Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.33
Liaison Austin Eriksson
Submission Date Dec. 10, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Austin Eriksson
Sustainability Program Manager
FPDC
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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:

Students worked as interns for the Institute for Sustainability in conducting the campus's greenhouse gas inventory. A graduate student worked with the Institute to conduct a study of the urban heat island effect within the CSUN campus for his thesis.


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:

CSUN's FPDC and Engineering Departments have come together to work with students and improve their knowledge of how buildings operate and the effect of different technologies on their efficiency. One of the courses studies how buildings are performing; evaluates how much ecological efficiency they can offer in their current conditions; identify possible avenues that can be implemented to increase the level of efficiency; and finally develop an optimized renovation scheme based on a 3-D simulation model to increase the level of efficiency. This is carried out in several phases by senior level civil engineering students and is incorporated as part of their course curriculum satisfying their degree requirements. At the end of each semester a Building Energy Analysis Report will be supplied to FPDC/PPM that will outline all feasible upgrades including cost, ROI, savings, etc.


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:

CSUN's FPDC and Engineering Departments have come together to work with students and improve their knowledge of how buildings operate and the effect of different technologies on their efficiency. One of the courses studies how buildings are performing; evaluates how much ecological efficiency they can offer in their current conditions; identify possible avenues that can be implemented to increase the level of efficiency; and finally develop an optimized renovation scheme based on a 3-D simulation model to increase the level of efficiency. This is carried out in several phases by senior level civil engineering students and is incorporated as part of their course curriculum satisfying their degree requirements. At the end of each semester a Building Energy Analysis Report will be supplied to FPDC/PPM that will outline all feasible upgrades including cost, ROI, savings, etc.
Students in campus housing participated in the Campus Conservation Nationals, reading and entering meter data and conducting dorm competitions to reduce energy use.


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 University Corporation employees students to help analyze how much REAL Food the university purchases and serves. This is being done through an initial pilot study to determine the baseline for CSUN in The REAL Food Challenge. The Real Food Challenge is a national student movement advocating for a sustainable food system. The objective is to increase the level of food at university eateries that are categorized as Real Food.
Schools who sign onto the Real Food Commitment pledge to shift 20% of all food spending to Real Food sources by 2020.


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:

The Institute for Sustainability runs a campus composting site and a garden where the compost is used. This program is ran by student employees and volunteers with the supervision of a faculty member. Students learn how to compost properly and how to grow edible food in a garden. This program also serves as an educational facility for CSUN community members as well as surrounding community members who are interested in learning how to compost and grow their own food. See http://www.csun.edu/sustainability/campus-food-garden-and-compost-program

Students from the Geography department created Campus Tree Walking Guides for the community to use to learn about trees on campus. See http://www.csun.edu/sustainability/tree-mapping


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:

A class of Urban Studies students were engaged in the analysis of commuting data associated with the 2015 commuting report. They computed energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with commuting to campus, and assessed the viability of using alternative transportation.


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:

CSUN has a fully functioning recycling center on campus that is run through Associated Students. The recycling program at CSUN was established in 1991 as a collaborative effort between Associated Students (A.S.) and the university to promote the benefits of recycling and divert recyclable materials from the university’s waste stream.

Today, A.S. Campus Recycling continues to support the campus community by collecting paper, cardboard, pallets, inkjet and laser toner cartridges, cell phones, tin cans and beverage containers. In all, more than 200 locations are served throughout the campus.

Campus Recycling’s collections services and outreach also provide students with organizational and leadership roles as well as work experience. Student participants are an example of environmental stewardship for future generations.


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:

CSUN's Facilitates staff worked with Geography students to map the University's irrigation controllers, valve boxes and zones. They were also able to pull water data from the irrigation system into the GIS map to create a visual heat map of water consumption on campus.


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 in sustainability classes contributed towards development of CSUN Sustainability Plan. Students in sustainability capstone course carried out semester-long project to investigate two-sided printing on campus which resulted in campus policy on two-sided printing default for all printers.
The plan can be found at: http://www.csun.edu/sustainability/csun-sustainability-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?:
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:

Business students in finance manage a $2 million portfolio for the campus. They are carrying out a study to investigate impacts of designating this or a portion of this for environmentally sustainable investments.


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:

The sustainability capstone course engages students in community service projects related to sustainability. These include outreach to business customers on energy and water conservation using rebates from the utility company, outreach in support of Grid Alternatives, which provides no-cost residential solar to low-come families, canvassing in support of an electric streetcar to serve the local area.


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:

Commit to Be Fit is a free fitness and wellness program led by CSUN Kinesiology students four nights per week. The workouts consist of functional cardiovascular and resistance training aimed to get you in shape and help you feel your best. The program is open to CSUN staff, faculty, and community members. http://www.csun.edu/wellbeing/staff-faculty-and-community-fitness-program-0


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.