Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 49.63
Liaison Yaffa Grossman
Submission Date May 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Beloit College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsay Chapman
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

Two Sustainability Fellow students in the summer of 2015 evaluated the efficiency of the campus chiller systems and whether or not expanding air conditioning to some of the historic houses could be done using the existing chiller capacity. Conclusions demonstrated that this could not be done inside a 20 year payback taking into consideration economic values for student comfort when AC is needed in southern WI (summer - early fall), while emitting more greenhouse gas emissions.


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:

One Sustainability Fellow student in the summer of 2014 worked closely with the Director of Facilities to assess radon levels in several of the historic buildings' basements. Her research helped establish a radon mitigation program that was put into place during the fall semester.


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:

In summer 2015, two Sustainability Fellows worked on evaluating the a proposed heating system for a new planned student union center called the Powerhouse. The proposed heating system was a thermally active skin for the building that would leverage its thick masonry and location along the riverfront. Conclusions rendered the heating system unwise for the large spaces incorporated into this building. Buildings with smaller rooms would be better suited for such an application. Because of this student research, alternative methods for heating and cooling are now being investigated for the Powerhouse building.


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:

Each fall, summer, and spring, students work in the Beloit Urban Garden (BUG), which is an on-campus student-run garden that supplies fresh, sustainably-grown food to Bon Appétit, the campus dining services vendor. The students manage BUG during the summer and also work with a local non-profit, Community Action, on a nearby community free-pick garden. This joint project educates students about the production of food, and the importance of engaging with other community efforts to cultivate gardens as both sources for healthy food and catalysts for community development.


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:

In 2014 Sustainability Fellow students worked on the restoration management of Chamberlin Springs, which is a wooded nature preserve located on the west side of Beloit and owned by Beloit College. Over time, the preserve became overgrown with invasive woody plants and its experiential learning opportunities dwindled. The college partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to begin restoration of the area around the springs.


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:

In the summer of 2015 a Sustainability Fellow worked with the VP of Finance at Beloit College to author a sustainable purchasing policy for the institution. The policy listed requirements such as a 3 bid process for all purchases over $5000, and listed guidelines for how to make less carbon intensive purchases, along with guidelines on vetting vendors.


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:

During the 2014-15 academic year the Sustainability Coordinator worked with a Psychology research methods class to develop a transportation survey for students, faculty, and staff to assess the level of commuting and what forms that takes: carpooling, biking, single-car driving, walking, etc.
During the fall of 2016 the Sustainability Coordinator worked with student workers to investigate the options for an electric vehicle charging station for faculty driving from Madison (1 hr - 45 min commute), and also investigated the options for upgrading the College's zipcar program to an electric or hybrid vehicle. Conclusions were made that a hybrid vehicle would be a better fit because of the on-demand usage sometimes precludes the need to charge up an electric-only vehicle.


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:

Each semester for the last year, students have held a food waste awareness event in partnership with Bon Appetit, our dining services provider, to increase awareness about the pounds of food wasted from students plates every meal. This event is a week-long event where students scrape off the left over food from their plates before sending their plates to the dish room. Feedback from the event has been positive and students are always interested in volunteering the event and come away with an understanding that even a little food wasted by each student adds up tremendously when compounded by more than 1,000 students each meal.

Beloit College holds a 3-week-long recycling competition annually to promote awareness about proper recycling. Every floor, special interest house, fraternity and sorority house on the residential side of campus competed against one another. Each floor is scored by a group of trained Recycling Judges, who then help fellow residents understand what items can and cannot be recycled.


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:

In 2014, a Sustainability Fellow student researched the costs and benefits of transitioning our sports fields from being irrigated with water cannons to an in-ground watering system. During the following semester she proposed her project to the College's Revolving Loan Fund committee and received funding for the in-ground irrigation system, saving the college an average of 750,000 gallons of water each year.


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:

In the summer of 2014, a Sustainability Fellow student worked with the Sustainability Coordinator to prepare Beloit College's first STARS report. The data gathered by the student and the subsequent STARS rating and report helped the Sustainability department execute a plan of action to address a more well-rounded view of sustainability at Beloit College.


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?:
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:

Environmental Art and Climate Change: In the summer of 2015, a student researched the following question: what role can art play in addressing climate change? Through the project, the student analyzed questions such as how are artists depicting, exploring, challenging climate change, how does artwork reveal different environmental narratives, how can art interact with science and politics?


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:

In the summer of 2016, two Sustainability Fellow students evaluated the College's plans for a new student union building with a lens of health and wellness. Their conclusions help define what the college views as spaces geared towards health and wellness and have been incorporated into the future planning of the new student union building.

Additionally, a third Sustainability Fellow student conducted an inventory of all of the spaces on Beloit's campus that are used for health and wellness activities in the summer of 2014. The inventory was created into a dynamic GIS "tour" map.


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)?:
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 other areas:

Environmental Writing: in the summer of 2015, a Sustainability Fellow student shadowed other Sustainability Fellows who worked with local landscapes to explore the Sustainability Fellowships projects with local landscape planning and conserving. The sites she worked with include Chamberlin Springs, Nygren Wetlands and the Prairie Preserve. Through writing, she presented the importance of the work conducted by all the sites and showed the passion of sustainability fellows toward protecting the landscape against invasive species.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Most, but not all of the projects listed above can be found on the sustainability fellows website URL. A few of the projects, like the annual and bi-annual food waste and recycling competitions, are housed on the www.beloit.edu/sustainability/ site as they are happening during the year, but are taken down when other events are occurring.

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.