Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Aliza Furneaux and Yuxiang Shen

Lafayette College Nitrogen Footprint

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Benjamin Cohen

Managing the nitrogen cycle is one of the NAE’s fourteen Grand Challenges. Reactive nitrogen is particularly damaging to healthy ecosystems and includes all forms of nitrogen compounds except N2. From contributions by human processes, levels of reactive nitrogen in the environment are twice the level derived from non-human natural nitrogen cycles. The negative impacts include well-cataloged factors in global warming, reduced water quality, and increased acid deposition, while also leading to biodiversity loss, aquatic dead zones, and reduced air quality. Lafayette College has joined a consortium of colleges to calculate its nitrogen footprint. The N-print project discussed here follows from a model created at the University of Virginia. The model assesses the reactive nitrogen contribution of an institution by accounting for contributions from food consumption and production, utilities, transportation, research animals, and fertilizer. The project has adapted different data collection techniques to adjust for the size and character of Lafayette College. This paper reports on the process and current findings to show how plans for mitigating and reducing reactive nitrogen pollution can follow from an assessment of the N-print.

About Aliza Furneaux:
Aliza Furneaux is studying to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Environmental Science from Lafayette College. As a student and Vice President of Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, Aliza’s research revolves around reactive nitrogen. Her focus is on the reactive nitrogen footprint of the Lafayette College institution.

About Yuxiang Shen:
Yuxiang Shen is a junior student at Lafayette College pursuing a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a B.A. in Philosophy.  Yuxiang has an academic curiosity in both science and humanities, and a genuine care for the environment and society.  Yuxiang is working with Professor Cohen and Aliza on the nitrogen footprint project to help estimate and decrease the nitrogen emission at Lafayette College.