2017 Sustainability Fellowship Projects

Detailed descriptions of each project, including the desired qualifications, specific tasks and deliverables, and expected outcomes, are in the PDF files linked to from each project title.  

1) Campus Sustainability Metrics  

Project Themes: Analytics, Organizational Collaboration, Higher Ed

Project Host: UNH Sustainability Institute; Durham, NH

Project Description: Many campuses have deep commitments to sustainability, with data and metrics playing a critical role in their ability to be successful. The Campus Sustainability Metrics Fellow will support the work of a group of leading organizations who, in a collaborative effort facilitated by UNH’s Sustainability Institute, are working to improve the tools and methods for gathering and reporting key sustainability data.

2) Supporting a “Handprinting” Pilot Program for Northeast Campuses  

Project Themes: Analytics, Business Development, Outreach

Project Host: Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE), Harvard School of Public Health; York, ME

Project Description: “Handprinting”—a project by B-corp EarthDeeds that spurs creation and measurement of positive sustainability-related impacts in as many impact categories as possible, to create a “Net Postive” impact when they outweigh the user’s footprint (for example, in GHG emissions)—was named by TIME Magazine as one of 10 ideas likely to change the world.  The Handprinter Higher Education Pilot Fellow will support launch of a pilot program with Northeast campuses to scale up the Handprinter project.

3) Updating and Expanding New England Climate Assessments

Project Themes: Climate Science, Analysis

Project Host: UNH Institute for Earth, Oceans and Space; Durham, NH

Project Description: Climate assessments, using downscaled models to identify region-specific trends and projections, support informed decision-making by state, community and institutional leaders.  The New England Climate Assessment Fellow will help to update existing climate assessments for New England regions based on analysis of new data, synthesize the results, and distribute the new materials to users. 

4) Establishing NH Community Seafood at NH Farmers Markets

Project Themes: Local Food, Community Outreach

Project Host: NH Community Seafood; Newcastle NH

Project Description: NH Community Seafood (NHCS) is a cooperative of fishermen and consumers who have joined together to protect the ocean, sustain New Hampshire’s fishing industry and support the local economy. The NHCS Farmers Market Fellow will work develop a prominent presence for NH Community Seafood (NHCS) at NH farmers markets—a strategically vital avenue for broadening awareness of and participation in NHCS.

5) Mapping Climate- and Sea Level Rise-Driven Changes to NH’s Groundwater Supplies

Project Themes: Climate Science/Impacts, Hydrology, Sea Level Rise, GIS

Project Host: UNH Center for Infrastructure Resilience to Climate; Durham, NH

Project Description: Sea levels rise predictions in NH and other coastal states have spurred crucial awareness of the need to protect coastal infrastructure.  However one indirect impact of coastal sea level rise that has not yet gotten the focus it warrants is the ability of SLR to drive changes in groundwater levels—resulting in potential impacts to ecosystem services, residential drinking water, and wastewater treatment, as well as planning and zoning policies. The Coastal Groundwater Impacts Fellow will work with a team of cutting-edge UNH researchers to combine changes to the coastal groundwater identified from a regional groundwater model (already completed) with existing wetland maps, to determine total projected wetland expansion.

6) Planning for Campus and Community Climate Resilience

Project Themes: Climate Adaptation, Higher Education, Planning

Project Host: UNH Energy Task Force; Durham, NH

Project Description: UNH is an economic and cultural engine of the NH Seacoast region, which is increasingly experiencing the impacts of climate change (e.g., extreme weather events, sea level rise, etc.)  The Campus and Community Climate Adaptation Fellow will assist UNH’s Energy Task Force in developing a vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan—a roadmap for increased resilience of the UNH campus and the broader Seacoast.

7) Utilizing “Rich Media” to Advance Organizational Sustainability

Project Themes: Communications, Outreach

Project Host: UNH Sustainability Institute; Durham, NH

Project Description: The Sustainability Rich Media Fellow will work closely with UNHSI and other campus staff members to develop compelling, relevant, easily-accessible rich media content (e.g. photos, short videos, social media, etc).  The content will be used for new professional development and Green Office initiatives for the UNH Durham campus, to be launched in fall of 2017; the goal is to inform, engage and support UNH’s 18,000 students, staff, and faculty in living and working more sustainably.

8) Planning to Achieve a Zero-Waste Campus

Project Themes: Waste minimization, Planning, Outreach

Project Host: UNH; Durham, NH

Project Description: As its first project, UNH’s new campus-wide Zero Waste Task Force worked to make the newly-opened Wildcat (football) stadium a zero-waste facility.  The Zero Waste Wildcats Fellow will support the work of the ZWTF to apply the lessons learned from the stadium pilot project to create phased roll-out plan for new zero-waste efforts across campus in fall 2017 and beyond.

9) Advancing Integrated Solutions to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Project Themes: Case Study Research, Climate Change Solutions, Policy

Project Host: UNH Sustainability Institute; Durham, NH

Project Description: Climate Solutions New England (CSNE) is researching and working to promote Integrated Solutions to climate change (http://sustainableunh.unh.edu/csne-integrated-solutions-climate-change). In 2016, CSNE developed a partnership with the New England Municipal Sustainability Network (“NEMS Network”)—a group of dozens of sustainability professionals working in local governments across New England who gather regularly to share resources and best practices.  CSNE seeks two Sustainability Fellows to work in collaboration researching and creating Integrated Solutions case studies focused on initiatives being led or considered by network members.  The goals are to identify and support dissemination of new Integrated Solutions, thereby increasing the impact of the NEMS Network and accelerating climate and energy transformation in New England.

10) Sustainability Roadmap for Local New England Communities

Project Themes: Waste Minimization, Planning, Outreach

Project Host: New England Municipal Sustainability Network

Project Description: The New England Municipal Sustainability Network comprises sustainability staff from communities across New England, who gather regularly to share resources and best practices.  The NE Community Climate Action Framework Fellow will examine the plethora of existing community energy and climate change commitments (e.g. Mayors Compact, Climate Neutral Cities Alliance, etc.), and use that research to help NEMSN develop its own framework/s to advance and support members’ climate and energy work.

11) Supporting Neighborhood Sustainability Engagement

Project Themes: Outreach, Community Organizing, Municipal Policy

Project Host: Office of Sustainability; Providence, RI

Project Description: Local communities need organized residents and businesses, as well as an open and engaging municipal government, to advance sustainability and create stronger communities.  The Neighborhood Sustainability Fellow will develop a guide for residents and businesses to provide better access to current City programs and resources that support sustainability.

12) Identifying Opportunities for Carbon Reductions through Electrification of Thermal Energy Systems

Project Themes: Data Analysis, Building Energy Systems, Municipal Policy

Project Host: Office of Sustainability; Cambridge, MA

Project Description: The City of Cambridge aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from all Cambridge buildings by mid-century. One key strategy is electrification: transitioning heating and cooling systems from reliance on fossil fuels like natural gas to electric technologies that can be powered by renewable electricity (e.g., heat pumps). The  Fellow will produce a white paper that offers a preliminary roadmap for building electrification efforts in Cambridge.

13) Advancing a New Approach to Promotion of Residential Energy Efficiency Programs

Project Themes: Data Analysis, Community Outreach, Building Systems and Energy Efficiency, Municipal Policy

Project Host: Office of Sustainability and Planning; Northampton, MA

Project Description: Increasing the efficiency of residential housing stock is imperative to the success of community climate change mitigation efforts—yet participation in efficiency programs is typically 6% or less.  The Community Energy Efficiency Fellow will help the City of Northampton advance a targeted new approach to promoting residential energy efficiency upgrades, through data analysis, GIS work, surveys of community members, and data platform development.

14) Improving Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory Methodologies

Project Themes: Carbon Footprints, Modeling and Analysis, Climate Action Planning

Project Host: Office of Sustainability and Planning; Northampton, MA

Project Description: The first step for any institution, business or community in tackling climate change is developing a carbon footprint and climate action plan—to identify what is driving emissions, strategic opportunities for mitigation, and the likely impact of various strategies.  Yet obtaining the necessary community-wide data can be difficult if not impossible, leaving communities to rely on proxy data and/or models.  The Climate Action Data Analysis Fellow will engage deeply in data collection, analysis and modeling to support Northampton’s climate mitigation and adaptation plans and implementation efforts, focusing especially on solutions to problem of “bad data” for the community carbon footprint.

15) Improving Stakeholder-Driven Climate Planning Through Effective Community Carbon Footprint Analysis and Communication

Project Themes: Effective Communications and Outreach, Carbon Footprints

Project Host: Office of Sustainability; Somerville, MA

Project Description: The City of Somerville is preparing to embark on a community and stakeholder-oriented climate change planning process during 2017, and part of that preparation is the need to make key climate information accessible and relevant for citizens and decision-makers. To meet this need, the Somerville Community Carbon Footprint Fellow will update the City of Somerville’s greenhouse gas inventory and then focus on developing outreach tools and materials around the results.

16) Supporting Climate Action with Data and Analysis

Project Themes: Data Analysis, Carbon Footprint, Climate Change Vulnerability

Project Host: Dedham, MA

Project Description: Many small communities have few or no dedicated sustainability staff, but real commitments to sustainability issues.  The town of Dedham is an example of such a community; with one full-time sustainability “staffer” the town is working to be a leader in issues ranging from recycling to energy (including its work as a Massachusetts Green Community) to land conservation and transportation improvements.  Dedham’s current goal is to achieve 20% reductions of GHG emissions below 2009 levels, and its GHG inventory and energy reduction plan need to be updated to advance achievement of that goal.  The Dedham Climate Action Data Analysis Fellow will engage deeply in data collection and analysis to support Dedham’s climate action efforts.

17) Supporting Climate Action with Data and Analysis

Project Themes: Data Analysis, Carbon Footprint

Project Host: Amherst, MA

Project Description: The town of Amherst has instituted a number of climate and energy projects (https://www.amherstma.gov/1678/Current-and-proposed-projects), but does not yet have a baseline greenhouse gas inventory or climate action plan.  The Amherst Climate Action Data Analysis Fellow will create the town’s first carbon footprint analysis, which will be used as tool for setting goals, identifying and prioritizing greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, and measuring future progress.

18) Identifying and Mitigating Vulnerabilities in an Inland Community’s Stormwater Infrastructure

Project Themes: Climate Adaptation, Engineering, Stormwater Systems

Project Host: Amherst, MA

Project Description: As more intense rainfall events become more frequent in communities across New England due to climate change, towns and cities are increasingly being challenged to update their infrastructure systems to accommodate this “new normal.”  The Stormwater Preparedness Fellow will work with the Town of Amherst’s Department of Public Works, engineering staff and Sustainability Coordinator to assess infrastructure needs and adaptive strategies that will allow Amherst to ensure continuity of vital services and systems.

19) Developing a Statewide Campaign for Addressing the Mental Health Impacts of Climate Change and Improving Human Resilience

Project Themes: Mental Health, Public Health, Climate Change, Advocacy, Community Engagement

Project Host: Solavida; Burlington, VT

Project Description: While public understanding of the impacts of climate change on human health is poor across the United States, many organizations are have begun working to raise awareness of what will likely become the human health challenge of the 21st century. In recent years, information has begun moving from the academic community into the general public discourse—yet within that broad push, mental health has received little attention. The Human Resilience Fellow will support a nascent effort to address this challenge, developing a pilot program for advocacy and outreach in NH that will be designed to be readily applied to other New England states and beyond.

20) Analyzing the Business Case for New Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies at UNH

Project Themes: Finance, Energy, Engineering

Project Host: UNH Energy Office

Project Description: The University of New Hampshire expects to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goals ahead of schedule, and seeks to develop updated carbon reduction goals as well as a campus climate and energy resilience plan.  The UNH Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fellow will work with the University’s Energy Office and Energy Task Force to identify and scope existing and emerging options for energy storage on campus. 

21) Assessing Opportunities for Enhanced Community Outreach by the NH Food Bank

Project Themes: Community Outreach, Food Security

Project Host: New Hampshire Food Bank; Manchester, NH

Project Description: The New Hampshire Food Bank serves the state of New Hampshire through food distribution and unique outreach programs that provide sustainable avenues to ending hunger. Through the department, Recipe for Success, the Fellow will work with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters® program and the Nutrition Incentive Network’s Granite State Market Match to develop and execute assessments statewide to address the best way to connect potential participants to the programs in communities throughout the state. 

22) NH Food Alliance Market Development

Project Themes: Local Food, Business Development, Outreach

Project Host: NH Food Alliance; Durham, NH

Project Description: The NH Food Alliance Market Development Action Team works to enhance the capacity of service providers to provide technical, educational, and financial assistance to food entrepreneurs related to production, efficiency, value-added processing, and meeting regulatory demands of wholesale markets.  The NH Food Alliance Market Development fellow will support this mission by helping to identify funding mechanisms and service providers to aid the development and expansion of the market for locally produced food products in NH.

Questions? Contact Megan Carney at  megan dot carney at unh dot edu.