Project Authors: Caren Ghali, Laura Kuksa, Hannah Lazerowitz, Nidhi Mahadevan

Campus as a Living Lab is an initiative that aims to improve education by recruiting students to conduct research on relevant topics, reflecting larger global issues, and requiring the school to implement effective changes. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Brooklyn College offers many courses through which this initiative can be piloted, including SOCY 2201: Sociology of the Environment. SOCY 2201 is primarily taught through readings and class discussions; however, we aim to enhance the curriculum by implementing project-based learning. Students will collect and analyze data from the Brooklyn College cafeteria to determine the amount of food prepared every day and how much is ultimately consumed by the students. Both quantities will be translated to units of energy based on caloric values on nutrition labels. Students will also conduct an ethnographic study of food insecurity in the greater Brooklyn College area. They will survey consenting residents on their reliance on government food assistance programs. Ultimately, we hope that implementing the Campus as a Living Lab initiative in SOCY 2201 will help Brooklyn College determine whether the cafeteria is energy efficient and whether initiatives can be taken to redistribute unused resources to the surrounding community. More importantly, we hope this initiative will spark sustainable policies in regards to food waste throughout the Brooklyn College community.

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