Good research paper topics in the fields of environmentalism or sustainable development is to write about colleges and universities going green. More and more, institutions, faculty and students are all taking initiatives to go green, adopting ways to help the environment, save energy, recycle and discuss green initiatives.
Consider writing your term paper about ways colleges practice environmental sustainability.
Workshops for sustainability
A good research paper topic would be to write about initiatives by colleges to encourage discussion about environmental issues among administration, faculty and staff. One way colleges around the country are doing this is by holding workshops on sustainability for faculty who are interested in supporting Education for Sustainable Development and Environmental Education and incorporating sustainability into various courses.
In “Green Libraries Are More Than Just Buildings” published in Electronic Green Journal January 1, 2013, George J. Aulisio explained: “At these multiday workshops, faculty learn about sustainability, hear about the various sustainability initiatives on their campuses, discuss with their colleagues from other departments how sustainability fits into their respective fields and brainstorm ways to incorporate sustainability into their courses.” Colleges including the University of Scranton, Middlebury College, the University of Maryland, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are participating in these workshops.
Top 50 green colleges
Another interesting topic is to write about how colleges can adopt sustainable practices, policies and academic offerings. “The Princeton Review Reports Green Ratings for 804 Colleges” is the 2016 list of the top 50 colleges and universities that excelled in their environmental sustainability projects, according to a survey by the Review and the non-profit organization ecoAmerica. The criteria the top schools were based on—which are steps that any college can take to become more environmentally friendly—include:
- commitment to environmental issues
- energy consumption derived from renewable resources
- mitigation of greenhouse gases
- buildings constructed or renovated that are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified
- bike-sharing, mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian paths, carpool, telecommuting
- employment of a full-time sustainability officer
Teaching students how to go green
Not only is administration going green, but so are the students. Smith College in Massachusetts offers environmental tips during orientation. In “How Colleges Are Going Green” posted in U.S. News Money August 25, 2008, Maura Judkis reports: “Smith College students will learn how to minimize their impact on the environment both on and off campus in a pre-orientation program, ‘Sustainability and Ecological Literacy.’ Topics include recycling, how to live a car-free lifestyle, energy conservation, and organic food. Students will tour a power plant, take nature walks, and meet those in charge of the college’s environmental efforts (Smith hired a sustainability director this spring).”
How are students going green?
Another good research paper topic is to describe the many steps college students can take every day to help the environment. Here are some suggestions:
- Bike around campus and into town
- Recycle bottles, cans, cardboard, as well as old electronics
- Take shorter showers to conserve water
- Take only as much food in the cafeteria as you can eat (don’t waste food)
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Shop for locally produced goods and at farmers’ markets
- Buy products labeled as nontoxic, biodegradable and chlorine free
- Have a tag sale to get rid of your old stuff or donate to charity, rather than filling up a dumpster
What are some ways your college has gone green? Tell us in the comments.