School of Global Environmental Sustainability announces Global Challenges Research Teams, Resident Fellow Awards

GCRT image SoGES hands
Research proposed by Global Challenges Research Teams shows potential for providing greater understanding towards transformational outcomes for real-world problems.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University has selected four Global Challenges Research Teams and six faculty Research Fellows from a competitive field of proposals. The awards are intended to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of complex global environmental issues, foster collaborative cross-campus partnerships, and support sustainability research at CSU.

SoGES funds innovative and interdisciplinary sustainability research that addresses grand challenges, involving faculty members and researchers from across colleges.

“We had some very creative submissions this year,” said SoGES Director Diana Wall. “The high quality of the proposals shows that sustainability continues to be an important focus and concern for CSU researchers.”

The Global Challenges Research Teams include:

  • Clothing and Sustainability: Policy Implications through Structured Public Deliberation. Principal Investigators: Sonali Diddi and Ruoh-Nan (Terry) Yan, Department of Design and Merchandising; Susan Opp, Department of Political Science; Martin Carcasson, Department of Communication Studies; Katie McShane, Department of Philosophy; and Brittany Bloodhart, Department of Atmospheric Science.This team will examine current practices of post-consumer textile waste management and community perceptions regarding clothing lifecycle. They plan to develop evidence-based policy recommendations using data gathered from perspectives of consumers, businesses and local municipality officials in Northern Colorado.

    denim sustainable clothing
    The Denim Visual Impact display shows the large amount of textile waste that enters landfills each year.
  • Northern Colorado Sustainable Systems Analysis Network. Principal Investigators: John J. Sheehan, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; Molly Saylor, City of Fort Collins; Thomas Bradley, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Ken Reardon, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Richard Conant, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; William Parton, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Michael Carolan, Department of Sociology; Shawn Archibeqeue, Department of Animal Sciences; and Marco Costanigro, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.This team will connect the research needs of Northern Colorado’s local governments with sustainable systems analysts at CSU to evaluate strategies for climate mitigation, waste reduction, and water conservation. The team will leverage existing research efforts for increased innovation and application.
  • Crisis and Creativity. Principal Investigators: Edward K. Hall, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Dan Beachy-Quick and Cedar Brant, Department of English; and Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship; Stewart W. Breck, USDA APHIS-National Wildlife Research Center; Christopher Schell, Department of Biology; and Felicia Zamora, Continuing Education.This team represents a unique, trans-disciplinary collaboration between the natural sciences and the humanities that will address the increasing threat that species loss poses to global environmental sustainability. The team will develop a multi-media exhibition of art and nested educational outreach activities to translate the current biodiversity crisis through visual, audio and textual installation for the public at large.
  • Enhancing Community Well-being through Horticulture and Design. Principal Investigators: Jessica Davis, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; Chris Bell, Department of Health and Exercise Science; Albert Bimper, Department of Ethnic Studies; Alessandro Bonanno, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Brian Dunbar, Institute for the Built Environment; Chris Melby, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition; Sybil Sharvelle, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Lorann Stallones, Colorado School of Public Health; and Michael Steger, Department of Psychology. Horticulture and urban design have wide-ranging impacts on physical, mental, and emotional health of individuals and on community well-being. Design components including parks, community gardens, playgrounds, sports fields, green spaces, and natural settings all contribute to individual and community well-being. This team will bring faculty and students together from across campus to tackle the challenges of sustainability in urban environments.

Beachy-Quick, principal investigator for the Crisis and Creativity Global Challenges Research Team said, “This award from SoGES shows a faith in the possibility that the arts and the sciences can find visionary ways to address large-scale environmental and social issues not by each discipline housing itself inside its expertise, but by finding meaningful forms of collaboration. Most exciting, the award has within it the promise of establishing Colorado State University as a place devoted to exploring and fostering such necessary, and unexpected, experiments.”

Six Resident Fellows will also receive support from the School to advance studies in global environmental sustainability:

  • Thomas Dean, Department of Management. Dean’s plan is to investigate what happens when larger corporations with multiple lines of business purchase smaller companies that emphasize organic or natural products.
  • Sophie Esch, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Esch’s fellowship plan is to explore the link between wildlife and drug trafficking in Latin American culture. She plans to work towards a book project about the ecological, political, and aesthetic implications of three major commodities that flow from and to Latin America: drugs, arms, and animals. Additionally, she plans to organize a colloquium on contraband and biodiversity in fall 2017.
  • Julia Klein, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Klein’s fellowship will provide the opportunity to further develop a feature-length documentary film about a small and dedicated group of people in the Cordillera Blanca Region of Peru grappling with the immediate effects of climate change.
  • Anna Perry, Department of Design and Merchandising. Perry’s key objective is to explore sustainable disposal methods and use these methods to make sustainable smart clothing to meet consumer needs.
  • Andrew Seidl, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Seidl will work on the United Nations Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative to create educational products and training on conservation finance and environmental mainstreaming. BIOFIN partners with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to quantify country level biodiversity investment gaps and to identify policy strategies to bridge the gap.
  • Kenneth Shockley, Department of Philosophy. Shockley will investigate the connections between the reasons that move us as individuals and those that we use to justify policy decisions to one another, and how these connections shape our response to environmental problems.

“I am extremely pleased – excited and thrilled – to be selected to be part of a community of scholars working to address some of today’s most challenging environmental problems,” Shockley said. “The SoGES resident fellowship will allow me to engage more fully the extraordinary breadth and depth of environmental research on campus and in our region as I develop my own contribution to this community.”

About the School of Global Environmental Sustainability

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability is at the core of a growing number of exciting sustainability initiatives in research and education at Colorado State University. SoGES serves as a hub to connect CSU’s community of scholars and practitioners interested in applying interdisciplinary perspectives to large-scale environmental, economic, and social questions not easily addressed through traditional approaches.