Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.97
Liaison Dennis Carlberg
Submission Date Aug. 2, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Stephen Ellis
Data Manager
sustainability@BU
"---" 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:

As a part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Sarah Yasenka (CAS '17) worked with faculty mentor Jeffrey Geddes to “Monitor Air Quality in the Greater Boston Area from Space”. Using satellite images, Sarah assessed the effects of meteorology and anthropogenic activities on pollutant plumes in the region. Her work contributes to BU’s understanding of the quality of air on campus and enables it to develop strategies to mitigate or improve its air quality.


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:

Students Chengyu Deng, Xiaotong Niu, Qian Zhang worked with sustainability@BU data manager Marcus Welker on Mapping the Intensity of Energy Use Across Boston University. This project was done as part of BU Spark! “an initiative to support student-driven innovation and entrepreneurship in computer science, computer engineering and related disciplines”. The report’s findings contribute to BU’s understanding of electricity and gas consumption drivers and how to mitigate consumption.

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. The first project problem focused on infrastructure resiliency to sea level rise in Boston. The group explored the feasibility of sea walls and moratoriums on future construction along the coast and in low lying areas, such as BU’s east campus. How these decisions would impact the economy of Boston and neighborhoods of varying economic levels were also considered.


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:

As part of Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Alecia Griffin worked with faculty mentor Mark Horenstein on “Self-Cleaning Solar Power: Safely and Efficiently Supplying Power to Electrodynamic Screens”. Griffins worked on the electrodynamic screen (EDS) film technology found on photovoltaic and concentrated solar power mirrors to assess the loss in energy yield and water demand for cleaning EDS film. This research contributes to improving the sustainability of solar power which is an energy source that is considered for future use on BU’s campus.

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One project topic was Energy Use and Development. This group researched state and local energy markets and policies to develop policies that will encourage green energy growth and reduce the grids carbon footprint. This group was also charged with the task of assessing how local municipalities, businesses, and universities can ameliorate climate change in the absence of federal action.


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:

College of General Studies Capstone Group R developed a 50-page research paper on Genetically Modified Organisms and their use in food products. They specifically looked at products purchased and used in BU dining halls. Their paper integrated the ethical, social, and political issues surrounding GMOs with current scientific research. Additionally, they “conducted student surveys, interviewed GMO scientists from Monsanto Corporation, interviewed Boston University dining hall administrators and conducted their own laboratory analyses of dining hall foods”. This work contributes to the ongoing debates surrounding GMO’s in our food, including their sustainability.


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:

As a part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Yaofeng Gu (CAS ’17) worked with faculty mentor Dan Li on “A Temporal Analysis of Urban Heat Island Effect of the Boston Area”. Gu’s model is one the first to include urban areas due to the difficulty of incorporating the landscape effects, such as the shadows created by tall buildings. This study aids in BU’s understanding of the heat island’s effect on campus and how the grounds can impact the temperature of the 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?:
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 College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One of the project topics was focused on urban sustainability; specifically, the project tries to solve the expansion of urban sprawl. The negative environmental and social impacts of sprawl include land-use issues, housing costs, and transportation issues, such as emissions and congestion. The objective of this project is to develop a city planning strategy that reduces sprawl while improving transportation systems and providing affordable housing. The environmental and health impacts of the emissions produced by long and traffic-plagued commutes can reduce the quality of life and have health consequences.


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:

Rachel Eckles (CAS ’17), as her senior thesis, researched and outlined strategies BU can pursue to become a Zero Waste Institution. Increasing diversion and recycling rates, hiring a Zero Waste Manager, and negotiating Zero Waste contracts with vendors are a few of the strategies outlined in her thesis.


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:

Members from student government wanted better signage water bottle refilling stations so that they would be easier to be found on campus. Ryan Peters, a former sustainability@BU intern, designed signage that went up on water filling stations.

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One of the possible project problems addressed water runoff and sewer overflows. Boston’s combined sewer overflows system prevents rainwater and untreated sewage from backing up or flooding low lying streets, but this water is discharged into the Charles River, Mystic River, Neponset River or Boston Harbor. The group was tasked with assessing the economics of this solution and its alternatives.


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:

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One of the project topics is the regulation of biotech, specifically, Boston Universities NEID Laboratory. This lab is a Bio-hazard Level 4 facility because researches work on some of the most dangerous biological agents known. This group was tasked with identifying the challenges in the relationship between the lab and the communities around it. This group considered the risks of a biological accident and the possible cures and treatments that this research could create to develop sustainable practices and procedures to ameliorate risks.


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:

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One of the possible project topics is assessing the feasibility and possible economic incentives for green roofs and catchment basins on industries, universities, and commercial buildings. Using BU’s green roof as an example of the benefits of living roofs and catchment basin, this group generated policies and programs that would economically incentivize green construction and make it more affordable.


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:

The College of General Studies Capstone is an interdisciplinary, team-oriented project that applies what student have learned to a real-world problem. Groups of students conduct experiments, interviewing experts, visit relevant locations, and conduct surveys in addition to traditional forms of research. They meet with faculty throughout the semester for guidance on their written report and have a final oral presentation and defense of their problem’s solution. The Spring 2017 Capstones were focused on the local impacts of climate change in Boston. One project problem focused on infrastructure resiliency to sea level rise in Boston. The group explored the feasibility of sea walls and moratoriums on future construction along the coast and in low lying areas, such as BU’s east campus. The economic impact of these possible development decisions were evaluated for industries, universities, and neighborhoods of varying income levels.


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:

As a part of the Performance and Energy Aware Computing Lab Trishita Tiwari worked with faculty mentor Ayse Coskun, and a plethora of other students and faculty from Massachusetts based Universities, on “Creating Resource Usage Profiles for users of the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC)”. Tiwari used monitoring data from MOC to develop programs that “reduce data center energy costs and stabilize power grid demands”. This work facilitates cooperation and information sharing while also reducing the energy demands of the MOC platform.


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:

As a part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Summer 2017 Award Recipient, Shreenidhi Jayaram (ENG ’19) worked with faculty mentor Thomas Little on “Indoor Visible Light Positioning (VLP) with Modulated Light: An Exploration of Productivity Benefits, Health and Energy Efficiency Using ‘Smart Lighting’”. Jayaram’s research advances both the sustainability and work productivity on campus by determining the optimal positions and light settings for energy efficiency and health.


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.