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Idea Bank

Welcome to the Idea Bank! This page is a resource for students who want to get involved in sustainability on campus or are interested in learning more about potential improvements the College of Charleston could make to be more sustainable.  Would you like to work on a project, but aren't sure where to start? Or maybe you're not sure how your major could relate to sustainability? All of the projects listed below have been completed successfully at other schools and would be unique projects for CofC students to take on. Any of these initiatives have the potential to receive funding through ESPC! This list is by no means exclusive- there are plenty of other ideas out there that could help to improve the College's sustainabilty. Please contact us with any questions or for more information at

Waste | Energy & Water Conservation | Agriculture | Education | Transportation | Arts | Computer Science | Psychology



Associated Majors:Economics, Public Health, Sociology

Students at Northwestern University orchestrated a clothing drive during move-out at the end of the spring semester. The students worked along "Charity Pickup Service,” an organization that operates local thrift stores. Off-campus students could even request to have their old mini refrigerators, TVs, and other electronics picked up. The goal of the project was waste diversion. A project like this would allow the College of Charleston to divert a lot of its waste during the most wasteful time increment; move-out day!

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Education, Psychology, Environmental Studies

Inspired by the amount of compostable or recyclable items found in landfills, University of Colorado hosts the “End the Disposable Mentality” to remind students to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The event involves educating students about sustainable resources on campus and distributing reusable items to reduce waste.

How can we “End the Disposable Mentality” at the College?

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Education, Psychology

The concept behind a “free shelf” is similar to a book swap; however it is not limited to books alone. It provides a space for students to put their unwanted items and to be able to swap them with other items that students have placed there. The goal is that this shelf would be made out of salvaged wood or materials.

Campuses and communities around the country have implemented this initiative with success. Sharing is a great way to help build a trusting and enduring community connection.

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Public Health, Hospitality and Tourism Management

Students propose the installment of recycling bins outside a popular food pavillion before the warmer season. As the temperature becomes warmer, more students are expected to eat outdoors and dispose waste to the nearest waste container. The easy access of these containers increases students’ incentive to recycle.

How often do we recycle on campus? How can we make people recycle more often?

More information can be found here.

Energy & Water Conservation


Associated Majors: Education, Environmental Psychology

University of Colorado discovered the laboratories consumed more energy than any other building on campus. “Eco Lab Leaders” are employed to educate students about energy and resource conservation in labs, making the laboratories more sustainable.

What College of Charleston department buildings use the most energy? How can we reduce the department’s energy consumption?

More information can be found here.

(2011-2012 PROJECTS)

Associated Majors: Engineering, Geology, Public Health (Waste Water Management)

University of Pennsylvania reduces water consumption by installing 200 shower timers. These timers can be placed either in community showers or individual suite showers. Shower timers can be as simple as an hourglass figure; some shower timers are connected to the shower head and can terminate the shower the main idea is reminding the length of their showers and the amount of water used.

Installing simple shower timers could significantly decrease the amount of water consumed at the College!

For more information on Duke's Greengrant Fund highlight, click here

To find out more about the Digital Shower Timers Project, click here


Associated Majors: Psychology, Hospitality and Tourism, Communication, Sociology, Business Administration, Greek, Leadership Change and Social Responsibility

Indiana University promotes sustainability with friendly competition! A team of students register online to represent a residence hall. One person daily records the residence hall’s highest energy consumption on an IU Energy Matters App, and earns points based on these recordings. The dorms that use the least amount of energy win prizes!

Who would win in a College of Charleston residence hall sustainability competition?

To find out more about Indiana University's energy challenge, click here.

More information on the rules of the challenge can be found here


Associated Majors: Greek, Waste Water Management, Historic Preservation and Community Planning, Urban Studies

Greek houses at the University of Pennsylvania converted to low-flow faucets and  toilets, and use rainwater as a source of water.

More information can be found here.



Associated Majors: Biology, Herbology, Engineering, Studio Art, Architecture

Students from the University of Colorado construct an indoor vertical garden for the college’s art department. The “Wall Garden” club will maintain the garden and collect the fruits and vegetables that the garden produces.

The College of Charleston Grounds Department has experience creating vertical gardens! An article about this can be found here.

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Engineering, Physics, Urban Studies, Community Planning

University of Maryland installs an irrigation system to their garden. This means less water from hoses and more rainwater, saving water and energy.

Could the College of Charleston manipulate or conserve rainwater and use this water for another purpose?

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Engineering, Physics, Urban Studies, Community Planning

Searching for space for a garden? Try the roof! University of Maryland built a garden above the college’s dining hall. All food that the garden produces is delivered and used by the dining hall below. Students and professors manage the garden to also earn some of the produce.  

What if Bistro or Liberty used vegetables from a College of Charleston garden? Could a garden be located on top a building near one of these dining halls?

More information can be found here.



Associated Majors: Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Special Education

Educate the youth! University of Maryland’s preschool and kindergarten lab, attended by the children of the students and employees,  installs a composter and low-flow faucets. This introduces the idea of conservation early on, ensuring environmentally-friendly habits for a lifetime.

Students at the College of Charleston’s Early Childhood Development Center can develop the same skills with the appropriate reinforcement and resources.

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Elementary Education, Education, Geology, Chemistry, Biology

Students created a curriculum to educate local schools about sustainability and how they can lead more sustainable lives by making a few changes.  Funding for this sort of project could help obtain materials for a hands-on demonstration.

More information can be found here.



Associated Majors: Computer Science, Communication, Marketing, Business Administration

The University of Utah created a carpool app named Zimride, by Enterprise, that connects students who live in the same area headed to similar destinations like a concert venue or airport. These students created the carpool app in order to reduce Co2 emissions and traffic congestion. Zimride provides students an easy way to carpool to class, run errands, and take off campus trips. 

While Uber is very popular in Charleston, it is hard to find people willing to share a ride with. This app would help connect students, so that instead of paying the full amount to go to the grocery, movie theater, or beach, they could find someone to share the ride and cost.

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Business, Urban Studies

University of Pennsylvania offers two bike repair stations around campus and are free for anyone to utilize. It helps to promote the use of bikes, allowing Penn to meet their goal of 50% commuters using non-drive alone methods. How can CofC encourage students to use public transportation/bikes to reach of goal of 50% non-driving commuters?

To learn more about University of Pennsylvania's bike repair station, click here.



Associated Majors: Art, Theatre, Architecture & Design

Students from the University of Colorado Boulder are working on creating sculptures made out of recycled materials taken from construction and demolition projects on campus. CofC art students could use materials from the Rita Hollings Science Center renovations to create sculptures that can be installed on campus in support of recycling, history, and art.

More information can be found here.


Associated Majors: Art, Theatre, Architecture & Design

The University of Maryland is looking to use all reused and recycled materials for the creation of sets and costume designs for thesis concerts. Could CofC use repurposed materials and look for alternatives of the disposal of these materials after theater events are over?

For more information, click here

Computer Science


Associated Majors: Computer Science, Business, Social Media

This gaming app allows students and faculty to post pictures of themselves participating in sustainable activities. Everytime you post a photo, you gain points, which you can redeem for gift cards. A system like this could be applied to the College's social media pages on Earth Day, or a day during sustainability week in order to raise awareness and promote sustainable activities.

More information can be found here.



Associated Majors: Environmental Studies, Biology, Psychology

NYU has created an environmental psychology class that focuses on the psychological aspects of how people understand and respond to environmental problems and climate change. Would CofC be able to add this course to the college and make it a requirement for certain minors/majors?

More information on the class can be found here