Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.71
Liaison Keisha Payson
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Bowdoin College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Keisha Payson
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainable Bowdoin
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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:

Every spring semester the Perspectives in Environmental Science course does a segment on the atmosphere and carbon sequestration. To better understand these concepts, the class takes a trip to the Bowdoin Coastal Studies Center to measure the circumference of various trees throughout the property. The students then use the data to analyze the capturing and storing of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past years. The students' data contribute to a larger research project involving atmospheric carbon in Maine.


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:

Bowdoin students are working on the LEED education credit for the newly constructed Roux Center for the Environment. When complete the students, working with the sustainability office, will have created a multimedia presentation to educate building visitors about the environmental features of the building. The idea is to engage and educate building visitors about the cutting edge technologies employed in the building that were part of the LEED platinum certification.


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:

The Perspectives in Environmental Studies course performs a lab, using ArcGIS to investigate which properties on the main campus are best suited for installing new solar panels based on criteria like solar exposure, shading, and roof inclination as a way to develop energy efficiency and carbon neutrality on campus. They also participate in a field trip to the college's heating plant to understand sources of energy and participate in brainstorming for energy reduction initiatives and projects. In the spring of 2018, students working for the sustainability office also created a video explaining Bowdoin's initiatives that led it to declare carbon neutrality (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ObuFClwvWA)


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:

The spring 2019 course ENV 2314 "Talking to Farmers and Fishermen: Social Science Field Methods for Environmental Policy Research" is collaborating with Bowdoin dining on one of their client projects to help them understand links between some of their sourcing decisions and local, "sustainable" food systems.

The Bowdoin Organic Garden, which is managed by Bowdoin Dining Services, hosts various educational and volunteer opportunities so both students and faculty can be directly exposed to the strategies for organically growing food, as well as its benefits.


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 Plant Ecophysiology (Fall 2017) researched the effects of salting paved sidewalks on tree growth rates. Students in Biological Reasoning (Fall 2017) researched effects of salting, differences in sun exposure, and other weather patterns on tree growth rates in the Bowdoin Pines property.


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 in Institutional Approaches to Climate Change ECON 2219/ENVS 2351 learned about Bowdoin's efforts to become carbon neutral and the critical role that carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates played in the process. They learned about the wide range of offsets and RECs available in the marketplace, what the pros and cons are of such instruments and the students worked on a lab assignment asking them to suggest how Bowdoin might continue to use these instruments in the future and provided the data to the Sustainability Office.


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:

Computer science students have created an app called Bowdoin RideShare to encourage carpooling to and from campus as a way to reduce carbon emissions. Bowdoin students have run their own bike sharing program on campus for over 10 years. With some annual funds provided by Student Activities, a space provided by Facilities Management, and occasional assistance from a faculty advisor, the students have self managed their own bike rental program, including providing bike repair and maintenance to all 80 bicycles in their fleet.


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:

The course ENV 2330: "Environmental Policy and Politics" looks at various dimensions of sustainability, considering Bowdoin and Brunswick as stakeholders affected by various policy options (from food waste to electronic waste). The associate director of sustainability is invited to participate in the class to talk about issues facing the college and then come back at the end of the semester when students make recommendations on best practices and alternatives to what is in place. Issues they considered this year focused on electronic waste and food waste. Another group of students, working for the sustainability office as well as in the art department, have completed a number of surveys to understand causes of food waste in the dining halls and have designed signage and videos in an effort to raise awareness and encourage waste reduction.


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:

Each spring, students in Understanding Place: GIS and Remote Sensing examine storm water runoff management on campus as a way of understanding approaches for projected increase in storm events. Class projects in this class have looked at ways to mitigate campus impact on a nearby stream classified as "impaired". The projects complement an ongoing partnership with the town of Brunswick where the Environmental Studies program places a student intern with the Town of Brunswick each summer. These student interns contributed to the development of a watershed plan that includes portions of the campus. In the Spring of 2018, students working for the sustainability office designed posters encouraging students to reduce shower times after researching the negative impacts increased energy use for heating shower water can have on Maine's climate.


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:

Students from ENVS 3903 Building Resilient Communities are working with campus administrators to provide data for a campus resiliency plan. They are preparing maps and gathering data in preparation for a resiliency workshop they will help facilitate in collaboration with the Sustainability Office. They will incorporate staff from Finance and Administration, Facilities, Dining, Residential Life, Environmental Health and Safety and IT to consider the strengths, threats and opportunities to help plan for a comprehensive and long range resiliency plan.


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:

Bowdoin students are working on the LEED education credit for the newly constructed Roux Center for the Environment. When complete the students, working with the sustainability office, will have created a multimedia presentation to educate building visitors about the environmental features of the building. The idea is to engage and educate building visitors about the cutting edge technologies employed in the building that were part of the LEED platinum certification.


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

Students in the course The Nature of Data (which is cross-listed with Environmental Studies and Digital and Computational Studies) examine the role and influence of data and digital technologies on environmental decision making. Students develop an analysis on campus parking that involved the application of multiple digital approaches to engage the campus in the discussion.
The college has an ongoing artist in residence in affiliation with the Roux Center for the Environment. The scholar will be developing an art installation on a specific environmental topic, the impact of invasive species on coastal marine environments, a topic under study at Bowdoin's Schiller Coastal Studies Center.


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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