Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 47.15
Liaison Elenore Breslow
Submission Date Nov. 24, 2020

STARS v2.2

Brock University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.60 / 4.00 Elenore Breslow
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Management and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:

SSAS 5P03: Master of Sustainability students got a taste for project management by providing a consultancy-type service to Facilities Management at Brock University. Project Manager, Leaya Amey, and her two teammates Sylvia Hussein and Qurat Shahzad, were tasked with carrying out a needs assessment of sustainability initiatives at Brock. The team spent a semester compiling an inventory of current sustainability initiatives whilst identifying areas for improvement. Based on best practices at other universities, the students provided guidance on how best to design initiatives to fill these gaps. In this blog post, Qurat shares how the project transpired and what the group learnt from the experience. For more information and to gain clarity on the student perspective please visit: https://brocku.ca/esrc/2018/06/13/ssas-students-take-stock-of-sustainability-initiatives-at-brock/

SSAS 5P01: For the past two years students in the Master of Sustainability program have been able to learn about and explore campus engagement activities directly related to sustainability. This includes a field class held in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in which Brock University is located and touring the Central Utilities Building to learn more about Brock University’s co-generation plant.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/europe-north-america/canada/niagara-escarpment

For more information on what the experiential education included please visit: https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2018/11/students-experience-sustainability-science-in-the-field/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

Niagara Adapts is a partnership designed to build innovative climate solutions right here in Niagara. By leveraging resources and expertise from seven municipalities in the Niagara Region and Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, the partnership will support collaborative climate change adaptation assessment, planning and implementation. Climate change adaptation planning enables communities to understand their vulnerabilities, manage the impacts, risks and opportunities posed by a changing climate. Niagara Adapts is a novel partnership between Brock University and municipalities in the Niagara Region. The Niagara Adapts partnership will cultivate a community of practice for climate change adaptation planning and build climate resilience in the region into the future.

https://brocku.ca/esrc/niagara-adapts/#:~:text=Niagara%20Adapts%20is%20a%20novel,the%20region%20into%20the%20future.

Brock University’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Community Sustainability created a Sustainability Poetry contest. The annual Sustainability Poetry contest initiated in 2015, was designed to celebrate the creative minds in the Niagara region and how community members can enhance their role in sustainability in the community. Each year a different theme is selected, in the past themes have been ‘The Future We Want’ and ‘Year of Indigenous Voices’. The Sustainability Poetry contest demonstrates the importance of the Arts; it provides an opportunity for community members to better express feelings and emotions and show respect for what we have in the Niagara region and beyond.

https://brocku.ca/unesco-chair/sustainability-poetry-contest

MEOPAR-Lincoln Community Sustainability Project: The study launched in November 2018, one year after two back-to-back storms in Lincoln caused massive flooding and prompted the Town’s first-ever voluntary evacuation order for residents living along the Lake Ontario shoreline. The study is a joint venture between Brock University, The Town of Lincoln and the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Centre (MEOPAR). The three-year project between Brock University and the Town of Lincoln is aimed at helping the community understand how to deal with the impacts of climate and environmental changes and examining potential avenues of solutions for future development along the shore. The project is meant to be very participative and iterative. Student involvement included having round table discussions on challenges related to climate change adaptation.

https://brocku.ca/unesco-chair/marine-environmental-observation-prediction-and-response-network-meopar-project/#:~:text=About%20the%20project&text=The%20three%2Dyear%20project%20between,future%20development%20along%20the%20shore.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:

Industrial Chemistry (CHEM 3P60): This course covers principles and practice of industrial chemistry, including surveying of the chemical industry, pollution control, plant design, corrosion and similar topics. Selected industrial processes are discussed in detail. Tours are provided of chemical plants, industrial laboratories, and Brock’s tunnel system that connects to a majority of the campus buildings.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:

Facilities Management at Brock provides 4-5 tours throughout the year to students of the District Energy System. The tour highlights the features of Brock’s co-generation facility that provides an energy-efficient source of electricity, cooling and heating to a majority of the campus buildings. The tour provides students with information about Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP) and how through this project Brock aims to reduce its carbon footprint and increase sustainability on campus by replacing the 25-year-old-co-generation engines with state-of-the-art energy efficient units. This project highlights Brock’s efforts to become more environmentally sustainable and a leader amongst universities in reducing carbon emissions.

https://brocku.ca/sustainability/district-energy-system-tour/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:

Brock University offers many courses and projects that use the campus grounds as a living laboratory. There are courses taught from the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Department of Education, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Department of Biological Sciences, and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. Below are select highlights of the campus grounds being utilized to understand/advance sustainability:

Professor Debra Harwood, Department of Educational Studies – Offers two courses, EDUC 5P41 (Early Childhood Education – ‘Learning/Teaching in the Woods’) and EDUC 3P51 (Early Childhood Education for Sustainability). EDUC 5P41 is a graduate level course that is taught 100% outdoors around the campus woods. EDUC 3P51 was previously taught 50/50% indoors/outdoors around the campus.

https://brocku.ca/education/faculty-and-staff/dr-debra-harwood/

Professor Miriam Richards, Department of Biological Sciences – Studies the behaviour, evolution and ecology of bees mostly in Niagara region, including on the Brock campus. Richards has a team of undergraduates and graduates whose focus is on conducting research and projects through field experiments, extensive behavioural observations, and molecular biology tools.

https://brockbeelab.wordpress.com/about/

Professor Liette Vasseur, Department of Biological Sciences – Offers BIOL 4P05 (Concepts of Biodiversity in a Biosphere Reserve), where students learn about biodiversity monitoring and sustainable development. There is a fieldwork component that involves the students monitoring plots for plants and salamanders on the campus grounds. Vasseur also has at least one or two students researching sustainable agriculture who work in the Brock campus community gardens – they have 4 plots.

https://brocku.ca/esrc/liette-vasseur/

Kinder-Forest School Program - The Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care Kinder Program is a wonderful alternative to Junior Kindergarten. The Program provides the children with all of the educational components of conventional school without the large class size. The class consists of eight children and one Registered Early Childhood Educator. Throughout the year the children explore a variety of topics and concepts including phonics, math, science and art. Because of the small class size the educator is able to engage the children on a one-on-one basis as well as in small groups. In addition to the indoor class program the Kinders also spend two mornings a week in an “Outdoor Classroom” in the forest located on campus. This Forest School component runs from September to June each year.

https://brocku.ca/childcare/about-us/kinder-forest-school-program/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
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IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:

Professor Chris Fullerton, Department of Geography and Tourism Studies recently conducted a research project with two students to study, 'students’ mode of travel to school’ as determined through a Brock U-Pass survey in 2018.

https://brocku.ca/social-sciences/geography/faculty-and-staff/christopher-fullerton/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:

In Fall 2019, over 25 students in ENSU 3P90 (Contemporary Environmental Issues) worked on waste management plans specific to Brock University. Below is an outline of the assignment.

You have been (hypothetically) contracted by Facilities Management at Brock University to prepare a Sustainable Waste Management Plan for the university.

An ‘Sustainable Waste Management Plan’ _is a detailed description of how an organization will manage its waste in order to minimize social and environmental impacts. Sustainable Waste Management Plans are developed by organizations to achieve resource management systems that foster environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

To assist you in developing your plan, you will be tasked with 3 deliverables. Each deliverable serves as the foundation for the next. The three deliverables include:

Part 1. Intro & Key Areas for Action (15%)
Part 2. Client Presentation (20%)
Part 3. Final Plan (35%)

Feedback from the students in the course was positive and many were thankful for the opportunity to contribute to solving ‘real-world’ problem. Many of the ideas brought forward in these plans were taken back to Facilities Management to be explored further.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:

Through funds associated with the Brock University Project Charter each fall/winter Brock employees two incoming Master of Sustainability students to assist in leading the coordination and planning of sustainability efforts across campus. A full listing of past and current team members can be found here: https://brocku.ca/esrc/project-charter/. Since 2018, these student Research Assistants have helped guide the communications around sustainability initiatives across campus with the aim of engaging with the entire campus community. Over the past year, they have also played a role in research and editing the current sustainability policy to better reflect Brock’s strategic direction.

Staff leading this initiative have also taken each and every opportunity to present and engage with Brock students to explain the institutions focus on sustainability. For example, in the spring of 2019 Amanda Smits (Centre Administrator, ESRC) & Mary Quintana (Director, Asset Management & Utilities) provided a three hour lecture in Dr. Robert Steinbauer’s MBAB 5P25 course which was focused on Sustainability at Brock and the business implications of sustainability efforts on campus. The students were asked to provide feedback and brainstorm throughout the class. These suggestions were brought back to the larger team.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

Brock’s Health Safety & Wellness portfolio is within the broader Human Resources department. Within Health, Safety & Wellness the Health Management office is responsible for wellness events and initiatives for staff and faculty. There are many different wellness opportunities offered throughout the year, including an annual Employee Wellness Day. The Health Management office hires a student Wellness Assistant to help support these events and initiatives.

This student position assists in organizing and planning Wellness events and initiatives for staff and faculty. The Wellness Assistant is involved in planning and coordinating event logistics for events, such as, Wellness Day and a number of other wellness events coordinated through the department.

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2019/06/twentieth-wellness-day-celebrates-employee-well-being/


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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.