Students conducting solar farm research

Center for Applied Sustainability Research

The Shi Institute’s Center for Applied Sustainability Research, formerly known as Collaborative for Community-Engaged Learning (CEL), partners with government agencies, nonprofits, and community members to deeply understand and address community challenges and provide formative experiences for students through research opportunities. The Center provides opportunities for students, faculty, and community partners to learn from one another and leverage community assets and expertise to develop creative solutions to promote healthier and more equitable communities. The Center’s mission of solving social and ecological issues is carried out through the work of Community Engaged Research, the CHESS lab, and Sustainability Consulting.

Students meeting with community member

Community Based Research

The Shi Institute provides spatially-oriented data research and analysis for local community partners via mutually beneficial partnerships. Topics of past projects include public transportation, gentrification, and affordable housing.

Community Based Research


The Collaborative for Human and Environmental Sustainability Solutions (CHESS) lab supports real-world research projects designed to promote sustainable communities. The lab's current research focuses on promoting the value of nature, limiting the negative effects of urbanization on human and environmental health, and assessing the impacts and trade-offs of policies and incentives.

Student reading a book in the grass
Professor presenting to professionals

Sustainability Consulting

The Shi Institute provides a variety of consulting, professional, and educational services.