Student Research      Printer Friendly

Purchasing Department Intern | Increasing the University's Energy Portfolio | International Green Purchasing | RU Green Building Development | Waste Cooking Oil to BioDiesel for use in a Campus Bus | Health Risk Assessment of the Rutgers Green Cleaning Chemicals | Effective Athletic Department Recycling Programs at Active Sporting Events | Reducing Energey output in Rutgers Dorms | Waste Management and Recycling: University Battery Recycling Program | Zero Waste/Waste Prevention Policy and Program Development  | Energy Conservation, Styrofoam Research

Student research is one of the most crucial components to a healthy, thriving Green Purchasing program. As technology is improving, so are the products being manufactured. Combined with constantly increasing demand for more sustainable practices, student research keeps Rutgers at the forefront of this exciting and innovative field of study.
Here are just some of the projects Rutgers students are involved in (some in collaboration with other RU Departments/Institutes):

Purchasing Department Intern - Top
Develop Purchasing and Contract Management Skills. This is a formal Rutgers Cooperative Program career placement for Student. Therefore, Student will be involved with all aspects of the purchasing process as we develop RFP/Q's, negotiate contracts and mitigate disputes between the University and Suppliers. In addition, there will be a strong concentration on Supplier Development and Diversity throughout this internship. We will also use this internship to identify more emerging alternative energy and technology small businesses within the State of New Jersey and we will work with them as they develop their business plans and strategies to sustain a 'green' business in NJ through tough and challenging economic times. Part of the strategy will be for Rutgers , the County and the other 55 Universities and Colleges in the State to procure and utilize the 'green' goods and services these entrepreneurs develop and to offer training and technology support to them.

Increasing the University's Energy Portfolio - Top
Developing Alternative Energy and Fuel for Rutgers University Fleets and Mechanical Systems; Increasing the University's Energy Portfolio - Research the concept of 'waste=fuel' by investigating RU Dining Waste, Landfill methane waste, and anaerobic digestive systems. Phase II will look at the feasibility of utilizing this fuel on-campus for the Campus Bus Fleet and other RU Vehicles and Equipment. The research conducted will be to investigate a means of producing liquid natural gas for alternative fuel and energy through implementation of an anaerobic digestive system. Student will be working at the Rutgers EcoComplex to learn more about an existing system in hopes of learning how to produce the liquid natural gas on a larger scale. Student will also be meeting with Dr. Lyons and Professor Dunbar Birnie at Rutgers University to develop a means of instituting such a system into Rutgers New Brunswick Campus. The goal will be to develop a system that the Rutgers Fleet can use to fill their vehicles with fuel on campus grounds. This would ultimately make the university more self sufficient in terms of its energy use.

International Green Purchasing - Top
(e.g. Amazon Forest Product Analysis and the Rutgers Connection) Many goods and services (including 'green' goods and services) are produced overseas. Many still come from the Amazon region and other sensitive eco-systems. This project will involve an extensive research analysis of all the goods and supplies utilized by Rutgers University and the connection to the Amazon and other eco-sensitive regions of the world. We will launch this research project with a study of all the raw materials being extracted from the Amazon and Student will work with Dr. Lyons to make any and all connections to the products being developed and shipped to the University. This research project will include an extensive study of our various suppliers as well ... including product development disclosures (which we currently require via our contracts). Since this project can be extremely broad in scope we will initially concentrate on wood and petroleum based products in order to keep the project connected to REI mission and goals. We will also evaluate any and all logistics that are involved and the climate and energy impacts that are part of producing goods and services in South America . Dr. Lyons has spent many years in South America studying the supply chain so we will utilize existing research data and information to aid the student in this research assignment.

RU Green Building Development - Top
Student will be working on a master 'green' building plan for Rutgers . This plan will focus on existing buildings at Rutgers and how the University can develop a master plan to phase in green building renovations and designs as part of a deferred maintenance plan. It is possible to obtain LEED certification on existing buildings however it does require a bit of work. Without a plan of action this task could be even harder. As part of the preliminary research for this project Student will work with Dr. Lyons and several other faculty and administrators (primarily Facilities Design, Utilities and REHS) to examine current practices and building design standards to determine if our existing policies and procedures could facilitate a well developed 'green' building master plan. As part of this study Student will examine an existing building on the College Ave Campus (Scott Hall or an equivalent facility) to examine the process for 'greening' an existing established facility which currently requires extensive infrastructure upgrades.

Waste Cooking Oil to BioDiesel for use in a Campus Bus - Top
This research project aim is to convert at least one bus to use waste vegetable oil from the dining halls, cafes, and student centers here at Rutgers . The major question is whether Rutgers would want to convert a bus engine to run off of straight vegetable oil or process the oil to make biodiesel and obviate the need for conversion. The determining factors in this decision are finances, long-term use, and oil quality. Students will gather information from both transportation and dining services, including the daily fuel usage of one bus and the oil production from dining facilities. Students will also use information from the Lawrenceville School as well. Students will need access to a workspace and chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide and phenolphthalein, in order to test the acidity of the waste oil which will help them determine which technique (biodiesel or straight vegetable oil) would be best. The Students' main goal is to use an overlooked fuel source by any method.

Health Risk Assessment of the Rutgers Green Cleaning Chemicals - Top
This research will be used to develop a matrix and research methodology for evaluating the true health impacts of transferring an institutional cleaning chemical program based on traditional hazardous materials to a 'green' or 'environmentally' responsible cleaning chemical program. How do you measure the health benefits or impacts of making a change and can this data and information be used effectively to communicate the true benefits of going 'green.'? As with all internship projects developed by the Rutgers Green Purchasing Program, this project also has energy conservation implications! All non-green cleaning chemicals are petroleum based therefore, as the University shifted to a bio-based cleaning chemical it significantly reduced its procurement of petroleum-based cleaning chemicals and as a result was able to calculate the carbon footprint reductions as well as calculated energy savings (both will be reported as part of this research study). Lastly, the University can also acquire LEED points based on the use of bio-based cleaning chemicals.

Effective Athletic Department Recycling Programs at Active Sporting Events - Top
A project aimed at increasing recycling within and beyond the Rutgers community. We are hoping to do this by promoting recycling and environmentally friendly behavior at large sporting events, particularly football games. There are already several professional sporting teams that encourage fans to recycle via large banners and also public announcements made by players. A similar program here at the University could educate the community and boost our efforts to reduce our environmental and carbon footprint. In addition to our environmental and carbon footprint, the US EPA considers recycling and proper waste management reduction as energy conservation due to the amount of energy resources it takes to manage and recycle waste. Also, there are huge methane gas implications involved with waste (landfills, compost facilities, etc.) therefore there are greenhouse gas relationships that must be reported as well.

Reducing Energy Output in Rutgers Dorms -  Top
Student Proposition
: Energy use is a large and continually growing cost for Rutgers University and also affects the environment and therefore the world (in terms of global climate change and resource depletion). The students living in the Rutgers dormitories do not have individual utility bills. This makes the students less likely to be conscious about their energy use. Student Intern proposes an incentive system that rewards the students for saving energy. In order for this to work, the energy usage of the dorms would have to be studied. Once it was known for each dorm how much energy is used on a normal basis per season, then that would be set as the standard. The students would then be given back a high percentage of what they saved. This could potentially be a substantial amount of money. For example for a 100 watt light bulb, if it was used for 4 hours a day rather then left on for 24, it would save 60 kilowatt hours in a month, which at 10 cents a kilowatt hour would be 6 dollars saved in one month (or about $25 a semester). There could be many benefits to this practice. One would be the immediate cost savings not only to the student but also to the university. The University could use its portion of the savings to reinvest in its alternative energy and conservation programs. The reward system would also reduce Rutgers ' ecological footprint. Another benefit is the learning experience that the student will gain by being environmentally conscious, which they would hopefully apply outside the university as well. Implementation of the system could include a kiosk in each dorm lobby. This would help students keep track of their dorm's energy usage. Another reward could be given to the dorm that saves the most energy, making it a competition. This could include an end of the year party or perhaps a bigger percentage of money. Another idea is to send a press release to the Targum and other campus papers giving students information on which dorms are in the lead and how much energy has been saved. One more step would be to include a short class during freshman orientation that explains the kiosks and gives students information on being environmentally friendly. This could include ways to save energy but also other environmental issues such as how to recycle.

Waste Management and Recycling: University Battery Recycling Program
 - Top

Student's first assignment will be the development of the first Rutgers University-wide comprehensive recycling guide. After the guide has been developed, Student will work with our operations departments and all other interested and affected departments to promote and implement the guidelines. We will have to work extensively with the Rutgers Facilities Divisions to ensure they are on board and the guide will have to be posted and maintained on the Facilities web site. Battery Recycling: currently, Rutgers University only recycles industrial and auto/truck batteries. There is not a University-wide program for recycling household batteries as well as electronic device batteries (e.g. cell phones, laptops, electronic games, cameras, etc.). Therefore, Student will be conducting in-field research so that the University could consider establishing a University-wide battery recycling program that takes into account the considerable logistics involved. As with all projects, there will be an extensive energy conservation as well as carbon footprint analysis done as part of the research.

Zero Waste/Waste Prevention Policy and Program Development - Top
This project will involve the development and implementation of the University's first Zero Waste Policy and Program. Significant research will have to be conducted in order to set the stage for implementing a zero waste-waste prevention policy and program because the mind-set strategy and shift will have to involve the comprehensive University-wide supply chain as well as personal supply chain ideology. Cultural issues will have to be explored to understand how a shift in strategy from a throw-away society (or university community) will be migrated to a prevention and identification strategy. As a cultural anthropology major, Student will be able to utilize these skills to set up a methodology for conducting such research in concert with the Green Purchasing Program's view of how zero waste compliments effective purchasing and contracting.

Energy Conservation, Styrofoam Research - Top
Energy Conservation 
: This project will research and experiment with several energy conservation concepts in a dormitory setting. Several approaches will be taken: motion detection systems for general hallway lighting will be researched. It was discussed that we would implement motion sensor technology in the hallways 'without' activating the lighting system to the motion sensors. We felt this strategy would provide key data for determining how often the lights would be off versus on and this data could be used to address any safety concerns as well as the potential energy savings. Styrofoam : this part of the research assignment will include a comprehensive study of the University's procurement and use of styrofoam and any and all potential replacement or elimination strategies.

Highland Park Green Project

GE/mtvU EcoCollege Challenge - Rutgers students have submitted a proposal entitled "Reduce the Use - Flash the Cash" Dorm Challenge, a utilities management and reduction project where dorm students get rebates on their Knight Express Cards based on the amount of energy and water they conserve in their respective dorms each month. Visit the mtvU website and vote for our school - if we win we get to host an mtvU Earth Day concert on our campus in April!

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