Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.78
Liaison Jessica Bowen
Submission Date March 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Aquinas College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.60 / 4.00 Jessica Eimer Bowen
Director of Sustainability
Center for 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:

Student interns in the sustainability office take a lead role in compiling Climate Leadership Network reports (carbon footprint and progress reports), with supervision from the campus sustainability director.


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

Student interns in the sustainability office take a lead role in compiling Climate Leadership Network reports (carbon footprint and progress reports), with supervision from the campus sustainability director. Student interns partner with the Director of the Green Revolving Fund (GRF) on campus to assess potential GRF projects, track savings from projects and predict future savings. They also are leading the effort to update our real-time energy displays, located in the lobbies of 10 campus buildings.


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:

Numerous staff, student, and faculty volunteers (alongside student sustainability office interns) play an active role in the campus community garden. A couple students also serve on the Infrastructure Sustainability Committee, the group who oversees the community garden.


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:

Mary Clinthorne, Geography professor, worked with her Fall 2017 GIS class and her Spring 2018 capstone class to develop the first draft of our AQ story map of the trees on the Aquinas College campus.


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

Student Sustainability Advocates champion the zero waste initiative in their respective areas. Several classes also give credit for students to assist with the education effort in the zero waste initiative. Multiple classes uses the campus zero waste initiative in class projects, such as our capstone Geography/Environmental Studies class with research projects.


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:

- The Senior Geography seminar is a venue for this type of research to occur. An example is a current Senior Thesis is a water salinity monitoring project that assesses salinity increases in the ponds/creeks on the Aquinas Campus in the aftermath of snow events and salt applications.
- Rebecca Humphrey, Biology professor, worked with her research student to plan and plant a riparian buffer on Coldbrook Creek behind the Brookby mansion on campus.


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:

Each of the 3 sustainability committees (Infrastructure, Community, and Learning) have at least 2 student members.


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

Student interns partner with the Director of the Green Revolving Fund (GRF) on campus to assess potential GRF projects, track savings from projects and predict future savings.


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

Aquinas hired a wellness intern in spring 2018 to assess the state of wellness on campus and make recommendations for the future.


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)?:
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 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.