2022 Sustainability Research Projects

In Holland, we believe that in order to become a vibrant, world-class community we must look at all aspects of our community.  This includes the “Triple Bottom Line” and the economic, social, and environmental impacts we all have. Our City of Holland Sustainability Committee created a seven-pillar framework with “lenses” to help us evaluate and make more sustainable choices. We have used this framework model as a way to identify the 2022 Hope College Sustainability Research Projects.

The Sustainability Institute would like to formally recognize the following projects that presented during the 2022 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) on Friday, April 22.  

PDF Document:  2022 Sustainability Research Projects

Framework Categories:








For more information about the Annual Celebration visit:


The students and their projects represented all of the college’s academic divisions — the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied science.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope. Undergraduate research is a hallmark experience for many Hope students and has been a teaching model used at the college for more than seven decades. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round, with approximately 300 students conducting faculty-supervised independent research during the academic year and 200 doing research over the summer, making Hope’s summer research program among the largest in the nation at a liberal arts college. Since faculty are active in scholarship year-round, many more students engage in research during the academic year.

Research has a long and storied history at Hope College. More than 100 years ago, biologist Dr. Samuel O. Mast designed research laboratory space for the college’s Van Raalte Hall, which opened in 1903. The late Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl, who taught chemistry at the college from 1923 to 1964, is widely recognized for developing research-based learning at Hope in its modern sense.

Anchor Article About Our Hope Advocates for Sustainability Fair Trade and Environmental Justice Event


Hope Advocates for Sustainability (HAS) is an organization that works to promote sustainability at Hope College. On Wednesday, April 20, HAS partnered with The Bridge, a local non-profit located in downtown Holland, for an educational event at Hope about environmental justice and fair trade. 

The Bridge is known for its fair trade gifts and crafts that represent over 35 countries. Fairtrade is about helping artisans in growing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships by valuing their rights and giving them fair pay for their work. Not only does it tremendously help the workers, but fair trade also guarantees high-quality and ethically sourced products for the shoppers.

Tsion Weldetsadik (‘24) recently became an intern for Hope Advocates for Sustainability. Weldetsadik is passionate about educating people about environmental justice and the issues that are happening around the world today. She hopes to teach people how to be more aware of environmental racism and the ways in which one can get more involved.

“I’ve always been interested in social issues and social justice and sustainability also intrigues me,” Weldetsadik said, “so when I came across this position, I was really excited to be a part of it.” 

Kate Martin, manager of The Bridge, came to speak about the ways in which students at Hope can become more conscientious about their purchases, specifically with the clothes they are wearing. Both passionate and knowledgeable, Martin proposed a challenge of not only being a conscious shopper but actually making the choice to purchase more sustainable and ethically sourced products. 

To read the full article follow the link below:

Donations of Hope 2022

Monday, April 25 – Thursday, April 28

In partnership with Heart to Heart Resale, we will be setting up move out collection stations in the lobbies of Kollen, Phelps, Cook, Gilmore, and Dykstra.

There will also be a station for students not living in those halls in the BSC inside the Student Life Office (open weekdays 10am-3pm).

Accepted items include:
mini fridge
small furniture pieces
small miscellaneous items
Unopened non-perishable food items can also be dropped off at the Student Life Office for the Hope Care Pantry.

Questions? Email sustainability@hope.edu

If you do not live in one of these residential halls or have larger items to donate, please click the link below for a list of other area locations to donate gently used items.


Earth Month 2022!

Hope Advocates for Sustainability student interns have put together an AMAZING series for you celebrate our Earth and put Creation Care into action.

Click this link to see ways you can participate and join in the fun!

Earth Week kicks off Tuesday, April 19 and even includes a cosponsored Earth Jam CoffeeHouse on Thursday, April 21.


NEW Environmental Internship Fund for Hope College Students

Are you considering pursuing an internship addressing environmental advocacy and/or education with a non-profit organization for this summer? If so, Hope College is offering a new funding source to support a low or non-paid role: the Environmental Internship Fund. This new fund will provide up to $4,000 to support a full-time summer internship addressing a pressing climate change issue. Apply through this link by Monday, March 21st.

Join Hope Advocates for Sustainability for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

Hope Advocates for Sustainability (HAS) is NOW HIRING for the 2022-2023 school year! Apply now on Handshake to join this amazing team of interns who are passionate about sustainability and making a change on campus.

Head to Handshake to read more about each position.

2021-2022 HAS Team

Hope College Carbon Footprint Summer Research

The Carbon Footprint SHARP Research position is open for applications. The research focuses on Hope’s carbon footprint and energy usage. If this is something that interests you, click here for more information.


Campus Sustainability Month

October is Campus Sustainability Month and Hope Advocates for Sustainability (HAS) is excited to be hosting a number of activities to promote sustainability on Hope’s campus!

Held every October, Campus Sustainability Month (CSM) is hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) as an international celebration of sustainability in higher education. The goal of CSM is to raise the visibility of campus sustainability and provide campus sustainability advocates with a platform through which to deepen campus engagement around sustainability. It provides an excellent opportunity to recruit new leaders and set goals for the rest of the year. It serves as a complement to Earth Day, which is held each year in April, and is often a time for celebration and recognition of the good work that took place over the course of the academic year.

Below is a list of events/activities that will be occurring. We would love to see you participate in any or all of them!

October 5 and 9: Local Park Cleanup Events

Join HAS as we host cleanup events at two of our local parks (Kollen Park and Holland State Park). Email sustainability@hope.edu for registration information.

October 6: Critical Issues Symposium Breakout Session

HAS will be leading a breakout session focused on “environmental well-being” as part of this year’s Critical Issues Symposium. Email sustainability@hope.edu for more information.

October 14: Volunteer at Eighth Day Farms

Stop by anytime from 12:30-3pm to help prep Eighth Day Farm for winter. It will be at their main site in the town center (12330 James St.). We recommend wearing comfy clothes that can get dirty, dressing in layers and bringing a water bottle and gloves if possible! Email sustainability@hope.edu for registration information.

October 10-31: Greek Goes Green

Join in on Campus Sustainability Month through your Greek Organization! The winning organization will be named the Most Sustainable Greek Organization of the 2021-2022 Academic Year.  Email Christian.Lundy@hope.edu with any questions. 

October 15 – 29th: Students, get “Caught Being Green”

HAS Interns and Green Team members will be handing out tickets during this time period to students they catch “being green.” Activities may include being seen: using a reusable green-to-go clam shell, reusable water bottles/coffee cup, turning off the light when you leave a room, and biking to class (don’t forget your helmet). Bring your tickets to the collection box at our informational table in the library by October 29 and be entered into our drawing for prizes.

October 15 – 31st: Table at the Library

The VanWylen Library Table will be featuring books, posters, and other items that reflect Campus Sustainability Month. Signs will showcase some of the events and projects that HAS interns have been working on throughout this semester. The “Caught Being Green” cards can also be dropped off at the table in order to enter for the raffle. Be sure to stop by!

October 18-22: “Get Planted” with Dining Services 

This week, we are spreading the word about the environmental benefits of plant-based eating on college campuses. Often, people wonder if they are getting enough protein when cutting back on meat. To help answer that question, Dining Services will be highlighting plant-based sources of protein all week. Follow them on social media and be sure to check out the yummy food options being offered. C’mon, veg out a little!

October 20: Nutrition Event

Have you ever considered becoming vegetarian, vegan, or simply incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet? On October 20th at 8pm in the Martha Miller Fried Hemenway Auditorium, HAS will be hosting an informational event that will cover a wide range of topics surrounding plant-based diets. These topics include the myths and facts behind the nutritional aspect of a meatless diet, as well as how a plant-focused diet can help promote a more sustainable lifestyle. We would love to spark curiosity and provide information about an exciting topic! Come join us!

October 21/22: “The Perils of Plastic” and “Plastic Paradox”

The Office of the Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences is pleased to welcome Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason, one of the foremost experts in the field of Freshwater Plastic Pollution, to campus October 21 and 22, 2021.

Dr. Mason will deliver two lectures:

  1. Thursday, 10/21/21: “The Perils of Plastic”

6:30pm in the HASP classroom at Anderson-Werkman

  1. Friday, 10/22/21:  “Plastic Paradox”

2:00pm in the Bultman Student Center Auditorium

We hope that you can join us as we learn about the impact that plastics have on our beloved Great Lakes. The Gentile Lectureship is made possible by a gift from the Kavli Foundation of Oxnard, CA.

October 22: Annual Campus Sustainability Month Tree Planting

We will be planting a Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) in the triangular turf area between the Bultman Student Center and Van Vleck Hall at 2pm.

October 30: Plant-a-Thon

Come to the Pine Grove between 12:30-3:30 pm to plant some herbs! Bring your own pot (reuse old food containers or pots) and we will supply soil and seeds.

November 16: Film-“Gather” at the Knickerbocker

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Sustainability are partnering with The Big Read to present the film “Gather”. The film is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. The screening will be held in the Knickerbocker Theatre on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00pm. The public is invited and admission is free, although advance registration is required at  https://kinema.com/events/gather-svtwtf

As always, check out our social media channels and podcast for additional tips and details about things happening this month and all year long!Hope Advocates for Sustainability

Instagram @HopeCollegeSustainability and @HAS_hopecollege

Facebook HopeAdvocatesforSustainability

Twitter HC_Green

Podcast Spotify = Voices of Sustainability 

Website hope.edu/sustainability

Nurturing Stewardship Through Peer Mentoring

ExploreHope and the Office of Sustainability are recruiting Hope College students who love the outdoors and want to share their enthusiasm with area k-12 students. We are looking for students to help nurture environmental stewardship through peer mentoring and volunteerism in our educational programs.

Students, if you are interested in being contacted when we have events happening, please complete this Google Form.

1st-5th grade students from all over West Michigan came together on Saturday, October 10th to learn about Fibonacci and symmetry, plus many more patterns, all as it relates to nature. 

To read about one of our recent programs, check out this blog post from ExploreHope. “Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Okay, that’s an old riddle perplexing minds for ages, but here’s a better one: Which came first, math or nature? Nature, of course! Math was invented to help us describe all the amazing patterns, quantities, and complex features we find in nature. Elementary students got to explore ways math and nature work together at ExploreHope’s Environmental Stewardship Day.”

Living Sustainably: Students study air quality with local monitors

A recent report cites 104 fires burning more than 2.4 million acres in 14 U.S. states. Would it surprise you to know that these wildfires impact us here in Holland? 

Pictures from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show wildfire smoke wafting through West Michigan last month. Did you notice these plumes as they drifted through Holland? Hazy skies and fantastic red sunsets for photographers were one indication.

Scientists saw them, too. Scientists use data to “see” things. For example, advanced air quality monitors at the Lakeview School Park on 32nd Street in Holland generate daily air quality data. 

These monitors collect data for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. For example, a chart from July 4 clearly indicates the air quality impact from fireworks at the end of the day. Another chart shows data from July 20, when the smoke plume passed through town. 

Students and teachers collect and study Holland air quality data, too, thanks to a local network of student monitors. The project is managed by Hope College’s ExploreHope Academic Outreach office and is funded through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

“Our project brings authentic experiences in data collection to middle school and high school classrooms throughout Western Michigan,” said Susan Ipri Brown, the program director and assistant professor of engineering instruction. “Our monitors, though not directly calibrated to the EGLE monitors, let local students and teachers see the same data patterns.”

Professional government-operated air quality monitors showed the increase in particles in the air during Fourth of July fireworks and when the wild fire plume moved through West Michigan.
The student air quality monitors showed increased particles in the air during Fourth of July fireworks and when the wild fire plume moved through West Michigan, a similar pattern to that shown by the professional government monitors.

“The monitors are excellent inquiry-based tools for students using state-of-the-art technology,” science teacher Bob DeBruyn said. “Students use data they collect to answer questions they are curious about. They feel like real scientists.”

Collective Idea, a Holland software company, equips these monitors to report data live and in real time.

“Our team loves working with the community — students, the public and decision makers — to show meaningful data in real-time at a fraction of the cost of government monitors,” CEO Dan Morrison said. 

Joe Sikma, sustainability manager at the Outdoor Discovery Center, put a monitor at the DeGraaf Nature Center and another on the roof of Holland City Hall, as part of the effort “to increase air quality awareness and provide real-world educational opportunities for students.”

With these monitors, students see the same data patterns seen from the professional monitors. The graphs from the student monitors clearly indicate the effect of the Fourth of July fireworks, for instance. It’s real data, real events, and real student learning.

Sometimes students ask if the air they are studying is safe. Smoke contains particulate matter smaller than 2.5 millionth of a meter. As we breath, these particles pass through our lungs and into our bloodstreams, reaching vital organs. 

Health standards for matter of that size consider 24-hour exposures.

“Short upticks from a night of fireworks are less concerning than long-time exposures,” noted Jeff Pfost, a local air quality consultant.

It’s all connected. From wildfires to air quality, from Space Consortium grants to science classrooms, it’s amazing how the people of Holland work together to help our students learn.

Be your own data scientist:

— Don Triezenberg is a physics and mathematics teacher. In retirement, Don volunteers with the student air quality monitor program at Hope College and advocates for a rigorous Community Energy Plan for Holland.


About this series

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. 

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme: 

Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.