2023 Sustainabilty 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 2023 Hope College Sustainability Research Projects.

The Sustainability Institute would like to formally recognize the following projects that presented during the 2023 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) on Friday, April 14.  

PDF Document: 2023 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.

Earth Month 2023

Hope Advocates for Sustainability and GreenHope have a FULL month of activities and events planned to help you learn more about how you can help protect and connect with nature this Earth Month (and any day after that)!

Follow this link to see details about all of the events.

Environmental Justice and Water Event – March 28


Presentations will be made by the following Global Water Research Institute Faculty:
Dr. Kenneth Brown, Professor of Chemistry and Schaap Research Fellow
Dr. Virginia Parish Beard, Associate Professor of Political Science with student assistant Makayla Wilson
Dr. Brent Krueger, Professor of Chemistry and Schaap Research Fellow

This is a free event and community members are welcome to join.

Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group December 2022 Newsletter

We hope you enjoyed this first issue and if you’ve not already done so, please click here to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter or get involved in our group. Please share this with other Hope College alumni that you think may be interested in receiving this information. 

2022 Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group Pledge

The Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group challenges you to commit to one of our three sustainability pledges this November. This pledge challenge is open to all alumni, staff/faculty, and current students and we will announce the group with the most pledges at the end of November.

How will you go green with the orange and blue this November?

Go meatless (vegetarian) one day of the week.

Unplug vampire electronics (a device that continues to use energy and drain power, even when it is turned off).

Practice No Straw November: say “No” when offered single-use plastic straws.

Money for your summer environmental internship

Are you considering pursuing an internship addressing environmental advocacy and/or education with a non-profit organization for the 2023 summer? If so, Hope College is offering a new funding source to support your 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. This is not an internship, but funding to support your environmental internship. Apply through this link by Monday, November 21st.

Lakeshore Cleanup Events – Fall 2022

Join Hope Advocates for Sustainability at one of our fall cleanup events as we put Creation Care into action. We will be hosting cleanups at Kollen Park and Holland State Park in October.

We collected 184.85 lbs of trash and smaller pieces of wood and ~105.75 lbs of large pieces of wood at our Holland State Park event last spring.

Additional details can be found at this link, and you must RSVP in advance. Registrations close a couple of days prior to each event.

Hope to see you there!

MiSustainable Holland: Hope College students take action for sustainability

Natalie Hammer and Ellie Jankowski Hope Advocates for Sustainability


HOLLAND — Hope College’s commitment to sustainability is evident through the work of the Hope Advocates for Sustainability, a team of student interns who were in action before fall-semester classes even began at the end of August.

Hope Advocates for Sustainability, known to students as HAS, promotes various aspects of sustainability on campus in areas such as waste management, transportation, residential life, conservation and environmental justice.

This year’s 14 interns made an early start, implementing a freshman move-in day recycling program on Aug. 26 for the boxes and packaging that would be left over after the approximately 950 members of the new Class of 2026 had settled into their new campus home.

Interns were stationed at two locations on campus, where they were available to answer questions about recycling and worked to properly dispose of materials. In total, and in just under five hours, 90 pounds of plastic film and styrofoam were recycled and a 20-yard industrial-sized cardboard recycling container was filled.

This initiative helped to save all of those materials from going to the landfill and helped educate incoming students on campus recycling.

The success of the move-in day recycling program is propelling HAS into the semester with many other events and projects in development. Interns are looking for ways to increase student involvement in sustainable efforts through the use of social media and various on-campus events.

In past years, HAS has facilitated numerous events during Campus Sustainability Month in October. Some include Holland State Park and Kollen Park clean-ups, information tables addressing the complexities of recycling, and a reusable utensil event where over 60 sets of utensils collected from local thrift stores were given away.

This year, interns have begun to dream about additional ways Hope’s campus and student body can become more aware of their impact on the environment.

HAS plans on partnering with various on-campus organizations such as the Student Activity Committee and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to empower as many students as possible to be activists for change. HAS plans to continue its Stormwater Stewards Program, through which on-campus cottage and apartment residents are encouraged to keep the stormwater drain in front of their building clear of litter and debris.

Hope’s campus also offers a variety of green programs through which students can recycle candy wrappers, used pens, batteries and plastic bags in various locations around campus.

Hope’s sustainable efforts are not restricted to recycling, but flow into dining and waste management services as well. Students who live in cottages and apartments are able to request compost bins to dispose of their food waste and compostable materials.

— Hope College junior Natalie Hammer, a social work and German major, and senior Ellie Jankowski, a business and communications major, are co-presidents of Hope Advocates for Sustainability.

Plastic Drive – Calling All Plastics!

Kara Brems | brems@hope.edu | Dance

Dearest Hope Faculty and Staff,

Do you have plastic trash at home that you don’t know what to do with? Plastic pieces that are not recyclable, but which you hate to throw away, knowing they will make their way into a landfill? We have a solution!

We are hoping you can help us with a collaborative project that centers on the challenges of plastic pollution, particularly in our Michigan waterways. Lisa Walcott’s sculpture students will be creating sculptures made of collected plastics, which will be displayed as part of the scenery for Kara Brems’ dance piece this spring in the Dance 49 faculty Dance Concert. We are partnering with the Office of Sustainability and also getting help from Dining Services and Physical Plant to organize a “plastic drive” on campus. In order to make this happen, we would love for you to donate your own clean plastics from home in the designated bins, which will be placed in the lobby of DePree from 9/16-9/30.

We will accept all plastics but would like to particularly focus on plastics that can not otherwise be recycled curbside (even if they have a recycling number on them). All donated items MUST be clean and free of any food particles. Below is a list of suggested items:

  • plastic bags of all types
  • plastic envelopes (like the kind your amazon purchases come in)
  • blister packaging
  • berry containers
  • styrofoam
  • plastic straws, plates, or flatware
  • film packaging (like the plastic that nearly everything you buy comes wrapped in – toothpaste containers, produce, pens, etc…)
  • bulky plastics such as 5-gallon buckets, broken lawn furniture, laundry baskets, milk crates, plastic toys or household items that are broken or not usable

Note: If any items are too big to fit into the provided bins, please talk with the student at the front desk or Nicole in the front office about an appropriate location to put these.

Thank you in advance for your help! We hope to post photos of the process and update you on how the sculptures turn out!


Kara Brems, Lisa Walcott, and the Office of Sustainability

Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group

We are very pleased and excited to announce the creation of the Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group (HC-ASAG).

Under the direction of its officers and Board of Directors, the HC-ASAG aims to channel the dedication and resources of its alumni to enhance the focus on Creation Care within the mission of Hope College. Group members pledge to foster lifelong relationships with each other and the College in assisting Hope to fulfill its overall mission and the strategic goals of the Office of Sustainability.

Through engagement in fundraising, in campus sustainability projects and events, and in community outreach, the Group seeks to provide focus and direction for the College’s sustainability goals, and to enhance Hope’s leadership in sustainability to the larger communities of Holland and Western Michigan.

Through the efforts of the HC-ASAG, Hope alumni will be actively engaged in learning about campus activities around sustainability, serve as an educational resource for faculty, students, and staff, and lend their expertise in shaping and supporting the College’s sustainability goals.

Are you a Hope College Alumni and work in a field of sustainability or are you personally interested in the topic? If so we’d love to hear from you! Please click here to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter or get involved in our group.

2022-2023 Sustainability Affinity Group Board Members:

  • Anne Deckard ’73 Hiskes Co-Chair
    • Retired Grand Valley State University – Dean, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, The University of Connecticut
  • Kyle Funk ’18 Co-Chair
    • National League of Cities – Transportation and infrastructure Policy Specialist 
  • Kaila Robertson ’19 Bylsma Secretary
    • Meijer – Information Technology
  • Richard Hiskes ’73 Outreach and Engagement
    • Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut, Political Science and Human Rights
  • David C. Beattie ’73
    • b.comm creative – Director, ESG branding/marketing
  • Nick Gibson ’17
    • Trane – Project Manager
  • Sarah Josuns ’02 Kessler
    • City of Clearwater, Florida – Lead Environmental Specialist
  • Junu Shrestha ’01
    • World Bank – Senior Environmental Specialist 
  • Jeffrey Vredenburg ’11
    • City of Sarasota, Florida – Sustainability Manager and Adjunct Professor, Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger ’79 – Ex Officio Faculty Liaison
    • Hope College – Faculty, Religion Department and Green Team Chair
  • Nicholas Duthler ’09 – Ex Officio Staff Liaison
    • Hope College – Project Manager
  • Michelle Seppala Gibbs – Ex Officio Staff Liaison
    • Hope College – Director, Office of Sustainability