Current Projects

(see also: Completed Projects: Briefs and Papers)


Oregon Non Profit Organizational Research

Faculty Mentors: Brent Steel

OPAL Research Team: Dolores Vazquez

Project Description: The purpose of this study is to explore how Oregon nonprofit organizations are engaged in policy issues of interest to Oregon’s Latino communities including how the groups were initially formed, what stakeholders were involved, the types of outreach and educational activities engaged in, what kinds of resources are available, and potential barriers and opportunities for success.


Beavers Without Borders (BWOB)

Faculty Mentors: David Bernell

OPAL Research Team: Angela Lavado Alvarado

Project Description: This project seeks to develop, through program evaluation and research, an ongoing support structure for communities where BWOB works. Specifically, based on work in the Dominican Republic, OPAL will conduct a pilot study into building capacity for long-term, sustainable service work. This study will utilize program evaluation tools that can assess effectiveness of program goals and implementation.


The Food-Water-Energy Nexus Policy Clinic

Faculty Mentors: Brent Steel, Becky Warner, Erika Allen Wolters

OPAL Research Team: Dolores Vazquez, Stuty Maskey, Patricia Fernandez, Warda Ajaz, Heather Moline, Angela Lavado Alvarado, Allison Daniel, Najam Uz Zehra Gardezi, Rebecca Langer, Mohamed Elkaramany, Benjamin Wickizer

Project Description: Research into the food, water, and energy nexus to date has focused on the role of government or industries. However, a significant amount of water, food, and energy are consumed at the household level. Conservation of water and energy and reduction of food waste among individual households in aggregate can have a significant impact on recovered energy, water, and food losses. Due to the paucity of research on households regarding the FWE nexus, it is unclear what people’s policy preferences they have, and what trade-offs they would be willing to accept.

The overall aim of this study is to explore food, water, and energy (FWE) nexus policy preferences and opinions, with attention paid to people’s preferred trade-offs among each sector. Through the collection of sociodemographic data and a scale measuring endorsement or rejection of environmental values, we will investigate the role that these variables influence policy preferences in food, water and energy policy.

The FWE Survey was implemented in the winter of 2018. Residents in Oregon, Washington, California, and ID were randomly selected to take part in the survey. Respondents had to be 18 years old or older to participate in the study. Overall, 4,000 surveys were sent, and 1,804 were returned for a response rate of 45.1%.

Survey Summary


Western States Irrigation Modernization

Project Lead: Dr. Ed Weber

OPAL Staff: Jasmine King and Angela Lavado

Project Description: This is a quantitative study of irrigation districts in the Western United States exploring barriers and opportunities of irrigation modernization. This project seeks to inform both policy makers and non-profit organizations working to address the food-water-energy nexus in the west.


Social Acceptability of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Oregon

Project Lead: Dr. Hilary Boudet

OPAL Staff: Allison Daniel and Matthew Perreault

Project Description: The purpose of this study is to qualitatively examine the framing of LNG in Oregon through newspaper articles, letters to editors, and other public records. Specifically, the research will examine how or whether protest framing impacts the issuing of permits, and what frames are most effective for mobilization efforts.


Oregon Association of Conservation Districts (OACD)

Project Lead: Dr. Erika Allen Wolters

OPAL Staff: Alicia Ward

Project Description: This project will explore the development of a system and supporting processes, tools, techniques, protocols, and methodologies to encourage and support effective communication between districts of relevant issues and concern and to provide timely and effective representation of member districts by OACD.


OSU Food Survey

Faculty Mentors: Brent Steel

OPAL Research Team: Margherita Del Prete

Project Description: Food losses and waste represent a raising global concern in the effort to fight hunger, raise income levels, and to improve food security both in industrialized and less developed countries.  The causes of food losses and waste vary throughout regions and are very much dependent on the specific conditions and on the local situations.  The overall aim of this study is to assess the food behavior and understanding of college students concerning food waste. The purpose of this work is to analyze consumer behavior toward food waste, with a special focus on the reasons that led to make certain choices. Moreover, the perception of college students on the social, environmental and economic impacts of food waste will be investigated. Results from the survey will be made available on the OPAL site once the project is completed.