Maurizio Cattelan Untitled 2007

Each student in Geography 360 will complete an individual or group project resulting in a 30-minute presentation at the end of the semester as well as a report. The project may be applied, part of our growing collection of campus sustainability projects or a more traditional research project looking at things like cryptozoology, ecoanarchism, panpsychism, insects as human food, A Theory of Bear Gryll$, geophagy, environmental art, interpretive eco-dance, etc. Please, no projects on whales. Other than that, topics can be anything at all, as long as you are actually interested in it. No boring topics.

Project Proposal: A two-page project proposal is due Week 6. Please follow the format below and post to the course blog.

Project Title

Project Participant(s): name(s)

Description & overview of project: about 500 words

Outline of project: major sections and subsections of your project, more or less the preliminary format of your final project presentation: about 200 words

Annotated bibliography of at least ten sources with a sentence or two summary of each source (what’s an annotated bibliography?)

  • web sources (with URL)
  • books
  • scholarly articles: JSTOR, Electronic Journal Center, Academic Search Complete:
  • reports (including work on projects from previous semesters)
  • people (contacts you are working with on project)
  • other sources

For Fall 2019

Janelle Valdinger – City of Delaware (& OWU ’20): encore surprise guest star, Wed. Sept. 11, to discuss course project ideas.

Ongoing Projects

Environmental Studies & Sustainability Progress, Fall 2018 (working on one for Fall 2019, this one includes some project ideas that need work)

Olentangy Watershed Forum: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 (Merrick Hall; last year’s press release here. Help plan and organize and host.

The 46 Environment & Sustainability Center (Proposal)

OWU Campus Gardens & Food: Fall 2017-Spring 2018: a lot of interesting ideas here that have yet to be implemented.

OWU Bioretention Cells (installed near Branch Rickey, more planned)

Chimney Swift Tower Project (funded, 2020 construction) & related campus habitats (birds, bees, etc.). This may be a project for the E&S Themed Floor (Residental Halls)

Proposal: Adoption of the Perennial Crop Program on Campus (proposal, needs implementation!)

Proposal: Attractive Superficialities (ideas, not all sustainability-oriented, but fun)

Delaware Run Overview: restoration proposal (stream banking) and OEEF Grant (help with water monitoring and spring event)

Also: work with our newish food service (Jim Pearce, AVI), housekeeping (Ed Pullin, ABM) on sustainability efforts.

Also review below efforts documented for past versions of this course.

For Fall 2018:

Janelle Valdinger – City of Delaware (& OWU): surprise guest star, Wed. Aug. 29

  • Bioretention cells: Fall 2017, Spring 2018
  • more ideas… collaborating with the City of Delaware

Rethinking Recycling at OWU: because this

sECOnd Floor (Social and Environmentally Conscious Options for a New Day): As humans continue to separate themselves from the environment, we lose a fundamental part of ourselves. Building a first-year community experience focused on environmentalism would have a profound influence on the individual, as well as the campus community as a whole. The ECO floor will cultivate compassion and awareness in First-Year students, preparing them for a diverse campus experience. Additionally, students living on this floor would gain real skills for living sustainably, project development, and community building.

Birbs! and other life-forms

Sustainable campus gardens: ideas

Perennial campus gardens: ideas

For Spring 2018 look at three scintillating documents for ideas about campus and local sustainability projects.

  1. OWU now has an officialish Sustainability Plan. Rock J. said yes near the end of last semester. We have to roll it out this spring. The idea behind the sustainability plan is to focus our sustainability and environmental efforts on campus so we actually complete some projects, rather than start a huge bunch of projects we never finish. Ideas for projects for this class can be found in the Plan and I can tell you more about how you might be able to contribute.
  2. Emily Howald has done more than just about any other student at OWU to advance sustainability efforts. Emily summarized progress on a range of projects after her summer 2017 efforts in the OWU Summer Sustainability Progress Report. As with the Sustainability Plan, it is, arguably, better to pick up on and advance an existing project to help us move sustainability forward on campus.
  3. Emily and I wrote up a touching tale of sustainability at OWU, entitled Scrappy Sustainability at Ohio Wesleyan University. This was just published as a chapter in a book edited by OWU alumni Woody Clark called Sustainable Cities and Communities Design Handbook. Have a read for some background on our sustainability situation here at OWU.

Other random ideas:

  1. Campus Habitats: as a follow-up to a project to plant perennial crops (mint, raspberry, asparagus, etc.) in out of the way places on campus, consider planting milkweed in out of the way places to help with the monarch butterfly population plunge.
  2. Composting: in order to begin larger scale composting (of campus food waste) we need a dumpster farm enclosure: this ensures that pests are not attracted to the waste, and that odors and other health concerns with storing scads of damp, smelly, rotting food are addressed. We need to seek funds for this project, and refine the draft proposal during the fall of 2017.
  3. Composting: Ally Niemeyer wrote a SIP grant last semester to get an in-kitchen composter. This fancy item is meant to make composting easier and quicker. We will see! She plans to get the thing going and compare it to more traditional (outdoor) composting. There are other composting issues you can look into.
  4. Emily Howald, STAP Sustainability Coordinator this academic year, suggests the following projects need to be worked on and would be great for students in Geog 360:
    1. Campus Plantings (crops, milkweed, etc.)
    2. Finding instructor for fix-it (repair) activity course
    3. Campus UnPlugged Month (I already have a lot of info, someone to execute and add ideas would be great)
    4. Investigate campus oil divestment with tact (I have a few leads that haven’t responded yet)
    5. Hydration station follow-up (someone to buy and distribute water bottles and find ways for non-students to be engaged too like alumni)
    6. Reusable carryout food containers cost assessment if complete conversion
    7. Food recovery network?
    8. Documenting and gathering GPS data on all trashcans and recycling bins on campus

For Fall 2016 certainly review ideas from previous semesters (below) those that are within the scope of the new(ish) campus Sustainability Plan are important. In addition, a student or two may want to help get the sustainability plan officially adopted by the University.

For Spring 2016 there are a few ongoing projects that might be of interest for the class:

Reusable Food Containers in HamWil: Fall 2015 project evaluating containers here. Identify problems and propose solutions. Promotion and ideas for similar reusable food containers elsewhere on campus. Original project here.

May Move Out: in particular, to review evaluations of Spring 2015 May Move Out and propose solutions to identified problems. Promotion of May Move Out and organization for implementation of Spring 2016 May Move Out. May Move Out 2015 Results here. Also see May Move Out blog & overview of previous May Move Out efforts here.

Bottled Water Reduction Efforts: Fall 2015 project here. Pick up on efforts during the spring of 2015 to reduce bottled water sales on campus. Work to fix problems with existing drinking fountains (aka “bubblers“)Promote hydration stations, propose new locations for hydration stations (for example, in athletic facilities where large amounts of bottled water are used). Promote reusable water containers. Original project here.

Chimney Swift Towers & Campus Bird Habitat: pick up on several projects where students have worked with retired science teacher (and OWU ’73 alumni) Dick Tuttle on bird houses and feeders, bat houses and plans for a chimney swift tower. Propose and construct (with help from Tuttle) additional bird houses and feeders on campus. Help realize plans for a chimney swift tower on the residential side of campus. Recent update of project here. Previous projects on Chimney Swift towers PDF here.

Composting on Campus: Help reevaluate composting on campus, working with Jenifer Way-Young, City of Delaware General Health Department on alternatives to our now defunct partner in composing food waste from Chartwells. Previous project (with campus competing problems) here. Two older projects are here and here.

Meek Retention Pond Native Plantings: Fall 2015 project here. Follow up and plan for Spring 2015 planting of native plant species around the Meek Natatorium. Previous project here.

Help develop a proposal for a community / urban garden on campus by evaluating previous (failed) campus gardens. Outreach to and collaboration with Stratford Ecological Center farms, the Methodist Theological School farms, and the Delaware Community Market. Development of internships and collaboration with Dr. Chris Fink’s Cooking Matters program.


Template (Google Drive) for Course Project Reports


Comments on projects for previous semesters are below and may be perused for ideas.


For the Fall of 2014 it would be great if two groups of students took on two needed projects related to sustainability and environment.

The first is to create a sustainability plan for campus, in tandem with the OWU Sustainability Task Force. How do you create a sustainability plan? Who knows! We will figure it out. We certainly have quite a bit of information on campus sustainability, and would work with Buildings & Grounds on the plan.

The second is to revisit the President’s Climate Commitment. Back in 2008 or so the students at OWU voted overwhelmingly to have OWU sign this commitment. A years worth of work went into studying the feasibility of the Commitment. Much is documented at the Green OWU Blog created for the project. Alas, the effort was halted due to a few unresolved issues (like tracking air miles and worries about OWU’s ability to actually make sufficient progress on sustainability). Rock Jones has suggested that the Sustainability Task Force revisit the Commitment, based on progress we have made over the past years. Why not!

A few other ongoing projects would also serve as great projects: the Delaware Run Restoration project, Paper Use Survey (follow up to earlier surveys), Green Business Survey, trees on campus (the Arboretum), and others (below) that build on the work from previous semesters.


Project Proposal: A two-page project proposal is due Week 6. Please follow the format below and post to the course blog.

Project Title

Project Participant(s): name(s)

Description & overview of project: about 500 words

Outline of project: major sections and subsections of your project, more or less the preliminary format of your final project presentation: about 200 words

Annotated bibliography of at least ten sources with a sentence or two summary of each source (what’s an annotated bibliography?)

  • web sources (with URL)
  • books
  • scholarly articles: JSTOR, Electronic Journal Center, Academic Search Complete:
  • reports (including work on projects from previous semesters)
  • people (contacts you are working with on project)
  • other sources


Below find a series of projects related to our Sustainability Region efforts. All are on campus or in Delaware. Some of these projects have been extended over several semesters by different groups of students. Taking a project, already started, to the next level can be a great way to contribute to an ongoing effort that may end up having a real impact. But you can certainly define and carry out a new project. The projects listed below will give you and idea of the range of possibilities.

Sustainability Region Map/Poster (PDF)

Links below will open a PDF for each project:


Below are ideas and information about projects listed for previous semesters. There are projects below that have been developed as well as ideas that have never been attempted. Certainly worth a perusal if you are still thinking about what you want to do for a project.


For the Spring of 2012 I suggest that the following projects, already initiated (and executed with varying degrees of competence) during previous semesters, be taken on and continued by students in the course. The benefit with such an approach is that we can build on and expand and maybe even get a few projects that have a real impact (rather than just disappear after the semester is over).

Food Awareness on Campus: “DIY Food Festival.” Proposal for a day long series of workshops and cooking demos and eating focused on healthy and politically correct food. Preliminary schedule is complete (see handout) and we have a verbal agreement regarding funding (Chartwells, Healthy Bishop Initiative). For foodies.

eWaste on Campus: “OWU Cell Phone Recycling Program.” Project was proposed and initiated in the spring. Cell phone recycling boxes were secured and located on campus. Administered by the campus recycling coordinator (student position) but could use an organization on campus that would take over the program, and possibly expand it to other eWaste types. Great existing project that needs a bit of work to ensure for the future.

Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality on Campus: “Science Center Atrium Plants.” Proposal for locating live plants in the Science Center Atrium. Benefits and problems of plants in indoor spaces. Project is to the point where someone needs to actually get plants in the atrium (and deal with the myriad of practical issues involved in the process). A good project for a plant fan or bio major.

New Indoor Recycling Bins for Campus: Proposal and design specifications for recycled material recycling bins on campus. Designed by art student (Spring 2011) and taken to the point of prototype (Fall 2011). Carry on project by figuring out how to build these suckers. Work with student from the Fall 2011 course, and Dr. Kristina Bogdanov (Art Department). Hands-on project.

President’s Climate Commitment: Documenting Flight Mileage for OWU paid Travel: Part of the President’s Climate Commitment (which OWU may sign in the future) involves tracking flight mileage for all OWU airfare. How to actually track mileage is much more complicated than you would think. Work with accounting to initiate a workable process for documenting and tracking air mileage.

Stream Restoration on Campus: Delaware Run (on the north side of the old campus) and the unnamed stream between the Science Center and new Aquatic Center are two waterways worthy of ecological restoration. Evaluate options for these waterways, potential for restoration, funding, etc. Preliminary proposals from Fall 2011.

Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum: A funded project to plant hundreds of native species in tree lawns in south Clintonville in Columbus (where Krygier lives). Documentation of existing trees, and creation of a database of information about all trees and other environmental characteristics. $500 stipend available for student work on project. Related to our OWU campus arboretum. For students with an interest in trees.

Delaware and OWU Green Map Projects: A large general map and series of smaller maps of environmental topics related to OWU, Delaware city and county was the outcome of Geography 355: GIS in the spring of 2011. Draft large map is on the wall outside of the GIS Lab (207 Sci Ctr) and smaller maps on the back counter in room 207. Students from the spring Geog 355 course or other students may want to continue work on these projects. The majority of the projects are more or less complete, other’s need more work. There may be potential contributions by Geog 360 students, but talk to Krygier.

  • Olentangy River and its Envrionment
  • OWU Global Environmental Impact Map
  • OWU Transportation Behavior Map
  • OWU Green Trail Map
  • OWU Toxic Map
  • OWU Eating Healthy Map and Cookbook
  • What To Do around OWU: Environmental Activities Map


There are two compiled reports of course projects related to environmental, sustainable, or “green” projects, focused on the OWU campus and area you should review. You may want to consider following up on one of these projects, or at least they should give you some ideas of the kind of projects you could engage in.

Please complete the following for each course project (group projects may be combined or submitted separately):

  1. a time-line (on blog – email me when you post it) including details (research, data, analysis, events)
  2. a project report (PDF with images, graphs, data, similar to Geography 360 Projects, fall 2008) and project product (if a specific product – map, event, proposal to the University – is the outcome of the project)
  3. a project presentation (30 minutes) (end of semester)


Some older course project materials (below) may be of interest:


During the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 we coordinated our course projects with the  Sagan National Colloquium (PDF of Geography 360 Projects, fall 2008) and potential projects related to theOWU Campus Sustainability Task Force.

Some of the projects below are related to the seven goals of the University President’s Climate Commitment. Geography 360 (and Geography 355 projects related to the Climate Commitment are linked on that page.

Please complete the following for each course project (group projects may be combined or submitted separately):

  1. a time-line (on blog – email me when you post it) including details (research, data, analysis, events) due by Monday March 30
  2. a project report (PDF with images, graphs, data, similar to Geography 360 Projects, fall 2008) and project product (if a specific product – map, event, proposal to the University – is the outcome of the project) due by Wednesday April 22
  3. a project presentation (20 minutes) on Wednesday April 22 or Wednesday April 29


The OWU Campus Sustainability Task Force is investigating if OWU should sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The Commitment itself requires adherence to a series of actions (with some potential course projects noted with each):

A. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.

  • B&G weigh in (probably not economically feasible, CWSC example)
  • Document CWSC estimate for Green builidng
  • Document plans for a fully Green cafe on campus (Chartwells)
  • Potential student project for Geog 360

B. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.

  • Purchasing weigh in (economic feasibility)
  • Potentially something that could start immediately
  • contact: Jann Ichida (Immediate Action Task Force)
  • Potential student project for Geog 360

C. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.

  • Geog. 355: collect & map data on all OWU funded air travel (start/end + date)
  • Include other OWU funded transportation: sports teams, CLEAR, fieldwork, mission trips, environmental trips
  • Overlap project for Geog 360 and Geog 355

D. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution

  • Shuttles from Columbus [faculty, airport, Polaris/Downtown], on-campus shuttle [alternative fuel] from west to east campus [to eliminate students driving cars], rickshaw [person or bike powered; OWU buys rickshaws and students paid to haul people]
  • Could begin immediately (at least collecting / mapping data)
  • BioDiesel fueled shuttles (tie to BioDiesel SNC project)
  • BioDiesel or electric campus vehicles
  • rumor of private campus shuttle service in the works?
  • Economic feasibility
  • Overlap project for Geog 360 and Geog 355

E. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.

  • B&G: availability of green power from utilities that supply campus?
  • Study feasibility of solar or wind power generation
  • Wind: OWU & energy company collaborate on wind turbine (where?); OWU alum in wind generation business?
  • Solar: ongoing SNC project
  • Geothermal (earmark money?)
  • Project for Geog 360

F. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution’s endowment is invested.

  • Geog 355: collect data and map OWU investments
  • Project for Geog 355

G. Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.

General OWU Waste

  • Analyze WasteOWU & Paper-Less Campus data & strategize areas to work on
  • Student project for Geog 360: target specific stuff showing up in garbage at high rates
  • Eliminate plastic bottles (water, soda) from campus
  • Student project for Geog 360: paperless classroom project: assess possibilities and limitations of paperless classrooms.  Technological fixes (web or Blackboard), digital text books, digital paper/project submission, digital portfolios (blogs), acquire Kindle or eBooks (donation?).

Food Waste program

  • Chartwells: waste reduction (Food Waste project last semester)
  • Overlap project for Geog 360 and Geog 355 (recovered food waste logistics / food pantries around Delaware)

Compostable Waste

  • Chartwells: collect and transport campus food waste to composter
  • BioDiesel: collect and transport campus waste oil to biodiesel producer
  • B&G: collect and transport campus lawn waste to composter

Rainwater Harvesting

  • Followup on Fall 2008 project
  • Overlap project for Geog 360 (continuing research on rainwater recovery) and Geog 355 (map / database of rainwater recovery / use potential on campus – including campus plant/tree/lawn watering)
  • Jann Ichida: rain gardens on campus

Resources for taking the Climate Commitment actions are here.

The OWU Campus Sustainability Task Force must choose two of the seven actions above and work to implement them in the short term. If OWU signs onto the agreement, we must take action in all seven areas.

Projects Already Underway for the National Colloquium

A summary of ongoing National Colloquium projects is here. These projects were proposed by OWU students prior to the 2008-09 school year, and are currently underway.

Potential Projects for Geography 360 (Spring 2009)

Fall 2008 SNC Projects (PDF)

Projects began by students in Geography 360 last semester and worthy of continuation are listed below. Reports on these projects are in a PDF file here. Students who worked on the projects are noted, and are in most cases willing to advise students who are interested in continuing the project.

WasteOWU: Molly Verhoff (
Paper-less Campus: David Ebenhoh (
Food Waste Project: Adrienne Found (
Bringing Biodiesel to OWU: Sydney Fitzpatrick (
Rainwater Harvesting at OWU: Manav Menon (
Frisbee Golf at OWU: Earl Hamlin (
Outdoor Spaces at OWU: Mark Wall (
Mapping Green OWU with Google Earth: Hasani Wheat (

A few more potential projects that might be of interest:

No Cars on Campus Week (Day, Month?): Arrange a period of time when no vehicle traffic will be allowed on campus. Research other examples of limiting or restricting vehicle traffic, potential impacts, etc. How to communicate it, make it work, and deal with exceptions. The difficulty of restricting vehicles (deliveries, grounds, emergency, etc.). Get Honda to loan a few hybrid cars to drive people around that have limits on their ability to walk, or can’t walk. Potential for longer-term vehicle restrictions on campus, sustainability.

Carry Your Garbage for a Day Day: faculty, staff, and students must carry all their refuse for one day. Tie to general information on garbage generation and draw attention to the ways you can cut back (so you don’t have to carry so much). May be done once at the beginning of the semester and once at the end with “weigh-ins” to see if people can decrease their garbage.

Earth Hour at OWU: One hour lights and electricity off. OWU participates. Research on idea, background, problems, etc. Potential for continuing in the future.

No Plastic Day (week?): Research problem of plastics and implement a plastic free day on campus.

Buy Nothing Day: Implement on campus. Possibly extend to several days, at different times of both semesters. Research potential impact, benefits, problems, potential for sustainability in the future.

Do Nothing for the Environment Day: Research, design, and plan a day of minimal impact on the environment. Minimize any activities that adversely affect environment. Importance of idleness and less activity in shaping an environmentally sustainable future.

Environmental Justice in Delaware Atlas: Ongoing project of environmental and social issues in and around Delaware. Draft done early this summer. Specific projects (where are all the recycling locations in Delaware?) may be tied into project next academic year.

3 Responses to Projects

  1. kras says:

    i love projects

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