penn garden rows of veg

Past Projects

Student Eco-Rep Past Projects

Student Eco-Reps work in small groups throughout the year to conduct research on past sustainability initiatives as well as develop and implement programs to promote waste reduction, education and awareness, and energy conservation. 

Types of Projects

Recycling & Waste Reduction

Education & Awareness

Energy Reduction

Ecological Landscape

Student Eco-Reps End of Year Forum

On April 17, 2020 the 2019-2020 cohort of Student Eco-Reps presented their project work to the Penn Community virtually during the Student Eco-Reps End of Year Forum. 
A recording of this forum can be found here.

Recycling & Waste Reduction

Housekeeping Waste Metrics and Strategies (2022)

James Tonrey (SAS '23) and Zade Dohman (SAS '25) worked with Penn Housekeeping and Urban Park staff to assess waste practices at Penn, peer institutions, and local venues and provide recommendations for improved waste management and use of metrics. Read the Housekeeping waste management recommendations here.

Waste Reduction and Recycling in Nursing Simulation Labs (2021)

Johanna Inamagua (SAS ’21) worked with Penn Nursing and consultants from iSpring to develop a waste reduction plan for the nursing simulation lab, an on-campus space for nursing students to obtain hands-on clinical experience under faculty supervision. Read the final Nursing Simulation Lab report here.

Nursing: A real look into recycling in the simulated health care environment (2020)

Anjelique Agudo (NU '21) and Christopher Kwok (SAS '22) worked with School of Nursing staff to understand best practices in simulation lab sustainability. Students researched best practices and actions of other institutions, as well as learned about Penn's own  practices through observations and meetings. The students' project culminated in a series of recommendations to improve practices and waste reduction in Nursing, which would also have the potential for application in labs other Penn schools such as Dental and PSOM. Read more about the Nursing sim lab project here.

Meyerson: Basement Cafe Composting (2020)

Hope Lu (SAS & WH '20) and Johanna Inamagua (SAS '21) worked with staff of Penn's Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES), Weitzman School of Design, and 12th Street Catering to implement a composting system in the basement cafe of Meyerson Hall. This involved understanding the waste stream of the cafe, what current waste disposal systems were in place, and which composting options would be available. Students propose and implemented a composting program and created messaging/educational materials for the program. Read the Meyerson composting final report here.

PSOM: Bin Pairing and Waste Diversion (2020)

Calais Cronin (SAS '21) and Roshelle Kayeyia (WH & SAS '22) worked with staff in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) to improve waste infrastructure and diversion in Blockley Hall and CRB buildings. This involved conducting “before” waste audits in the focus areas, rolling out new waste bins and signage, and conducting a series of “after” waste audits to measure the impact of the new system. Students also had the opportunity to develop communications and educational materials around the initiative. Learn more about the PSOM Bin Pairing project here.

Group of students gathered for Penn Relays

Penn Relays: Waste Initiatives (2019)

Eco-Rep Coordinators Brigitte Baella (SAS '19) and Hannah Sanders (SAS '19) built upon last year's work at the Penn Relays to continue diverting food and organic waste, reduce use of bottled water, and improve overall sustainability of the event. While the project team is still waiting for finalized waste data, read the 2019 Penn Relays draft report here.

Track race outdoors

Penn Relays: Waste Initiatives (2018)

Eco-Reps Artemis Tiburcio (W '18), Hannah Sanders (SAS '19), and Richard Ling (SAS & SEAS '20) worked with stakeholders in Penn Athletics to engage attendees and officials at the Penn Relays in a waste reduction effort.  They separated and diverted organic waste as well as implemented a highly efficient water-filling station to reduce disposable bottle use. Learn more about the Penn Relays initatives here.

Students helping to educate others on how to properly dispose of wastes

Nursing: Fagin Hall Goes Green (2018)

David Gutierrez (SAS '19) and Isabella Viney (SAS '19) worked with Penn Nursing to revamp recycling practices in Fagin Hall.  They ran a campaign to educate building visitors on how to properly discard and disassemble disposable coffee cups. Learn more about the Fagin Hall project here.

Students standing up for Waste Awareness

SP2 Waste Awareness (2018)

Samantha Friskey (SAS '20) and Hope Lu (SAS '20, W '20) worked with the School of Social Policy Practice (SP2) to understand and remedy their waste generation.  They ultimately established a mug sharing campaign to reduce disposable coffee cup use in the offices! Learn more about the SP2 project here.

A debate on whether or not to use 2 or single ply toilet paper

2-Ply or Not 2-Ply (2018)

Orly Arbit (SAS '18) and Nicole Posadas (SAS '20) conducted a controlled experiment to evaluate the environmental sustainability of 1-ply versus 2-ply toilet paper in campus bathrooms. They worked with Penn Housekeeping to develop a tracking system and analyze paper usage in Huntsman Hall and Kings Court English College House. Learn more about this Housekeeping project here.

Residential Composting

Residential Composting (2017-2018)

Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, Sophia Leporte (SAS ’19) and Tiffany Yung (WH ’18) conducted research on and developed proposals for a residential composting pilot program to test strategies for removing food waste from Penn’s landfill stream. In Spring 2018, they partnered with Bennett Composting to start Penn's new Compost Pilot Program for students living on or off campus.  Read the final residential composting report here.

Replacing plastic bags

Replacing Recycling Bags (2017)

Michael Shu (SAS ’17) worked on assessing the potential for replacing recycling bags provided to students living on campus with recycling bins. Overall, survey results point to students favoring the use of recycling bins over the bags. Learn more about the recycling assessment here

Outdoor recycling

Outdoor Recycling (2017)

Karen Chi (SAS & WH ’19) and Helen Dai (SAS ’19) evaluated strategies to improve signage and the physical appearance of outdoor recycling bins near College Hall and the High-Rises to increase recycling rates and decrease contamination rates. Learn more about the outdoor recycling project here.

Education and Awareness

Dining Sustainability Training  (2022)

Majd Ayyad (SAS '25), Sarah Klepesky (Nursing '24), and Seito Sanford (SEAS '25) worked with Bon Appetit to develop a training program for Penn Dining staff about general sustainability and waste reduction practices. Read the full report.

Green Living (2022)

Amanda Sweeney (SAS '24) and Julian Marquez (SAS '24) worked with Penn Sustainability to increase participation in Penn's Green Living Certification program, test ways to raise awareness about the program, and obtain feedback about the survey. Learn more about the Green Living project.

Planning for a Climate and Sustainability Plan 4.0 (CSAP 4.0) (2022)

Bianca Montanez (SAS '25) and Pryce Davies (SAS '22) worked with the Environmental Innovations Initiative to evaluate Penn's sustainability curriculum and integration of academics into Penn's Climate and Sustainability Action Planning  Process. Read more about the CSAP 4.0 project.

Image of analytical analysis of climate literacy survey

Climate Literacy and Civic Engagement (2021)

Abby LaForm (SAS ’22) and Ennie Akinwunmi (SAS ’23) collaborated with the Netter Center at Penn to develop and implement a climate literacy assessment for Penn’s undergraduate student body and K-12 schools in the area. Read the final Climate Literacy report here.

Dining staff chopping vegetables

Dining Sustainability (2021)

Gabriel Torrebiarte (WH ’23) and Pryce Davies (SAS ’22) worked with Bon Appetit, Penn’s contracted dining service, to evaluate the sustainability of food purchased for Penn dining facilities and explore the sustainability practices of Penn’s current food vendors. Read the final Dining Sustainability report here.

Housekeeping staff with equipment

Housekeeping Sustainability Training (2021)

Mark Wasuwanich (SAS '23) and Skylar Cannon (SEAS '22) worked with staff in FRES Housekeeping to enhance sustainability knowledge among over 400 housekeeping staff and encourage them to apply more sustainable practices in their housekeeping work and personal lives. This group recorded a virtual training that was presented to housekeeping staff in 2021 and can be used to spread awareness about sustainability in the future. Read the final housekeeping report here.

PLAN: Students for Zero Waste Conference Analysts (2020)

Maggie Zhang (SEAS '21) and Olivia Fielding (SAS '21) assisted the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) with improving various aspects of their Students for Zero Waste (SZW) Conference. The Eco-Reps working on this project focused on the collection and analysis of data that surrounds the conference. Prior to the October conference, Eco-Reps created a system for gathering data on waste, volunteers, and attendees, which they then analyzed. Read more about the PLAN project here.

PPEH: Total Impact Portfolio Challenge (2020)

Alongside a team of Penn Progam in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) staff and fellows, Anna Hardie (SAS '21), Brandon Nguyen (SAS & WH '21), and Gregory Glova (SEAS '22) developed educational and media materials (blog posts, independent research) around the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge. The challenge focuses on the sustainability of economics and finance. Learn more about the PPEH project here.

Housekeeping Sustainability Training (2020)

Catherine Chen (SAS '20, WH '20) and Marina Dauer (SAS '22) worked with staff in FRES Housekeeping to increase general knowledge of sustainability and help foster educational and engagement opportunities with Housekeeping staff. The team conducted a series of focus groups with employees to measure their base knowledge of sustainability, which was used to develop and conduct a series of trainings. Read the final housekeeping report here.

Wellness & Sustainability (2019)

Students David Gutierrez (SAS '19) and Pearl Liu (SAS '21) worked with Penn Nursing to create web content and programming connecting wellness and sustainability. Learn more about the Nursing wellness and sustainability project here.

The Year of Stuff

Year of Stuff (2019)

Sophie Leporte (SAS '19) and Sophie Thorel (WH '21) assisted the Wolf Humanities Center in integrating sustainability messaging and waste reduction efforts into the center's programs and events for the 2018-19 Year of Stuff. Learn more about the Year of Stuff project here.

Housekeeping Sustainability Training

Housekeeping Sustainability Training (2019)

Students Hiyori Yoshida (SEAS & WH '21) and Chris Fox (SEAS '21) collaborated with Penn's housekeeping team to create a training tool to educate housekeepers on the importance of sustainability, green cleaning products, indoor air quality, and resource use in housekeeping applications. Learn more about the housekeeping sustainability trainings here.

Students working to help grow the Green Living Certification

Green Living Certification (2019)

Hope Lu (SAS '20, WH '20) and Catherine Chen (SAS '20, WH '20) worked to help grow and coordinate the Green Living Certification on Penn's campus, a point-based educational tool recognizing students for their sustainability choices and helping spread awareness of environmentally-friendly lifestyle choice. Read more about the Green Living Certification project here.

Sustainable solutions

Sustainable Solutions (2019)

Sustainable Solutions was a Spring 2019 competition where participants identified and made plans to implement project-based, local solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Philadelphia. The project was developed by Richard Ling (SEAS & SAS '20) with mentorship from Eugenie Birch, Ph.D. in the Weitzman School of Design.

Baseline Awareness

University of Pennsylvania Health Systems (UPHS) :
Baseline Sustainability Assessment (2018)

Brigitte Baella (SAS '19), Andrej Patoski (SAS '20), Melinda Hu (WH '20), and Alejandro Romero (SAS and WH '20) worked with stakeholders in three UPHS hospitals to assess their current sustainable practices.  They looked at waste as well as energy reduction steps taken, and made recommendations for future progress. Read more about the UPHS project here.

Climate Change and Nursing

Climate Change and Nursing: Curriculum Development (2018)

Jessica Li (SAS '20), Karen Chi (SAS '19), and Noya Hanoch (SAS '20) developed an educational module for the School of Nursing to teach incoming students about the connection between climate change and nursing.  They hope that this will increase environmental sustainability practices across disciplines. Learn more about this Nursing curriculum project here.

Sustainability Workshops

Sustainability Workshops (2017)

Soomin Shin (SAS & WH ’19) and Maddie Tilyou (SAS ’19) worked on researching sustainability and green event guides at other universities. They also designed and presented sustainability workshops to various student groups on campus. Learn more about these sustainability workshops here.

Campus Ecology Tours

Campus Ecology Tours (2017)

Carol Chen (WH ’19), April Huang (WH ’19), Emma Shenton (SAS ’19), and Danielle Swanson (SEAS ’19) conducted research on the environmental features of Penn’s landscape and architecture and designed a tour and guide to raise awareness. Learn more about the campus ecology tours project here, and check out the tour packet here.

Penn Community Garden

Penn Community Garden (2017)

Brigitte Baella (SAS ’19) and Artemis Tiburcio (WH ’18) worked on promoting the garden to the Penn community, encouraged participation in cleaning it up, and picked up basic gardening skills to help maintain it. Learn more about the Penn Community Garden project here.

Energy Reduction

Energy Dashboards in the High Rises (2020)

Sophie Thorel (WH & SEAS '21), Chris Fox (SEAS '21), and Hiyori Yoshida (WH & SEAS '21) worked with the Center for Environmental Building and Design, FRES, and other campus partners to research the potential for a dashboard to visualize energy data of the residential buildings on campus. The dashboard focused on the high rise college houses (Rodin, Harrison, and Harnwell), because the best comparisons can be made with these three identical buildings. Read more about the Pennergy team's findings here.

Drying Racks

Drying Racks (2017)

Michael Shu (SAS ’17) also introduced drying racks to every laundry room in Harnwell College House and worked on developing a private rental rack system in Rodin. After collecting data, he estimated savings of $62.72 and 520Wh per month. Learn more about the drying racks project here.

Ecological Landscape

Bird Friendly Penn (2022)

Ennie Akinwunmi (SAS '23), Gabriel Torrebiarte (WH '23), and Lorraina Rojas (SAS '22) used Penn's campus as a living lab to improve bird habitat in an urban setting by monitoring bird strikes on campus and identify opportunities for outreach initiatives. Read more about the Bird Friendly Penn project. 

Penn's Water Footprint (2021)

Hiyori Yoshida (SEAS & WH '21) and Ryan Lam (SEAS '22) worked with the Water Center at Penn to develop a water footprint for direct and indirect water use at Penn's main campus and assess green stormwater infrastructure capacity. Read more about this project. 

FRES: Lichen as a Bioindicator of Air Quality (2020)

Nicole Posadas (SAS '20), Abby LaForm (SAS '22), and Weston Wendt (SAS '22) worked with FRES staff and researchers on campus to audit lichen species—primarily in Penn Park. By utilizing iNaturalist to identify species and by reviewing existing literature, students were able to understand what the presence of specific species indicates about air quality in the park. Learn more about the Penn Park lichen project here.

FRES + HUP: Bird and Bird Strike Tracking (2020)

Ryan Lam (SEAS '22) and Avni Limdi (SEAS '21) worked with staff at FRES and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) to track bird strikes on campus—including what types of birds and where strikes are most common. Students also researched what other institutions do to address this issue, as well as developed messaging to raise awareness about “what to do if you find a bird” on campus. Read the full bird strikes report here.

Penn Park Medows

Penn Park Meadows (2019)

Andrew Nyholm (SEAS & SAS '20), Anna Hardie (SAS '21), and Johanna Inamagua (SAS '21) studied the biodiversity in specific meadows located at Penn Park, which are grown as an alternative to mono-species lawns. In addition to creating biodiversity, these spaces have various benefits such as reduced irrigation, reduced mowing requirements, improved stormwater absorption, and improved ecosystem benefits. Learn more about the meadows project here.

Stormwater Collection in Street Trees

Stormwater Collection in Street Trees (2019)

Students Izzy Viney (SAS '19) and Missy Frankil (SAS '20) conducted a study of the stormwater potential of various street trees throughout Penn's campus to determine their impact on reducing watershed pollution as a result of combined sewer overflows in Philadelphia. Learn more about the street trees project here.

Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands: Soil-less Soils (2019)

Karen Chi (SAS & WH '19), Sam Friskey (SAS '20), and Richard Ling (SEAS & SAS '20) studied the potential to develop and test a low-carbon, rapidly-renewable manufactured soil mix using waste glass products in green infrastructure and urban planting applications. Read more about the soil-less soils project here.