CaLL Project
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TCNJ CaLL Project

Welcome to TCNJ's Campus as a Living Lab!

Potential benefits of CaLL:

  • A Better Future: Students, facilities, and staff can play a role in improving the campus’s future.
  • Networking: Students, facilities, and staff interact together, along with experts. These Connections from CaLL can lead to future career opportunities.
  • Experience: The CaLL project can be desirable by potential employers. It also promotes critical thinking and creativity
  • Collaboration Experience: Working with other TCNJ students, facilities and staff provides opportunity to improve leadership, people skills, and etc.
  • Envionmental image

    What is CaLL?

    In the Spring of 2007, President Gitenstein signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and established The Presidents’ Climate Commitment Committee (PCCC). This agreement develops a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality for the TCNJ campus by launching tangible actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The committee has since transitioned into formal governance, and now officially operates as TCNJ’s Environmental Sustainability Council (ESC).

    As a part of the ESC, Campus as a Living Lab (CaLL) is an institutional framework that uses the college campus as a core space for student learning. It follows a set of policies and practices geared toward environmental sustainability and facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty, staff, and students. Campus as a Living Lab links classwork and faculty research to campus policies and practices, creating an impactful change within the campus community and beyond.

    Campus as a Living Lab (CaLL) works towards making TCNJ’s campus more environmentally friendly and promoting social justice throughout the campus community. The program implements several principles, policies, and practices to achieve its goals within colleges across the country. CaLL works with all who are a part of campus life, including faculty, staff, and students.

    CaLL can be seen in several courses, faculty research, student organizations, and many acts across campus. CaLL’s influence at TCNJ promotes growth in environmental sustainability and climate justice.

    The Campus' 4 Main Goals

    There are 4 main goals of the CaLL (Campus as Living Lab) project:

  • To improve the sustainability and attractiveness on campus as we change what is needed to combat climate change, environmental injustice, and the biodiversity crisis.
  • To improve and enhance on-hand learning opportunities for students.
  • To increase the recognition of TCNJ’s sustainability achievements
  • To improve the continuity of learning projects and collaboration over the medium-and long-term between faculty, staff, and students

  • Recycling and Waste Reduction

    Not only has the campus implemented hydration stations that reduce the amount of plastic bottles being used, but they also implemented:

  • Continuation and expansion of campus-wide recycling containers.
  • Implementation of a single stream recycling effort and education program/recycling website.
  • Use of recycled paper in towel dispensers.
  • Installation of scrap dumpster for metal scrap collection.
  • All green material from campus is sent to a composting facility versus including it in the trash stream.
  • Using drought-resistant grass, shrubs and trees to reduce watering requirements.
  • Using native planting materials that do not require special treatments to thrive in the environment.
  • Host America Recycles Day activities annually to raise awareness towards TCNJ’s recycling program.
  • Developed recycling educational programs including Welcome Week bags containing recycling flyers in student resident rooms; “TCNJ Recycling” as part of Welcome Week, and all Residential Education staff receiving website training for TCNJ’s recycling program.
  • group planting at TCNJ

    Ongoing events:

    Pilot Turf and Landscaping Management Program

    Through training from experts, and soil tests to learn about the current soil conditions and what needs to be done to improve soil quality, students and facilities staff will learn what it means to manage turf organically on a 1000-square-foot pilot area.


    Native Wildflower Meadow

    Through training from experts, students, facilities staff, and faculty will use this area to engage in learning about core sustainability ideas. This area will allow for new research on native plants, biodiversity, and more to be done, as well as offer a new recreation area for students, faculty, and the Ewing community.

    TCNJ Marilyn Gray Early Childhood Education Outdoor Classroom

    An area on campus by the Education building (the side that faces Forcina Hall), that combines meeting space with native plants and trees provides professors and students an area to engage in outdoor learning.

    Research potential redesigns of Route 31 near campus

    Professor Brennan (Engineering) and Professor Bates (Sociology), explore ways to make the entrances and roadways near campus more inviting and safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-car traffic (such as skateboards) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from private cars.

    Upcoming events:

    April 19: Climate Justice & Social Action Students Pollinator Planting from 10 am – 12 pm.

    Green Lane Field Pedestrian Bridge, ANT/SOC 346 Climate Justice & Social Action Students lead a planting of pollinator Meadow with First Year CEL students and any other interested members of the campus community.

    April 26: Climate Justice & Social Action Students Organic Landscaping from 12:30 – 2:30 pm.

    ANT/SOC 346 Climate Justice & Social Action Students lead a planting of the Organic Landscaping Pilot Area for Earth Week with ECE 302 students and any other interested members of the campus community.

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    Get Involved

    Contact Information

    Students can get involved with the sustainability club and the CaLL project by working with professors for research, hands-on projects and more. Follow us on social media and attend any of our upcoming events to get involved with us ASAP!

    Environmental Sustainability Club

    The Environmental Sustainability Council is a club at TCNJ that advises in the strategic planning of College facilities, grounds, and emissions to continually improve the college’s environmental sustainability and green profile. The council acts as a resource to the educational programming of the College including opportunities for community-engaged learning. The Council, consisting of TCNJ faculty, staff, and students, has been engaged with a variety of projects and initiatives working towards climate neutrality for the TCNJ campus.

    Follow us on Instagram to learn more about us and get involved:

  • Campus as a Living Lab – @tcnjlivinglab
  • Environmental Sustainability Council – @tcnj_esc
  • Bonner Garden –

  • Also, we have student-led groups:

  • @tcnjorganicland
  • @tcnjenvironmentalclub
  • @nativeplantstcnj
  • @lions_composting

  • Meeting Information

    The ESC meets the first Wednesday of each month from 1:30 – 2:50 PM in Physics P122. Contact ESC co-chairs Shannon Graham or Paul Romano for information.

    Here is a sample of open issues discussed at a meeting:

    Improving transit and mobility to and from campus Sustainability in the curriculum TCNJ Campus Garden developments Sustainability projects

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    Available Courses

    Relatable Courses Students Can Take


    Transportation I- Engineering, CIV41 – Thomas Brennan

  • Students will be researching potential redesigns of Route 31 to make transit safer and promote pedestrian and two-wheeled transportation (bicycles, scooters, skateboards). With the overall goal of making the main entrance safer for pedestrians.
  • Urban Sociology, SOC 320 – Diane Bates

  • Students will help improve pedestrian & cyclist/skateboard safety on campus and between roadways and campus- Urban Sociology (Bates)

  • Landscaping

    Climate Justice and Social Action, ANT/SOC 346 – Miriam Shakow

  • Students will learn about community organizing. Student groups will choose a topic and make a demand. Many of those projects will focus on landscaping, composting, phasing out harmful chemicals, and native planting (getting a perm native plants meadow).
  • Math and Science in Early Childhood Education, ECE 302 – Louise Ammentorp.

  • Students will visit the meadow and learn about native plants and pollination. Environmental Sustainability Education committee with Marisa Bellino. Kathleen Grant (see below) is helping.
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents, EPSY 661 – Kathleen Grant

  • (Module on Ecotherapy). Children not having exposure and connection to nature is a source of distress. Nature is an important intervention when you think of healing. In the course, students will get hands-on exposure to nature with planting near the school of Education. They will notice their emotional state before, during, and after. In Spring 2025, Kathleen Grant wants to do a climate-aware EcoTherapy course.

  • Biodiversity/Invasives Surveys

    People and Plants, BIO 215 (Fall 2023) – Janet Morrison

  • Survey of invasive plants on campus.
  • The Biology of Seed Plants, BIO 341– Leeannn Thornton

  • Course Description: Students will establish sampling plots to collect data on early spring wildflowers. Lab activities are related to this project. There might be 8-10 hours on the project as it is woven into other course activities.
  • Growing a Green Lens, BIO 370A – Wendy Clement

  • Students will study the need for (native) plants and how they play a role in biodiversity. Students will write plant histories and detail plant families and distributions. Who are their relatives? What plants can serve medicinal purposes?

  • Graphic Design, Communication

    Typography, AAV 252 (Fall 2023) – Annette Von Brandis

  • Students will develop a CaLL logo to use for signage/branding
  • Under Interface Experience, IMM 420 – Annette Von Brandis

  • Students will create an information architecture for a universal Sustainability site that encompasses ESC, CaLL, and the Offices of Sustainability, Energy as well as courses, clubs, etc.
  • Writing for User Experience, JPW 250 – Kim Pearson

  • Students will develop content design and strategy that complements information architecture emerging from IMM 420 Web class. They will ID SEO keywords, FAQs, forms; create a taxonomy, content style guide
  • Conceptual Image, AAV 253 – Jason Alejandro

  • Students will work on a logo for the ESC. This could turn into a building block for other communication needs like signage across campus
  • Ecocrit in Medieval Literature, Lit 499 – Glenn Steinberg

  • Students will read about how people perceive the natural world. They will create content for a future interactive map. The course will cover the history of natural spaces on campus and how they are used, maintained, and interacted with.
  • Intro to Public Relations, COM 261- Kelli Jean Smith

  • Students will write press releases for any CaLL initiatives for things that the ESC or the Office of Sustainability has already achieved as well as any events on campus that pertain to CaLL.
  • For More Information:

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