Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kylee Singh
Sustainability Coordinator
Energy Utilities and 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:

In winter 2019, the Industrial Pollution Prevention (ENVE 450) class worked with the Center for Leadership and Service (Dean of Students' Office) to improve sustainability efforts their operations. Staff from the Center for Leadership and Service and the Sustainability team worked with students to identify several distinct aspects of their operations, including day- to-day office, large conferences, small catered events, SWAG, and clubs. The class divided into small group teams and each team conducted a Pollution Prevention Opportunity Assessment on one aspect of operations, focusing on waste diversion energy use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution created by the centers operations.


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:

Facilities staff worked with a faculty partner teaching the Mechanical Engineering Fluid Dynamics Course ME 341. For many years, Facilities has given this class a brief tour of the main campus pump house and access to plan room data so students could calculate the theoretical flow rate in this pipeline, then measure it for comparison – a purely theoretical exercise. Due to a landslide caused by recent heavy winter rains, a large section of this pipeline is at risk of catastrophic failure due to earth movement, and is being evaluated for rerouting to avoid the slide hazard. The ME 341 class used Fluid Dynamic fundamentals, Facilities plan room data, and field measurements to analyze new routes for relocation of the pipeline, as well as design details to enhance pumping performance. Some of the findings and recommendations of the student work are being incorporated into the replacement project.


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 the Environmental Design 408: Implementing Sustainable Principles course, a team was developed and created a Cal Poly Energy Dashboard with inspiration from UC Davis’ existing energy and water dashboard, the Campus Energy Education Dashboard (CEED). Which features a map of energy use intensity (EUI) for over 100 buildings on the UC Davis campus, with buildings categorized by building type and allows the user to view building specific energy data, including demand, usage, and energy savings data. The UC Davis dashboard also gives contextual information about energy projects, explains the types of energy used on campus, and the different types of buildings on campus and includes water use data on campus, sorted into end-uses. The student team felt that a Cal Poly dashboard was vital for student to gain understanding of how much of a resource is being used.This student project will be the first draft to the facilities based dashboard that is currently under development.


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:

Campus Dining recently supported a Environmental Design 408: Implementing Sustainable Principles course project to bring bulk bins to Campus Market. This project intends to implement (or aid the staff currently trying to implement) bulk foods in campus market, the new upcoming market, and improve the current arrangement at village market. This transition involves the group identifying which products should be in bulk at each market, finding suppliers for these products, and adding a “Scoop of the Week” marketing strategy for the new bulk bins. Bulk foods provide the opportunity to reduce both packaging and food waste. There is the potential for increased food sustainability through distributors and local farmers Bulk foods are an affordable alternative to standard packaged products. Implementing bulk products that are affordable prices provide an accessible source for the students who experience food insecurity. Bulk foods allow students to make better decisions about their health. Education about different ingredients encourages consumption as well as allowing for portion control. As a result of the project Campus Dining will be implementing a bulk bin section over the summer. Selling bulk items will of course cut down on packaging waste and we will also be selling Campus Market branded jars and reusable bags to use at the bins.


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 Landscape Architecture 402: Creating High Performance Landscapes for the Cal Poly Campus, students to work in teams and as individuals to propose a design landscape intervention for the Cal Poly campus that will improve the ecological and social performance of the selected site. Assignments guide students from analysis to design resolution. Outcomes have been entered in the EPA’s Campus Rainworks Challenge, presented to the campus community and showcased at the California Metropolitan Water District’s Spring Green Exposition.


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:

Yi-Wen Chiu, an assistant professor in Cal Poly’s Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department, and Cal Poly English Professor Jason Peters have been awarded a grant to pilot an undergraduate curriculum that combines environmental science and rhetoric. As part of this pilot Peters worked with Cal Poly Zero Waste Coordinator to conduct a series of waste audits with students in English 302, students were then presented with a course lecture on "The State of Waste" and asked to focus a quarter long project on ways to reduce waste for the university.


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:

Facilities staff worked with faculty partners teaching the capstone Environmental Engineering Senior Design Course ENVE 467. In this course, student teams select a real-world problem, analyze a variety of solutions, perform a schematic design of their chosen solution, then present their analysis and design proposal to campus or community stakeholders. The ENVE students were presented with Cal Poly’s challenges regarding water conservation in buildings, landscape, and farm operations, as well as water supply needs to support campus growth envisioned in the 2035 Master Plan. Students used actual campus data to analyze and propose conservation initiatives and infrastructure projects to improve water use efficiency and inform planning for an on-campus recycled water facility that is a critical element of the Master Plan. Some elements proposed by the students are now part of the campus’ plans for water conservation and total conversion of agricultural irrigation over to the use of recycled water.


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

As part of the University Honors Program a team of eight students took on a year long project to construct the first campus community garden. The garden, recently constructed was a partnership project between the Honors Program, Campus Health and Wellbeing, and Campus Sustainability staff. The garden will provide the campus community a space to grow vegetables while also allowing the gardeners to donate freshly picked produce to the Cal Poly Food Pantry, supporting food-insecure students. Cal Poly’s community garden supporters anticipate the garden will increase awareness of food security issues, educate the community on the importance of local food, and build networks of people interested in these topics. This project resulted in students better understanding the connections of of social, environmental, and economic sustainability through the lens of food insecurity.


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:

As part of an Environmental Design 408: Implementing Sustainable Principles course and also a Master of Public Policy internship, multiple students worked with the University Foundation on changes and improvements to the universities investment policies to further develop the Foundations Socially Responsible Investment policy and to incorporate representation by students and faculty on the investment committee. Following STARS guidelines for the sustainable investment section various changes and improvements were proposed by students and then adopted by the board in summer of 2018.


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:

The Department of Kinesiology, in collaboration with Campus Health & Wellbeing offers free fitness classes to staff, faculty, and community members. Students from the department teach the courses during the lunch hour to ensure that staff and faculty are available to attend. This provides Kinesiology students the opportunity to put skills learned in the classroom into practice while also providing a wellbeing perk to campus staff and faculty.


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:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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