Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.39
Liaison Laura Draucker
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Amherst College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Laura Draucker
Director of Sustainability
Office of Environmental Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

We have had several student projects over the last 3 years related to Air & Climate. Examples include two students doing summer research projects studying the role climate pricing and solar energy can play in reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions and promoting effective greenhouse gas reduction projects.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

A student completed an Environmental Studies thesis in 2017 on energy use in our new dorm buildings.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Students in the Intro in Environmental Studies class (open to all majors) are given kill-a-watt meters to monitor energy use of their laptops and other appliances in their dorm rooms. They have shown statistically significant reduction in laptop energy use by changing their charging behaviors. This information gets students excited about engaging with sustainability on campus. It also helps to justify resources on behavior change tools.

We also have a student completing a summer research project to create (1) a tool to analyze and present energy metered data to students in a way that will drive behavior change (2) Maps/visualization to help us understand how energy is used on campus

Stats Fellows are doing a project (2018-2019) on energy meter data.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

Several classes have engaged with our campus farm to investigate how theories they learn in class related to real world situations on the farm. As an example, the environmental economics course met with the farmers to learn about their economic models and realities as they compare to the models they studied in their course.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

Students in Biology do a bio-blitz around the campus grounds, and the data can be used to inform grounds decisions.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

Students are involving in analyzing purchasing data from the dining facility to complete STARS and influence purchasing behavior.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

The OES provides leadership opportunities for students to lead the campus bike share program, which was initially a student-driven project supported by the OES.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

A student completed a summer research project investigating how we can take a phased approach to reducing and ultimately eliminate waste from our take out dining facility. They identified the need of composting in more places on campus, which is being rolled out by our custodial department as a result of their work.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

A student is doing a summer research project to develop a comprehensive study on how water is used on campus (facilities, dining, tap, bottled) and present suggestions on how we might develop a water use plan (considering the future impacts of climate change on water use in this region).


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

Several students participate in the Climate Action PLan task force and do projects with the Office of Sustainability to help improve communications around the Climate Action Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

Students work for the various centers within our office of diversity and engage on advancing progress on diversity.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

A student completed a summer research project studying the most effective ways to engage the campus community on sustainability. The results of their work formed the basis of the new eco-reps program and helped to justify the funding for this initiative.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

Students participate as peer advocates for wellness.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
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A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.