Center for Sustainability
Georgia Southern University

Sustainability Practicum Participants

2016 Practicum Students

Jade Bowles, General Studies Major

Inspiring Students to Change Their Habits Through Friendly CompetitionJade Bowles

The purpose of this country-wide competition was to help challenge students to take action in trying to reduce waste and make recycling a habit. RecycleMania attempts to use school pride as motivation to get students to recycle. The competition between 400 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada lasts for 8 weeks; the winning school gets recognition and a trophy made from recycled materials. Our focus was to use creative means to inspire students about recycling. With help of student volunteers, we constructed a sculpture of recycle symbol made out of cardboard recycled on Georgia Southern campus. The sculpture was then installed in the library and students were encouraged to be creative and contribute to the sculpture by drawing, writing, and coloring onto the sculpture. The sculpture was surprisingly a big hit; the students filled the whole sculpture with inspiring drawings, and opinions on recycling and the world today.


Brianna Boyd, Interior Design MajorBrianna Boyd

Sustainable Healthcare Design

During Spring 2016, I was given the task of renovating the historical Van Buren building and incorporate sustainable design solutions. I was asked to renovate it for the use of the non-profit clinic here in Statesboro, GA called Hearts and Hands. To become more familiar with what needed to be done to satisfy the needs of Hearts and Hands in the most sustainable fashion, I research different case studies and articles. With the information I gathered, I decided it would be best to focus on water conservation, occupancy wellness, and sustainable furniture, fixtures and materials. Specific examples include a water harvesting system that will be used to irrigate the plants, an outdoor garden to soothe the nerves of patients and volunteers, furniture made with recycled content, energy efficient light fixtures, and fabrics made with rapidly renewable materials. While the project may not ever be fully carried out, it was still a great experience applying all of the knowledge I gained in making this holistic and sustainable facility.


Jullian Gonzalez, General Studies Major

Gwinnett County Environmental and Heritage CenterJullian Gonzalez

During the Fall 2015, I worked with the Gwinnett County Environmental and Heritage Center by volunteering for several events geared towards educating the youth. One of the big events we touched on was the waste water treatment plant in Gwinnett County and their efforts to sustainability use all parts of waste water for energy. A huge percentage of the facility is actually powered by methane. I also have worked with the team at the Environmental and Heritage Center on a carbon offset program that will be presented to local schools. The goals is to come up with a way to offset carbon that is omitted during the commute to and from school through planting native trees in the area. Not only will this program be beneficial towards the environment but it will also be a great way to educate students while they get hands-on experience on sustainability efforts that they can pass on and use in their local community.

During my time at the EHS, the team and I worked on conducting efficient measures on maintaining the bog garden seasonally as well as researching several plants that work best within the garden. This project was taken from conceptualization of the best way to lay out several different species of pitcher plants to execution.


Molly HopperMolly Hopper

Town of Portal/EPA Atlanta

During the spring of 2016, I partnered with the City of Portal and the EPA division in Atlanta to complete a practicum focusing on water quality. I combined this as a part of the College/Underserved Community Partnership Program to help assist Portal in ways they were lacking assistance. I entered 2 years of water quality data for the EPD required reports. I ran trends and compared them to the EPA and EPD requirements for waste water treatment. I also received hands on experience working with the city’s waste water operator to collect and report water quality data, while also observing and learning the process. I presented my findings and proposed viable solutions at the CUPP Conference in Atlanta and the Portal city council meeting. I gained valuable experience and connections while working with these two groups. I had a great experience pairing with the City of Portal and I think they will benefit greatly from a continued relationship with a Georgia Southern University student in the coming semester.


Shannon Keating, Interior Design Major Shannon Keating

Sustainable Renovation of Healthcare Facility

This project aims to renovate the Van Buren Sanitarium in downtown Statesboro, GA in order to create a new space for a non-profit healthcare clinic called the Hearts and Hands Clinic. Specifically regarding sustainability, this renovation project aims to decrease the amount of energy, water and resources consumed during the renovation process as well as everyday function. The impacts of these energy/water/resource savings are important because the budget for this projects is almost non-existent, and funds are minimal to keep the business running. This project aims to create a functioning, aesthetically pleasing environment where clients can feel comfortable, but also requires as little energy and funds as possible. The approach to solving this problem includes many different aspects including: faucet aerators to save water; using grey water for plumbing; utilizing a thin client system to decrease the amount of heat produced by computers; information provided on TV screens in the main lobby; a greenhouse in the back of the building to supply a garden area for employees to grow fresh fruits and vegetables; bicycle racks provided in front of the building to promote alternative transportation; native plants on east and west sides of the building to shade the building and decrease heat transferred into the space; blinds to lessen heat transfer into the space; sustainable/recyclable/recycled materials and finishes for the interior; as well as a geothermal pump system to cut costs of heating and cooling during the summer and winter months. These methods are shown through the use of sustainability construction plans and site plans. The results are significant in savings of energy as well as money for the clinic that is planned to utilize the space. These methods are significant because it provides a better environment for clients as well as employees and saves operating costs for an already tight budget for a non-profit clinic that provides care to many people in Statesboro, GA. The overall results of this project are positive, and potentially essential in the operation of this clinic, as well as putting a historic building to good use in Statesboro.


Ashe Kelly, Biology Major

Ashe Kelly

Afterschool Garden Program

During the Fall semester of 2014, I had the opportunity to assist the Center for Sustainability and the After School Garden Program with helping teach youth about plants and the importance of gardening. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I would travel to one of the five elementary schools in and around Statesboro to provide an engaging and interactive learning environment for the kids. Some of the material covered included what plants are, their importance to people, and why we should care about them. This was a ten week program in which the first half focused on gardening while the other half focused on nutrition. The children especially enjoyed the first few weeks when going out to the garden beds every week to see the growth of their vegetables. Not only did this provide the youth with a new found love of plants, but also the importance of hard work and patience. This was an enriching experience for both the children and myself. As a result of my time spent helping these children, I developed a better understanding on the importance of educating those around me.


Leslie May, General Studies Major

Leslie May

Afterschool Garden Program

In the Spring of 2016, I worked as an After-school Garden Program teacher at Sallie Z Elementary School for my practicum. One day a week for 45 minutes I would go out to the school and teach 2nd grade students about the basics of plant biology and how to grow their own fruits and vegetables. The program lasted for a total of 6 weeks focusing on the plant life cycle, photosynthesis, plant parts, and friends and foes of the garden. The students were taught how to use sustainable practices while gardening such as the use of a compost bin. Each day the kids and I would go out to the garden and learn about plants, play fun activities, and actually get to plant some vegetables of our own. This semester we planted potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, and radishes. Additions I made to the program this semester were the Egg Carton planters, K-cup planters, and interactive felt board. The egg carton and k-cup planters were sustainable ideas that taught the students to give old things new lives. The students were able to plant their own roma beans inside of the k-cups to take home and care for on their own. The interactive felt board was introduced during the week of photosynthesis that allowed the students to demonstrate their knowledge through hands on learning. Completing this practicum allowed me to connect the importance of sustainability and gardening through a fun and interactive program.


Marteniece Rooks, Interior Design MajorMartineice Rooks

Sustainable Healthcare Design

The mission of this project is to move the Hearts and Hands clinic into the Van Buren building, which needed major renovation and care. As a class we first went to the Van Buren building and took interior and exterior measurements. The second thing we did was acquired a “need list” from the Hearts and Hands Clinic. Through research, I based my project off the Baobab tree. This tree is known as the tree of life with good reason. It provides food, shelter and nutrients to the animals and humans that surrounds it. There are different species, all in the African region and each one of them shows strength and adaptability no matter the location. By this being said, I incorporated strength, adaptability and organic shapes into my Healthcare Design project through the materials used and the spacing of the layout. The symbolism of the Baobab tree fits well with this facility because Hearts and Hands is a free clinic, providing free services to the local citizens of Statesboro, GA.


Megan Sanders, Biology Major Megan Sanders

Comparing Mammalian Biodiversity

One aspect of being a sustainable university entails operating without reducing biodiversity, however, many colleges do not know what species currently inhabit their campus. Georgia Southern University initiated a vertebrate biodiversity survey on its campus to obtain data for future sustainable development and management of the campus. Mammals in particular can be challenging to survey due to nocturnal behaviors. Camera trapping is widely accepted as an accurate, minimally invasive method for surveying mammals. These traps are often paired with various forms of stimulation such as bait or scent lure to increase detection, commonly pursuing a target species. The goal of this study was to compare mammal biodiversity of Georgia Southern University’s rapidly developing campus with that of a rural, undisturbed area of land to further gauge how sustainable Georgia Southern is functioning. We assigned four camera-trapping stations to both properties and paired mammal urine with each station in attempt to attract all species in the area. Overall, eight distinctive mammal species were detected on campus and eleven different species were detected at the rural property. There was not a significant difference between species found on each property (p-value = 0.724). Based on the results of this study, Georgia Southern University’s mammal biodiversity is similar to that of a natural area; it appears that Georgia Southern is not diminishing its wildlife.


Kelsey Saunders, Biology MajorKelsey Saunders

Afterschool Garden Program

The After-school Garden Program is an outreach program sponsored by Georgia Southern’s Center for Sustainability. The program visits five different elementary schools throughout Bulloch County to teach garden practices and benefits to first and second grade students. Over the course of five weeks, the students learn about the importance of plants, their life cycle, and the environments in which they live. In previous semesters, there was no way of evaluating what information the students were able to learn during our time together and what material was difficult for the students to understand. It was my goal this semester to add assessment to the curriculum. The purpose of adding the assessment is to analyze the knowledge of the students regarding the lesson plans both before and after the lessons were taught. This information can be used to gear the lesson plans for the students in a way that will make our teaching as effective as possible. Future practicum students are encouraged to add their ideas to the assessment portion of the program as the opportunities to evaluate the students in a fun and effective way are endless. Other additions I made to the program included the contribution of fun games and hands-on experiments to the curriculum.


Grace Smith, Interior Design MajorGrace Smith

Sustainable Healthcare Design

The Capstone Project for my Sustainability Concentration was included with my Interior Design Studio V Healthcare project. The project involved restoring an old building in downtown Statesboro called the Van Buren Building. The building was originally a hospital that served many during an influenza epidemic that broke out during WWII, so our class wanted to re-purpose it in a way that would be true to its origins. The perfect solution was to relocate Statesboro’s Hearts & Hands Clinic, which is in need of a new facility.

My project focused on designing the interior space of the proposed Hearts & Hands Clinic in a way that would suit the needs of patients and staff in a sustainable way. Using sustainable materials that meet healthcare codes while still maintaining a comfortable environment was a challenge. However, with research of evidence-based design and sustainable healthcare options, I learned a lot about how to apply these finishes in a way that promotes wellness for the patients’ recovery and the staff’s overall health. My design included a site plan on which I added in ADA compliant wheelchair ramps to the front and back of the building, planted native trees and shrubbery around the building, and incorporated indoor and outdoor plants. Having indoor plants within interior spaces has been proven to improve overall air quality and mental health and wellness. I built space for a garden behind the facility where patients can grow their own vegetables and herbs and share food with the community. Having these plants to attend provides mental and emotional relief from the stress of illness in addition to the health benefits of having community-grown vegetables and herbs to eat. This combined with the sustainable design of the interior will provide a space that promotes healing for the people of Hearts & Hands and a restoration of the Van Buren building to its significant influence in the community of Statesboro.


Emanuel Stovall, Interior Design MajorEmanuel Stovall

Sustainable Healthcare Design


Alexcia Taylor, Biology MajorAlexcia Taylor

Food Waste Composting Pilot Project

My practicum consisted of partnering with Eagle Dining to start a Compost Pilot Program. Before the program was implemented, I researched the definition of composting, how to, and what to compost and how other universities started their compost program. This information was communicated to Eagle Dining staff for their part in the food separation training. The pilot program collected pre-consumer vegetable and fruit waste from Dining Commons. The food waste was transported by Equipment Transport System (ETS) to the compost processing site. From there, I mixed the food waste with wood chips and created a compost bin. After we made our four compost bins, we either turned, measured or added more food waste to the bin. Our method of weighing the food waste was attaching a scale to the five gallon buckets. The compost bins were created with wire mesh and lined with cardboard. Our methods and results were recorded for future reference in Fall 2015. At the end of the pilot program in Summer 2015, we diverted 1,429 pounds of food waste from the landfill.


Dylan Walls, Biology Major Dylan Walls

Plant Pots & Productivity

In Spring 2015, I worked closely with Waters Avenue Nursery, a small garden center in Savannah to decrease the amount of plastic containers being discarded from plant use and sales. I with large plant suppliers to encourage the repurchasing of used plant containers. I established an incentive program whereby customers would return their used containers to gain points that could be redeemed for store credit. Each customer received a personal identification card in the shape of the “Bird Girl” that matched the company’s logo to keep track of the points. By utilizing my concentration in environmental sustainability, I was able to successfully implement a program through which the supplier, garden center, customer, and environment benefited. I presented this practicum during No Impact Week where I stirred interest by providing students succulents where their visibility would be a continuous reminder of their environmental responsibilities.


 

2015 Practicum Students

Maggie Aurelio, Geology and Geography Lab Assistant

Statesboro Green Guidepic

For my practicum in fall 2015, I created a “Green Guide” resource for the Georgia Southern University and Statesboro Community. This resource is in the form of a webpage on the Center of Sustainability website and contains information on topics such as waste, energy, water, transportation, biodiversity, and food. This semester I did extensive research on the above topics and also spoke with several faculty members about living sustainably and what it meant to them. In October, I attended Green Fest and spoke to a variety of community members and students to get their perspective on being environmentally friendly and their thoughts on living sustainably within the area . Once the webpage was complete, I created a short survey for students and faculty members to fill out and add any suggestions about what they would like to see added. I hope that students, faculty members, and community members find this webpage useful! After graduation, I plant to further my research on how to live more sustainable. Website Link: Website Link:  http://academics.georgiasouthern.edu/sustainability/about-cfs/links-of-interest/


Nina Becton, Biology Major

Composting Pilot

During the summer of 2015, I worked with Eagle Dining, Facilities and others to compost food waste

from Landrum. Before the composting began, background research and training had to occur. A meeting was held with Facilities, Eagle Dining and others. This was done to determine what role each party had. Eagle Dining provided the food waste, facilities provided the transport and compost sight, and the Center for Sustainability composted the food waste. From here the kitchen staff was trained on what we wanted put into the compost bins.

Two 30-gallon bins were placed in the back kitchen and were filled with fruit and vegetable scraps by the kitchen staff. These bins, once they were filled, were brought out to the compost site which was located off of 301. We composted the morning after the bags were delivered because it was too hot to process the food waste in the afternoons. The food waste was weighed and added to the compost bins. These bins were made out of wire mesh and we began with just one bin. In the end we had

more bins and each bin had a different ratio of food waste to wood chips. We began composting the food waste on June 8th and our current results were presented to Facilities and others on July 14th. Over the course of 5 weeks we had composted a total of 1,429 pounds of food waste. My main part in this composting was the labor part with emptying and weighing the food waste. I greatly enjoyed this practicuum and the people I worked with. The food was occasionally smelly and there were lots of bugs to deal with but it was worth it as so much food was saved from the landfills. Also I loved seeing the aerobic breakdown that was occur in the compost piles and what all that food waste turns into! My role in the composting ends here but it will continue on with others and hopefully be scaled up in the future.


Alexandria Champman, Biology Major

Chapman

Altamaha, Oh the Places You Will Go: an internship with the Coastal Regional Commission and the Altamaha Riverkeeper

The spring of 2015, I worked with the Coastal Regional Commission to make an ArcGIS map of the Altamaha river including all of the access/landing points and all other recreational points along the Altamaha river. Using the online program ArcGIS, a base map was taken and the latitude and longitude points were overlaid on it to create a serious of points along the river. When the map is viewed on ArcGIS online, the points are color coded, and the viewer is able to click on them and see the physical address, telephone number and email of address of who to contact. The map will be used to better understand the points and their precise location, and also include a viewer friendly aspect of finding them. Completing this practicum gave me the chance to better understand an online program I had no past experience with, but also awarded me with the knowledge of the important role that the Altamaha River plays in the community I live in.


 Jared Fisher, Geography Major

One More Time 

This summer I spent my time working for a innovative business called One More Time that uses recycled material to create premium clothing. The primary material used to create this clothing is recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) which is collected right here on the Georgia Southern campus. My main objectives for the summer term were to increase recycling on campus and increase brand awareness. I accomplished these goals by informing students, local residents, businesses, and organizations on the benefits for recycling and how wearing our clothing would feel great by increasing local recycling habits and by the quality and feel of our product. Through out the semester I met with the different facilities of Georgia Southern to provide uniforms to all the different departments, coordinated and planned booths at local events to showcase our product, spoke to local organizations and apartment complexes, and used social media outlets to reach out to larger audiences. Towards the end of the term I conducted a survey that revealed how people hear about the One More Time brand and the primary demographic that is familiar with our brand. In conclusion we increased brand awareness on campus and the Statesboro community, but also changed minds for future recycling habits


Maggie Fritze, Biology Major

Residence Hall Recycling Incentive Program

FritzeIn spring 2015 semester I worked with two residences halls Centennial Place and Freedom’s Landing starting a pilot recycling incentive program. Each resident suite received a recycling box and a recycling card. Once the residents filled the box they would then take the box of recycling and the recycling card to the front desk to receive a punch on their card and to recycling their recycling. Once the residents turned in ten boxes they would win a prize. These prizes consisted of mugs, reusable grocery bags, frisbees, and T Shirts. We had over 450 boxes recycled and 45 prizes distributed. For the highest recycling rooms we held a pizza party to congratulate them for all their hard work. I worked closely with these residences halls to make these program accessible to the residents. I presented my work at No Impact Week during the semester. This program will be expanded in the fall to eight residence halls incorporating durable plastic recycling bins. This program gives the students an opportunity to recycle in their room and shows that at Georgia Southern, sustainability is a way of life.


Shannon Griffin, Interior Design MajorGriffin

Sustainable Design in the Healthcare Environment

During the Spring of 2015, I researched the problematic areas of healthcare design, and the ways that sustainable Interior Design can impact health and wellness. Utilizing case studies, published articles, and evidence based design solutions, I discovered many ways that the current healthcare facility can be improved through the use of sustainable design practices. Looking at the holistic design of the facility, and the construction process from start to finish, I applied the knowledge I gained in a 19,334 sq. ft. healthcare facility design. The design of the hypothetical facility would improve patient health, worker stress, and operation efficiency – all through the power of sustainable design.


 Steve Jacks, Geography Major

Technology to Promote Environmental Sustainability Programs

During the summer of 2015, I created and launched an educational website intended to promote awareness of environmental sustainability programs here at Georgia Southern University.  The website I created includes sections that allow users to access a variety of sustainability-related information; everything from creative student DIY projects to information about large scale environmental sustainability programs.  The website also includes information on different local programs and events that students at Georgia Southern University can participate in to help promote sustainable practices.  Hopefully, the website will help the sustainability movement at Georgia Southern University continue to grow in both student awareness and action.   This project was a great way to use technology to help an important cause, and it is very rewarding to see the efforts I’ve made help to promote and build awareness among my peers regarding the importance of environmental stewardship.


Philana Jeremiah, Geography Major

A Description of Sustainability Knowledge and Behaviors of Participants in the Residence Hall Recycling Incentive Program

Under the mentorship of Dr. Lissa Leege, Director, Center for Sustainability, a student capstone project was and was conducted to fulfill requirements for the Center’s Undergraduate philanaEnvironmental Sustainability Concentration Practicum course. This project assessed the utility Georgia Southern University’s Center for Sustainability’s (Georgia Southern University/CFS) Residence Hall Recycling Incentive Program (RHRIP). Specifically, it examined whether students residing in two targeted residence halls are receiving Georgia Southern University/CFS recycling messages regarding what is recycled on Georgia Southern University’s campus, recycling behavioral practices, and incentives for participation.  A student survey was administered to a convenience sample of students residing in either of the two residence halls on campus during the spring 2015 academic semester.  Descriptive data were generated using Survey Monkey™.  Key project findings indicate students are knowledgeable of what is recycled at Georgia Southern University and are receiving regular recycling messages, however, results from this project indicated convenience or an improved procedure for recycling would increase student participation.  A project reflection and proposed recommendations for enhancing the RRIP are provided.


Bailee Jordan, Public Relations Major

Public Relations Internimage1

Bailee Jordan is a senior at Georgia Southern University majoring Public Relations and minoring in Marketing with a concentration in sustainability. She is from  Athens, Georgia and is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. While studying abroad in Australia, New Zealand & Fiji with a program centered around sustainability she became passionate about giving back to our earth.  Bailee worked with the CfS as our Public Relations Intern for the Fall semester of 2015. For her internship she helped to increase awareness about the CfS and our events on both the Georgia Southern and in local communities. Throughout the semester Bailee helped create our PR materials such as press releases and digital signage.


Hans McIntosh, General Studies Major

Creating a More Sustainable Fleet Through Efficient Routing

The Coastal Regional Commission (CRC) is a company that provides transportation services via 14 seat buses. They came to me with a problem involving the placement and number of buses over the span of ten counties. Using Microsoft Access and Excel, I reviewed the numbers and trip data from the 2014 calendar year. I then began to crunch the numbers in order to solve the CRC’s problem. I then used the more concise data to consolidate the size of them and place buses in certain counties. My final recommendation will save the company hundreds of thousands per year as well as reduce emissions over the next few years by millions of pounds of CO2.


 Hannah Payton, Biology Major
peyton

Campus Stormwater Park and Bioswale Development

This summer I worked with Campus Landscape Architect, Charles Taylor and Center for Sustainability Director Lisa Leege on a sign for a Stormwater Park. The stormwater park on campus is located at the intersection of Forest Drive and Plant Drive. The sign showcases components of the park in a way the public will understand. I researched different components and choose which parts are most important It begins by defining impervious surfaces and how they negatively impact water quality. When it rains the water does not have anywhere and picks up harmful pollutants from parking lots and roads. Stormwater parks use vegetation to slow the water flow. This allows the water to infiltrate into the ground. Vegetation naturally cleans the water before it enters streams and lakes.  There are also sections that provide information on invasive species and how they are harmful to native plant ecosystems. Native plants are important because they provide food and shelter for wildlife. The sign is used as a tool to help educate the public on sustainable water management.


Dan Turner, General Studies Major

Internship with One More Time

I spent the spring semester of 2015 working as an intern for One More Time. The parent company, Renew Merchandise, specializes in making products from recycled material. In my case this consisted primarily of selling T-shirts made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET). The turnerobjectives for the internship was two-fold. The first was to measure and improve on campus recycling. The second was to create a demand for products made from recycled material. This meant that I had to educate and inform potential clients of the environmental benefits of using recycled material in an effort that they not only purchase and consume One More Time apparel but also alter their own recycling behavior at home.  The first few weeks involved developing an understanding of Georgia Southern University’s recycling habits. The next 10 or so weeks involving reaching out potential clients including, student organizations, the University Store, Alumni organizations, and various other departments around campus. In addition, I participated in community events in downtown Statesboro. I presented the final project during No Impact Week where I discussed some statistics about recycling and brand awareness on campus that were discovered throughout the semester. Above all, the internship offered a different perspective of how to take on environmental concerns and that is with an entrepreneurial mindset, an approach I never previously considered.


Collin Walker

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

During the Fall 2015 semester I teamed up with Chuck Taylor, Landscape Architect for Georgia Southern, to help increase bicycle access across campus. The goal of this project was to increase sustainable travel to campus, and around it, while also helping to create healthier lifestyles for students and faculty. Working with Mr. Taylor, I was able to create an updated map of all bike parking locations, their capacity, and whether they were permanent or temporary for areas all over campus. Once finished with updating the map, I then began collecting daily usage data for bicycle parking racks on campus by counting the total number of bikes parked there and compared it to the total capacity at each bike rack. Analyzing the usage data, along with responses from a student survey, and personal observation, I was able to present recommendations for improvement based on concrete data. There are currently 184 bike racks on campus, excluding housing areas, with a total bike parking capacity of 2,330 bikes. On average, there a 535 bikes being parked on campus during peak times which is approximately 23% of the total capacity. Hopefully having more places to park and better access for bicycles overall will lead to increase in bike travel and a reduction in vehicle use around campus.


Frederick Weinberg, Biology Major

A Field Guide for Phytoremediation in the South Atlantic Coastal Plain

This semester I worked on creating a field guide to help facilitate people and organizations in remediating contaminated environments witwehin the South Atlantic Coastal Plains.  Throughout the process I researched different phytoremediation mechanism and how these technologies compared with conventional forms of environmental remediation.  During the course of the semester I found many plants that are known phytoremediators and that have been observed growing in the region.  I was hoping to incorporate what I learned through the research and writing process in the field but unfortunately, no such opportunity came to fruition.  This guide is meant to help people better understand the risks of exposure to toxic contaminants artificially inflated by anthropogenic activities and to explain a passive, lower cost method of remediating such contaminants in a way that anyone is capable of doing.


Savannah Wiersma, Interior Design Major

Sustainability in Healthcare Design

The Capstone Project for my Environmental Sustainability Concentration included a sustainable technical plan and a detail section of a rain screen, which were included in my Studio V construction documents for the Interior Design Program. Also, I presented this project at Georgia Sothern’s Green Fest during No Impact Week. The sustainable technical plan is a floorplan that shows all of the things that made the building, Universal Access Center, sustainable. This building is an actual building located in Islip, New York and is a healthcare facility for patients who suffer from cerebral palsy.
The sustainable technical plan depicts natural daylight in the space, operable clere story windows that attribute to the ‘Stack Effect’ to naturally cool the building, and automatic shades to control natural day lighting to also help cool the space. The plan also shows that the mechanical room is located in the basement of the building, and is centered and conditioned to diminish the amounts of duct runs and minimize energy transfer. All electrical lighting is noted as being on automatic sensors to conserve electricity. Also, all air returns in the building send air to ERV’s on the roof to also attribute towards energy conservation.
Another sustainable aspect of the Universal  Access Center are the rain screens that are located around the exterior walls of the building to capture rain water in order to conserve water usage for the building. This grey water is used for plumbing and landscaping around the building. A detail section of the rain screen is also visible on the plan to demonstrate how the rain screens attach to the exterior walls of the building.

2014 Practicum Students

Hannah Womack

In the fall of 2014 I worked with the After-school Garden Program for my practicum. Three to four days a week I made my way around Bulloch County to the different elementary schools. While there I would garden with the kids and thannah-Womackeach them all about plants and sustainable practices. The program lasted for a total of ten weeks, with the first six weeks focusing on gardening and the last four weeks concentrating on nutrition. The children were taught about gardening, living sustainable lives, and eating healthy in hopes that they would carry the information with them into the future and teach someone else what they learned. Together with the kids we planted vegetables, learned the different parts of a plant, what plants need to survive, and the friends and foes of the garden. On rainy day we would have story time and/or do garden related arts and crafts. At the end of the program I presented my work at a booth during Greenfest. Completing this practicum allowed me to gain a better understanding of working with kids, gardening, and the importance of education. I also was afforded the opportunity to feel like a part of the community.


Margaret Beasley

This semester I worked with facilities planning to complete the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System application for the new facilities building, building 448. The application is similar to the LEED Rating System but specified for the state of Georgia. The application consists of 6 different sections: Commissioning, Additional Commissioning, Water Efficiency, Materials and Resources, Energy Efficiency, and Simple Payback. The Commissioning and Additional Commissioning is a list of requirements that a commissioning officer uses to examine the building during construction to make sure the construction and installation is correct and according to the owner’s requirements. I was responsible for coordinating with the commissioning officer and collecting all the documentation. The Water Efficiency part calculates the amount of water that the toilets, lavatory faucets, urinals, and sinks consume throughout the building. The calculation is a comparison of a baseMeg_Beasley-1line model and the actual efficiency of the building. The differential is calculated into a percentage of water savings. Material and resources harvested, manufactured, or extracted from Georgia qualify towards the Materials and Resources category. For Materials and Resources I had to research the purchasing location of the construction materials. The points are awarded based on the percentage of the cost of the Georgia based materials out of the total materials cost. The Energy Efficiency category evaluates the amount of energy saved in contrast to a baseline model. I used an energy modeling software, E-Quest, to input data on the HVAC and electrical systems. The Energy Efficiency is extra points for the Rating System. The final category Simple Payback is used to conduct a Life Cycle Cost Analysis on energy efficiency systems such as solar panels. The systems needs to be paid off within 10 years to justify the purchasing cost. For building 448 I did not have to conduct the simple payback since the building had no high efficiency systems. After all the data was put into the application building 448 qualified for 1 peach with a total of 15 points.


Heather Hillstrom, Senior General Studies Major

Afterschool Garden Program


Nicholas KellerNicK_Keller-169x300

For my sustainability capstone, I chose to intern with Elm Energy Group. Elm Energy group is a home performance company that specializes in making homes perform better which results in efficiency and lowered energy use. We perform HERS ratings on newly constructed homes to “grade” homes and show owners/builders how they can make their homes less dependent on energy. A HERS rating is the Home Energy Rating System, basically the miles per gallon of a house. We test the home’s tightness and the HVAC system’s tightness to ensure there isn’t wasted cool air, we take note of the orientation of the house, type of windows and appliances, building materials and kind of energy source (gas/ electric/ solar / geothermal). All of that gets entered into a computer program that weighs each variable based on its impact to the size of the house to come up with a rating and estimated yearly energy use. In Georgia builders get money back for each point below “average,” and home owners receive rebates for having improvements done. The system also helps home owners find the best approach to reducing energy in their home, because the calculations show what improvements will make the biggest impact (some homes need insulation, some might get the biggest impact by changing their windows). I was also able to attend an EEBA ‘houses that work’ seminar, which taught in detail all the different aspects of how to make a house work as a system to reduce energy use.


Samantha Lovett, Senior Biology Major

Afterschool Garden Program


Richard Mincey, Senior General Studies

Interpretive Sustainability Signs for Campus


John RayfieldUntitled6-224x300

For my sustainability practicum I had the good fortune to work with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Georgia Coastal Commission, and the Historic city of Darien to propose sustainable solutions that would improve the efficiency of Darien’s wastewater treatment process. Darien’s main dilemma was the slow rate at which sludge was being dewatered. While observing the dewatering process, we deduced that the months that should have experienced the highest rates of evaporation also witnessed a high rate of precipitation, thus lowering the drying efficiency of the process. What we needed was a sustainable solution that would prevent precipitation from entering the drying beds while still allowing the water to evaporate out of the sludge. We tested solar stills to see if they would be able to fulfill these requirements. After three trials we were able to show marked improvement in the sludge’s drying rates. The findings were presented during Georgia Southern University’s “No Impact Week” and the televised City of Darien’s May 2014 city council meeting.


 Monifa Yearby, Senior Biology Major

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Last updated: 5/30/2017

CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY (CfS) • P.O. Box 8042-1 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5895