation, the student leaders worked with the city of Philadelphia, volunteering at the Philadelphia marathon to understand and take away tips on the zero-waste model used there, which were applied throughout the Penn Relays event.
Residential Composting Pilot Program – Eco-Reps Sophia Leporte and Tiffany Yung
Throughout the past two school years, Sophia Leporte and Tiffany Yung conducted research and worked on implementing an expanded composting program on campus. Whereas Penn already composts over 10 tons of food waste per month in its dining cafes and retail space, these students partnered with Bennett Compost and Penn’s Sustainability Office to create an expanded access pilot program open to all students, staff, and faculty outside of Dining. Compost buckets are located at the new community garden behind Harrison College House, and all members of the Penn community are welcome to sign-up and participate.
University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) Sustainability Baseline – Eco-Reps Brigitte Baella, Andrej Patoski, Melinda Hu, Alejandro Romero
In collaborating with the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), these Eco-Reps helped compile a baseline of sustainability practices across HUP, Presbyterian Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Penn Rittenhouse. Their goals for this project were to create a record of sustainable practices and initiatives in a subset of the facilities that comprise UPHS with the goal of helping future Eco-Reps delve deeper into improving sustainability practices within the system.
Integrating Climate Change into the Nursing Curriculum – Eco-Reps Karen Chi, Noya Hanoch, and Jessica Li
In an effort to strengthen the Penn Nursing curriculum, Eco-Reps worked with staff and faculty in the Nursing school to integrate education on climate change for all new students. Throughout the course of their project, the students researched climate change education at peer colleges and universities and ended up creating a Thrive at Penn (TAP) sustainability module for all Penn Nursing freshmen.
The Environmental Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of 1-Ply versus 2-Ply Toilet Paper with Housekeeping and Facilities & Real Estate Services – Eco-Reps Orly Arbit and Nicole Posadas
Orly Arbit and Nicole Posadas worked with Penn Housekeeping department to determine the most environmentally-friendly and cost-effective option for supplying toilet paper in public bathrooms on campus. They devised and implemented a pilot study to compare the amount of toilet paper used when there is 1-ply, 2-ply, or 1-ply with stickers that say “these come from trees” in restrooms. The pilot was carried out in Huntsman Hall and English College House. A tracking system was set in place and followed by housekeeping staff, and the data collected was used to inform purchasing recommendations.
Nursing Recycling 2.0 Campaign, “Fagin Hall Goes Green” – Eco-Reps David Gutierrez and Isabella Viney
For this second project with Penn Nursing, Eco-Reps partnered with staff and students to create a recycling awareness campaign to educate and refresh proper recycling practices for the occupants of Fagin Hall. This project began with a preliminary waste audit to assess the current level of recycling practices, and after reviewing and analyzing the results, ideas about how to communicate effectively with the Nursing community were developed. One of the foremost findings was the importance of educating students on separating waste outside of plastic bags.
School of Social Policy and Practice Waste Audit Project – Eco-Reps Hope Lu and Samantha Friskey
Over the past year, Eco-Reps Samantha Friskey and Hope Lu collaborated with the School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2) Green Team with the objective of improving recycling efforts and overall sustainability practices. The main focus of the project was standardizing the signage above the waste and recycling bins at both buildings associated with SP2 (the Caster Building located at 3701 Locust Walk, and the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (located on 3815 Walnut Street). Additional recommendations were made on ways to reduce food waste and the students conducted various waste audits to assess the impact of their signage.