GSI | Student Research
Student research from GSI, the Global Sustainability Initiative, at the University of Virginia
student research, student projects, University of Virginia, global sustainability, global sustainability minor, global sustainability major, Global Sustainability Initiative, Global Sustainability Initiative at the University of Virginia



Think Global/Act Local Projects: Since Fall 2009, over 1,350 students in the Global Sustainability foundation course have completed Think Global/Act Local Projects. Each semester student teams have collaborated with diverse community partners and the Office for Sustainability to implement meaningful research service learning projects in the community and on grounds at the University of Virginia. See the partners page for more information.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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.