Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.49
Liaison Angela Oberg
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2023

STARS v2.2

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Campus
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Katie Parrish
Program Coordinator
Office of Climate Action
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:
Aresty Undergraduate Research Funding

The Aresty Research Center is the primary source for research funding for undergraduate students. Many of the research projects conducted through Aresty Programs have a strong focus on sustainability. Their programs help undergraduates learn about the process of research early in their academic careers and can lead to continued research in the same lab or future research opportunities.

The Research Assistant (RA) Program is for students who are new to research. The Research Assistant Program pairs students with faculty mentors to conduct an academic year-long project and provides funding for the research project.

The Aresty Summer Science Program is for rising sophomores who are new to research. The Summer Science Program pairs students with faculty mentors to conduct a research project over the summer. Students work full-time on their research project and are provided with a $3,000 stipend and optional on-campus housing.

Undergraduate Research Grants: Aresty Research Center invites students to submit proposals to help defray the cost of independent research projects and senior theses or travel to professional conferences.

2022 Aresty Sustainability Projects- We have highlighted key sustainability project abstracts below. Additional projects can be found at- https://sites.rutgers.edu/nb-exhibits/partners/aresty-research-center/

“The Ramapough Lunaape and the Ringwood Mines Superfund Site: Communicating Native Voices and Issues of Environmental Justice”
This project focuses on the effective and accessible communication of scientific information about the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund site and the Ramapough Lunaape Nation. Through the publication of a book and documentary, the project explores methodologies for advocating for environmental justice for the Ramapough Lunaape in NJ. Our videos were uploaded to YouTube for public viewing and presented by Dr. Anita Bakshi at the New Jersey Historical Commission Conference in November 2021. Our work helps to introduce viewers to the debates surrounding Ramapough identity, and we are focused on working with and supporting the Ramapough Lunaape in Ringwood as part of a larger effort to achieve cultural restoration, knowledge recovery, and food sovereignty for Indigenous peoples in NJ. Publicly-accessible information about the histories and identities of the Ramapough Lunaape is critical, and this semester we continued our work with the creation of a digital exhibit for Rutgers University Libraries.

“Survey of Native Pollinators in Urban Greenspace: The Livingston Ecological Preserve”
Native pollinators were surveyed using pan traps in The Livingston Ecological Preserve to estimate the biodiversity of urban greenspaces in the New Brunswick area. The Livingston Ecological Preserve is a large urban greenspace located on the campus of Rutgers University. The purpose of this survey is to gain knowledge of the diversity and abundance of pollinator species in The Preserve as representative of those in the green spaces in urban environments. Three locations were sampled for 5 weeks in The Livingston Ecological Preserve. At each location, small cups painted in bright colors were placed and filled two-thirds full of soapy water. The bowls were set up twice a week and surveyed for a 24 hour period. Specimens were collected and identified to order. The majority of specimens were in the order diptera, followed by hymenoptera. This result suggests that fly pollination may play a larger role in the pollination of urban greenspaces than originally believed. Future surveys in a variety of urban greenspaces using different sampling methods are necessary to gain a larger understanding of pollinators of these greenspaces.

“Decarbonization and Carbon Capture (BECCS)”
This project aims to understand the methods by which the world is trying to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. We analyzed data from the Global Status of CCS Report from 2020, focusing on interpreting carbon emissions capture in North American and European regions. Our results led us to find that practices from countries placing financial incentives on carbon emissions aimed to reduce carbon emissions show much success. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that financial incentives result in companies looking for alternative clean energy sources, for example, hydrogen gas as fuel. Our research is important because pollution is a mounting concern to current and future generations only amplified by the global population's continuous growth and energy needs. Without proper investments in cleaning up carbon emissions, the environment will continue to deteriorate to the point where it would be hazardous to all life and impossible to repair.

“Analysis of Health Disparities within POC Communities in the U.S”
Health disparities have always been prevalent across the United States. However, with the rise of COVID-19, we have seen a disproportional effect on POC communities. This paper used a variety of news sources along with scientific data to investigate associations between POC communities and the lack of quality healthcare they receive. Critical race theory, background on POC communities, and the rise of social media in healthcare were examined. Doctor’s bias’s along with systematically ingrained racism was linked to higher cases of COVID-19 in people of color as well as a decrease in the quality of healthcare received. Based on these findings, we advocate for the education of the population on health disparities within this country. We believe that social media can be used as a tool in order to achieve our goals of community engagement and connecting those in need to resources.

“Porous Concrete for Use in Sidewalks”
Pervious concrete is a permeable material, typically made from cement, aggregates, water and admixtures. It is often built with an underlying stone reservoir that temporarily stores surface runoff before it infiltrates into the subsoil. In some mixes, small percentage of sand is added to gain extra strength. Due to its porous nature, porous concrete allows water to seep through to reduce or eliminate surface runoff, potentially reducing the potential for flooding, puddling, erosion, and hazards. However, there have been concerns regarding the structural strength, life cycle costs and longevity of service life of the concrete. Unlike regular concrete, porous concrete requires higher maintenance costs while also exhibiting lower strength due to its pores. The research was conducted to investigate the main factors that affect its strength, workability, and durability. Visual inspection and infiltration tests on site for a newly constructed 200 ft long sidewalk in Skillman Road in Montgomery Township were conducted. The project also included life cycle cost analysis of pervious concrete.

Rutgers Climate Institute Student Support Fund
The Rutgers Climate Institute Student Support Fund provides support for Rutgers student travel and related expenses for the purposes of climate change education and research. In addition, the Student Support Fund facilitates students' ability to showcase their research, network and establish connections that will contribute to their success once they have completed their education at Rutgers University.

William H. Greenberg Fellowship
Rutgers University graduate students who have completed their qualifying exams and whose Ph.D. research fits within the scope of the Rutgers Climate Institute can apply for the Greenberg fellowship to receive substantial funding support for their academic endeavors. Once awarded, the Greenberg Fellowship is renewed annually as long as the recipient is making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. The fellowship typically becomes available when the current recipient has completed their dissertation requirements.

James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship
The James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship has been established to allow graduate students from Rutgers University interested in climate change preparedness measures to undertake summer research projects that help advance the mission and objectives of the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance.

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:
Rutgers Global Grants (Global Environmental Change)

Rutgers Global Grants are intended to initiate research or engagement that fosters international partnerships as well as new international educational initiatives. These modest seed grants are offered yearly to full-time Rutgers faculty from all campuses, including tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and NTT faculty.

The Global Environmental Change Grants, offered in partnership with the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Rutgers Climate Institute, aim to leverage and enhance Rutgers’ global presence and cross-disciplinary expertise to advance the understanding and/or governance of global environmental change. These projects can include collaborative, interdisciplinary research, institutional development, and/or other capacity-building projects.

2022 Global Environmental Change Projects

“Food Security for Island Nations in a Changing Climate”
Oscar Schofield, Distinguished Professor and Chair Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers – New Brunswick
This project will develop a holistic approach to sustainable food systems for Island communities. We are requesting a seed grant to advance Rutgers’ efforts to develop a scalable, replicable sustainable food system model for Island states and nations in partnership with the Micronesian state of Pohnpei. The Government of Pohnpei State has already reached out to Rutgers Marine Science and the Rutgers Center for Agricultural Food Ecosystems to assist their island state build human capacity for their local food system movement with the goal of supporting long term food security and strengthening climate resilience.

“Comparative thermal proteome profiling to understand mechanisms of thermotolerance in coral photosymbionts”
Adam Kustka, Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers – Newark
The loss of coral reefs through elevated ocean temperatures is a global catastrophe. Healthy coral harbor photosynthetic organisms(algae) that provide them with ~90% of the food they need to thrive, yet high temperatures somehow causes the algae to leave or be expelled by the coral; this phenomenon has been termed “coral bleaching”. Some algal strains are resistant to higher temperatures while others are sensitive. We apply state-of-the-art tools - initially developed to screen for drug-protein interactions - to better understand why and how some strains are more tolerant to high temperature, specifically identifying which proteins are adversely affected by high temperature in sensitive strains. This may help in efforts to select for or breed tolerant strains. This lab-based research sets the stage for international collaboration in the Red Sea, where warming rates are among the highest but the natural communities of algae seem to be the most tolerant.

“Collaborative Metocean Observing in Cuba: Step 1 - High Frequency Radar”
Scott Glenn, Distinguished Professor, Board of Governors Professor, Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick
Hurricanes cause more damage nationally than all other weather and climate disasters combined. Our warming climate is increasing the number and intensity of North Atlantic hurricanes. While hurricane track forecasts have improved dramatically, intensity forecast skill has lagged. Improved forecasts require observations of upper ocean heat content and transport to inform an interdisciplinary Earth systems approach. But the global ocean conveyor belt circulation that redistributes heat throughout the world ocean is changing faster than expected, and traditional ocean monitoring programs for rapid climate change are expensive.

Cuba is critically located between two narrow restrictions (Straits of Yucatan and Florida) in the conveyor belt circulation, and along a frequent hurricane pathway across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Despite Cuba’s critical location, technological advances in Cuban-based metocean observing have lagged. Working with Cuba’s national weather service (INSMET), Rutgers and TAMU have identified a path to bring advanced metocean observing technologies to Cuba, to train Cuban operators, and to share data for research and forecasting for the common good.

Rutgers Global Grants (Global Health)
Rutgers Global Grants are intended to initiate research or engagement that fosters international partnerships as well as new international educational initiatives. These modest seed grants are offered yearly to full-time Rutgers faculty from all campuses, including tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and NTT faculty.

In collaboration with Rutgers Global Health Institute, the Global Health Seed Grants are awarded to faculty conducting collaborative, interdisciplinary activities that address health inequities in New Jersey and around the world. With these grants, the Institute aims to help faculty pursue new ideas and seed expanded research and funding. Awards will be given in either of the following two categories: (1) Education, Training, and Capacity Building or (2) Research. These projects must involve partnerships that directly impact the community experiencing inequity. https://global.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/Documents/Docs/Global%20Grants/2023%20Global%20Health%20Seed%20Grants%20-%20Instructions%202023%20revised.pdf

2022 Global Health Projects
“Ectoparasites and Diseases of Poverty in Low-Income Urban Communities”
Alvaro Toledo, Assistant Professor, Entomology, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Low-income communities are disproportionally affected by neglected infectious diseases of poverty. These diseases are responsible for a hidden health burden in poor communities and are associated, among other things, with rodents and rodent ectoparasites. This proposal aims to assess the risk of human exposure to these diseases in low-income urban communities by screening arthropods collected from rodents in human dwellings. These arthropods can serve as sentinels and facilitate surveillance which is a priority need. We will screen arthropods collected from house mice for human pathogens using a combination of generic primers and species-specific probes.

“Integrative community therapy for intimate partner violence survivors in Quito, Ecuador”
Chiara Sabina, Associate Professor, Center for Research on Ending Violence, Rutgers – New Brunswick
Given the scale of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the limited reach of traditional services, new alternatives are needed that better respond to the needs of the community. This proposal seeks to train IPV survivors in Quito, Ecuador in integrative community therapy (ICT), a group-based non-hierarchical approach to promote community support and self-empowerment, through collaboration with Muyumpa, a training center for ICT in Quito, Ecuador. We will train 10 IPV survivors (participant facilitators) in ICT and they will conduct 30 dialogue circles with women at high risk of IPV (circle participants). Effects for both participant facilitators (e.g., empowerment, leadership) and circle participants (e.g., self-esteem, health and well-being, resilience, violence attitudes, post-traumatic growth) will be evaluated via survey and qualitative interviews. The project builds on an established 5-year collaboration between Muyumpa and Dr. Sabina and will lead to opportunities for expansion with other populations and locations.

“Examining the influence of food environments on infant and young child feeding among subsistence farming communities in Senegal”

Shauna Downs, Assistant Professor, Urban-Global Public Health, Rutgers – New Brunswick
Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices among subsistence farming households in Senegal are suboptimal leading to malnutrition. Lack of knowledge related to IYCF best practices as well as a lack of availability, affordability and/or acceptability of nutrient-rich foods contribute to these suboptimal feeding practices. Our research will build on an already funded NIH R21 study to comprehensively map the food environments of 102 village boutiques/daily markets and 20 weekly markets across two seasons in our NIH study communities. This will allow us to combine the household IYCF practice data obtained from our NIH study with community level data regarding the availability, affordability, and acceptability of nutrient-rich foods to examine how the food environment influences IYCF practices and where there are asymmetries between IYCF guidance provided (e.g., feed your child animal source foods) and the food environment (e.g., lack of affordability of animal source foods). The findings of this research will help inform the development of a package of food systems interventions in these communities and to examine their impact as part of a future NIH R01 funding proposal.

“Using Machine Learning to Examine Quality of Care and Analyzing Nursing Notes to Investigate Racial Inequity in Brazil”
Charles Senteio, Assistant Professor, Library and Information Science (LIS), Rutgers – New Brunswick

Given the potential to identify persistent racial inequity of hospital-based outcomes across large hospital systems in Brazil, and the association between nursing notes and patient deterioration and mortality, the project objective is to describe the factors which increase likelihood of difference between racial minority patients and nonracial minority patients for the frequency of nursing notes, and words and phrases which appear in nursing notes. Use of stigmatizing words and phrases are indicators of cognitive biases in healthcare delivery shown to impact quality of care. For example, stigmatizing language in the medical record used to describe patients and/or their behaviors can influence clinicians’ attitudes and beliefs towards patients which impacts care delivery and care decisions (e.g. medication prescribing behavior). Examining the words and phrases used in the medical record can identify biases which can help inform interventions designed to promote patient-centered care and reduce inequities across various stigmatized patient populations. Long-term goals include informing clinical decision support systems to alert clinicians to the circumstances of racial bias.

“Impact of Social Factors and Birth Weight on Mental Health, Self-Efficacy, and Parent-Infant Bonding among Postpartum Mothers in Nepal”
Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri, PhD, DNP, RN, APN, FNP-BC, CPN, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Rutgers – Camden

Mental health issues during the postpartum period are a global health concern and may contribute to impaired parent-infant bonding, which is essential for positive, long-term developmental outcomes among children. Although the prevalence is much higher, the ongoing stigma related to mental health issues among women contributes to disparities in seeking and receiving care in Nepal. Additionally, low birth weight and social factors may further compound the risk contributing to disparities in mental health care. However, research examining their impact on postpartum mental health and infant outcomes is sparse. This mixed-method pilot study aims to examine the relationships between mental health, parenting self-efficacy, and parent-infant bonding among postpartum mothers in Nepal. Participants will be recruited from immunization clinics at two hospitals in Kathmandu, Nepal. This research will help to strengthen partnerships with researchers from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. The findings of this study will provide information to develop evidence-based interventions aimed at reducing health inequities in postpartum mental health in Nepal.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
Rutgers Libraries employ a staff of librarians with a wide range of specialties who offer subject area specific support on the following sustainability topics:
- Agriculture, Plant, and Animal Sciences
- Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
- Environment
- Geography
- Geology and Earth Sciences
- Landscape Architecture

Rutgers Libraries provide access to many sustainability-focused databases. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Aquatic Pollution and Environmental Quality (ASFA 3)
- Environment Abstracts
- Environmental Science Collection
- GreenFILE
- New Jersey Environmental Digital Library (NJEDL)
- ProQuest Environmental Science Collection

Rutgers Libraries provide subject guides on sustainability topics including but not limited to:
- Politics of Environmental Issues
- Climate Change and Rutgers New Brunswick
- Conservation Criminology and Environmental Justice
- Earth & Environmental Sciences - Data Management
- Introduction to Environmental Sustainability (21:375:215)
- Performing Literature Research in the Earth & Environmental Sciences

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.