Our campus operates as a living laboratory, providing opportunities to connect the College's sustainability goals and strategies to research projects, coursework, and extra-curricular engagements, exploring, testing, and implementing sustainability solutions in the real world.

The Campus as Lab program:

  • Champions students as leaders in finding solutions to real world problems in the places they live, study, work, and play. 
  • Builds connections with operational departments to identify the challenges and opportunities faced by the campus and the local community. 
  • Supports faculty across disciplines to embed climate and sustainability topics into their teaching and research.
  • Generates resources and research that can have reach beyond our campus, helping Lafayette play a role in advancing sustainability locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

Explore this page for ways to get involved as a student or faculty member, find real datasets ready for use, and access our curated research questions to kickstart your project.

Get Involved as a Student

Course-Related Engagement

Through course projects, capstones, and independent studies, students can collaborate with faculty members and the Office of Sustainability to make significant contributions to advancing sustainability at the College. Learn more about classes with sustainability content and check out our database reported in our AASHE STARS report highlighting courses with sustainability themes.

Research and Special Project Opportunities

Lafayette offers opportunities to participate in sustainability research across 25 departments. A database of faculty members conducting sustainability-related research can be found here.

Students or student groups with research questions or proposed projects can use this database to find a faculty member who has aligned research interests. Students can also use the research questions database to learn about potential upcoming projects or opportunities to tackle something new.

Sustainability Impact Fellows

This fellowship, made possible by an endowment fund sponsored by Daniel and Heidi Hanson ’91, allows students to work on challenging, transformative projects designed to advance the College’s embodiment of its sustainability values while simultaneously offering a unique learning experience. Previous fellows have worked on campus sustainability challenges related to waste, item reuse, biodiversity and behavior change. Learn more about Sustainability Impact Fellows.

Employment with the Office of Sustainability

Both the Office of Sustainability and LaFarm have a range of employment opportunities that allow students the opportunity to to use the campus as a lab and make an impact.

Students work on teams that explore campus datasets, engage and educate campus community members, or advance the operations of our sustainable food loop. Learn more about employment opportunities in sustainability.

Get Involved as Faculty

Course-Related Engagement

Through course projects, capstones, and independent studies, faculty members can go beyond academia and engage with the campus as a living lab. Check out the campus datasets available (see below) or contact the Office of Sustainability (email sustainability@lafayette.edu) to see if there is a way to incorporate real world examples into your coursework. If you have a course not listed in our course database that engages with the campus as a living lab and sustainability themes, please contact the Office of Sustainability to have it added. 

Research and Special Project Opportunities

Faculty can add potential research projects and research questions to the research questions database. Faculty can use the campus datasets (see below) for research purposes and partner with Facilities staff to design and implement operational projects to promote sustainable practices on campus.

These projects can include volunteer opportunities, student group connections, and campus service projects. If you are faculty already engaging with sustainability research on campus and not included here, please contact the Office of Sustainability to be added. 

Research Projects

Data Sets

Real data sets from campus operations and more can provide meaningful foundations for student projects. Data available includes:

If you have questions about these datasets, reach out to sustainability@lafayette.edu.

Curated Research Questions

The linked database has topics have been identified in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, operational departments, and faculty from various academic departments to assist students in identifying potential research topics using the campus as a living laboratory for advancing sustainability solutions.

Project Highlights

Hands-on learning experiences prepare our students to think critically and become engaged citizens ready to confront the environmental challenges of the future.