GSI | Student Projects
Global Sustainability Foundation Course student projects, by semester and topic
student projects, foundation course, global sustainability foundation course, University of Virginia, global sustainability, global sustainability minor, global sustainability major, Global Sustainability Initiative, Global Sustainability Initiative at the University of Virginia


Since Fall 2009, nearly 1,800 students in the Global Sustainability foundation course have completed Think Global/Act Local Projects. Each semester student teams collaborate with diverse community partners to implement meaningful research service learning projects in the community.

See the partners page for more information.

Timbercreek composting
Timbercreek Composting

Restaurants generate an unbelievable amount of waste, which simply sits in a landfill decaying and releasing harmful methane gas into the atmosphere. So we worked with a local, family-owned farm, Timbercreek Organics, to promote restaurant composting.

Community Partner

To assist the Albemarle Home Improvement Program in implementing a sustainable approach to renovations of low-income housing, our team has focused on identifying precedent programs/projects to inform possible approaches and funding strategies.

Local Food Show at the Fine Arts Cafe

To improve upon the Show that occurred the year before, educate the UVa population about local food and its many benefits, as well as informing participants about the initiatives of the Fine Arts Cafe to support local food.

recycling elementary
Recycling in Elementary Education

To combat the widespread lack of education about environmental responsibility in America, we have devised lesson plans and the "Trash Dash" to help elementary students learn about these issues.

norris dorm recycling
Norris Dorm Recycling

We worked to identify the current recycling habits of Norris' residents through a waste audit & survey and raise awareness about the importance of recycling after.

Zero Waste Athletics

Zero Waste Athletics is a student group at the University of Virginia, which focuses on reducing the landfill waste produced by concessions at athletic events by 90%, diverting the waste into recycling and composting.

Zero Waste Pilot Audit

Pilot audits are conducted to experiment, on a small-scale, the effectiveness of a school’s campaign in reducing waste before determining a large-scale approach at waste reduction.

SustainUVa App

The SustainUVa app will create a centralized, up-to-date platform for sustainability-related events, information, and groups that will increase the sustainability engagement and education of the UVa community.

Generating Interactive Signage

The Paradise Creek Nature Park seeks to provide children with access to a sustainable nature park where they can learn about environmental issues and cultivate a relationship with nature.

Paradise Creek: The Seven Steps of Stewardship

The protection of the Paradise Creek area and the Elizabeth River in general cannot be sustainable solely through on-site project, but rather requires that surrounding communities and business be educated and engaged in the process.

STARS and Daylighting in Campbell Hall

As a team, we set out to update the STARS report for Campbell Hall and perform a lighting audit in the studio areas of Campbell Hall with the hopes of implementing an effective daylighting system.

Peer Institutions

This report provides a compilation of research on successful implementations of sustainability in the curriculum by comparable peer institutions, and a recommendation on how to begin integrating it here at the University of Virginia.

Belmont and Woolen Mills

We plan to address the sustainability issues in the Belmont and Woolen Mills area using a sustainability evaluation chart to evaluate certain criteria such as walk-­ability, pedestrian density and resources, such as access to schools and community engagement centers.

wind turbine field less_above waterSMALL
Kidwind Project

In order to educate the UVA and Charlottesville-Albemarle communities on the viability of wind energy, our team constructed and tested several wind turbine designs, including both horizontal and vertical axis turbines.

renewable energy open dialogue
Renewable Energy Open Dialogue

Our group’s objective was to host a Renewable Energy Dialogue for the UVa and Charlottesville communities by bringing together students from different disciplines.

starting a movement
Starting a Movement

Starting a Movement aims to expand student knowledge of the sustainability methods and initiate a trend that inspires long-term student participation and awareness.

locust groves and martha jefferson
Locust Grove and Martha Jefferson

The objective of this project is to educate the neighborhoods of Martha Jefferson and Locust Grove about sustainability through transportation, health and safety, green versus urban space, culture, and density.

Barracks/Rugby and Greenbrier

The new movement of the times focuses on connecting human beings to the environment in a different way: through the creation of livable cities and towns that enhance both the quality of life of their inhabitants and the quality of the environment.

cville placemaking
Charlottesville Placemaking

With our transportation, block size, and building density maps, we have discovered where sustainable places exist within the City of Charlottesville.

city schoolyard garden symposium
City Schoolyard Garden Symposium

City Schoolyard Garden is a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia interested in broadening its own horizons through a symposium event that would include similar garden programs from the region.

Obstacles in Paradise

To design activities that facilitated a relationship between the community’s families and the natural environment, while also encouraging team-building skills and knowledge of the local ecology.

waste at west range
Waste at West Range Cafe

The West Range waste audit formed the basis for making current recommendations and will serve as the control for determining future implementation success.

Downtown mall_starrhill
Sustainable Places: Downtown Mall, Starr Hill

Studying the success and sustainability of two places, we instantly recognized that Downtown is a popular commercial destination, while Star Hill is mainly a residential area with not much attraction for visitors.

JPA, Fry Springs
Sustainable Places: JPA, Fry Springs

We have evaluated portions of JPA on terms of sustainability and constructed the following report using all the information gathered so that this analysis can be delivered to the PLACE Design Task Force.

Barracks Rd, Lewis Mt, the Meadows

Our objective in this project was to analyze three neighborhoods –Barracks Road, Lewis Mountain, and the Meadows, and to figure out what works in these areas in terms of walkability and accessibility to basic necessities

resource for local food
Resource for Local Food

Hoos Local: providing a constantly expanding resource to educate and increase awareness about local food options and opportunities in Charlottesville to the Uva community.

recycling in apartments
Apartment Recycling

Many off-grounds apartments do not provide recycling services, and we aim to push the student voice to raise awareness of the issue.

Sustainable Clothing Alternatives

Clothing is not very well considered when one decides to live a “green” lifestyle. Our objective is to make our student body aware of the importance of wearing and supporting sustainable clothing.

stormwater reuse
Stormwater Reuse

To reduce inefficient use of potable water we decided on implementing a feasible storm water system in the proposed FMSEAS building after forming a cost benefit analysis and justifying the system financially and socially.

urban precedent and funding
Urban Precedent and Funding

Precedent and financing on an urban level: to find relevant examples that Albemarle Housing Improvement Program could apply to their project site.

project act locally
Project Act Locally

In search of a successful green construction method for the Albermarle Housing Improvement Project to use in their local housing renovations.

green neighborhood with AHIP copy
Green Neighborhood with AHIP

The goal of this project is to research some of the most well known up-and-coming sustainability building techniques, LEED, Passive House, EarthCraft, and Energy Star, in order to assess whether they would be beneficial for the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP) to incorporate into their business plan.

AHIP and Habitat for Humanity

To assist in AHIP and Charlottesville’s Block by Block initiative in the 10th and Page neighborhood by eliminating substandard housing and keeping affordable housing.

zero waste at scott stadium
Zero Waste at Scott Stadium

The Waste Quantification team set out to provide a rough empirical analysis of the waste flow leaving Scott Stadium on a typical game day.

zerowaste-project precedents
Zero Waste Football: Project Precedents

We contacted other schools and athletics organizations that had already implemented some sort of zero-waste program and inquired about behavioral changes, product conversion, personnel involvement, and receptacle distribution.

UVA Biking: Enforcement

To educate and enforce the rules of the road for bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians for a safe and problem-free University of Virginia community.

Bicycling on Grounds and Beyond

In collaboration with the UVA Parking and Transportation Department, the Encouragement Group influenced people to use biking as a mode of transportation.

cycling around grounds and beyond
Cycling Around Grounds: Bike Share

To bolster the bike share program already in place with our own polling and research and get a clearer picture of what affect a bike share program would have on people and grounds.

Biking on Grounds: Engineering

To find a tangible solution for improving cycling on grounds, we addressed the deficiency in parking space and adding more bike lanes to city and campus streets.

Runk Dining Hall Waste Audit

We conducted a waste audit of Runk Dining Hall In order to address the problem of excess food waste that eventually accumulates in landfills.

Newcomb Waste Audit

Newcomb Dining Hall Waste Audit Project quantified food waste produced by students in the Newcomb Dining Hall at the University of Virginia to heighten awareness among the student body and reduce waste.

Fine Arts Cafe Herb Garden

Our project addresses the pressing issue of unsustainable food production through the establishment of a garden, which will grow basil as a local herb source for the U.Va. Fine Arts Café.

Fine Arts Cafe Waste Audit

We hope to curb wasteful habits within the Fine Arts Café as well as the University of Virginia community and to raise student and staff awareness of more sustainable food options and habits.

wind turbine field distant_above water
Energy Education Kick-off

We chose to help organize a kick-off event for the greater Charlottesville community to spread awareness, knowledge, and excitement about wind and solar energy.

Energy Education at Henley

The goal of our project on wind and solar power was to educate and inspire the students of Henley Middle School as a part of the overall “Wind for Schools” initiative.

wind turbines and smokestack
Elementary Energy Education

To excite, to engage, and to educate the youth about sustainable energy sources in hopes of promoting more awareness throughout the Albemarle community.

Discovery Museum Exhibit

Our group, Team Discovery, planned and executed an exhibit at the Virginia Discovery Museum to read about wind energy, study an actual wind turbine up close, and participate in hands-on activities.


University communities have always been a principle forum for social change and with the growing global debate over environmental issues and sustainability, this forum must be used to channel education and awareness.

Sustainability Guide: Marketing

The goal of our workshop as a whole this semester has been to create a student sustainability guide that increases awareness of current environmental issues and increases participation in sustainability efforts around grounds.

Sustainability Guide for Students

With over 50 sustainability-related organizations available to students, some problems arise that may actually prevent further growth of such sustainable activities.

Sustainability Guide: Greenformation

To develop a comprehensive sustainability guide for University students by researching initiatives at other universities that had been successful in promoting sustainability.

STARS: Grounds, Transportation, Waste

We have analyzed the annual facility summaries of Campbell hall provided by our community partners to determine consumption trends and identify unsustainable areas that we can improve.

STARS Sustainability: Education

To research, gather, and assess information necessary for the University of Virginia's School of Architecture's STARS report within the category of "Education and Research".

STARS: Building, Dining, Purchasing

Focusing on the “Building, Dining Services, and Purchasing” categories includes the operations of the Fine Arts Cafe, the purchasing and allocation of computers and paper supplies, and the use of cleaning supplies on the premises.

Zero Waste Football

The objective of our initiative is to reduce as the amount of waste traveling from Scott Stadium to the landfills by making Scott Stadium “zero‐waste.”

Wind turbines big_ and boat
Wind Turbine Education

The central goal our group is to effectively and efficiently convey the functions of wind and solar energy to students at Henley Middle School in Crozet, Virginia.


Sustainability on a university wide basis here at the University of Virginia

Project Green Light

Project Green Light is designed to address the multi-faceted problem of incandescent light bulb inefficiency and consumer wariness of compact fluorescent light bulbs.