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Earth Science and Geography
2019 Project Proposal

Data analysis for climate action and sustainability

Mary Ann Cunningham (Geography)

Climate action and sustainability on a college campus is increasingly a matter of data analysis. It involves extensive collection, analysis, visualization, management, and communication of data on energy, costs, and other factors. This type of data assessment is an emerging area of research, and learning these approaches is fundamental for students interested in quantitative assessments of sustainability and of climate action more broadly. In conversation with other institutions carrying out similar analysis, this project seeks to collect and evaluate data and to help develop strategies for data reporting. Ultimately, analysis in this project is intended to contribute to Vassar’s Climate Action Plan and related sustainability goals. In addition to data analysis, our work will include meetings with a variety of interested parties to gather and contextualize data and to identify further needs.

Prerequisites:
Familiarity with Excel, JMP, or other data management and graphing software; experience in energy systems and campus sustainability is preferred. Evidence of interest in these topics is necessary.

How should students express interest in this project?
Interested students are encouraged to be explicit in their application about why they are interested in this project and what relevant background or experience they bring to it, if any. I hope the student selected will be enthusiastic about data collection and visualization, that they will be organized and good at arranging meetings with multiple people from different backgrounds, and that they are able to write well. I hope for a person with considerable initiative in connecting with people across campus, and on other campuses, who are involved in data collection and management. 

Students may email me (macunningham@vassar.edu) or see me during office hours to express interest or ask questions, if they like.