Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.77
Liaison Susan Kaspari
Submission Date July 16, 2022

STARS v2.2

Central Washington University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Susan Kaspari
Professor
Geological Sciences
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

Yes. Several courses use campus as a living laboratory for applied student learning. CWU's Sustainability Certificate and ENST480 Campus Sustainability both utilize campus as a living lab.
https://www.cwu.edu/environmental/sustainability-certificate
https://www.cwu.edu/environmental/enst-499-campus-sustainability
https://www.cwu.edu/sustainability/

Many of the outcomes of these projects are on the CWU Sustainability Website.


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:

Students in the ENST480 class have launched three different Adventure Labs that feature CWU Sustainability:
https://www.cwu.edu/news/features/student-led-projects-tap-ongoing-focus-sustainability-cwu
Many members of the public have completed these tours.


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

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

Yes.
A ENST480 student did a project publicizing the energy efficiency upgrades that were made to the Campus Steamplant: https://www.cwu.edu/sustainability/cwus-waste-heat-recovery-system

Additionally, Discovery Hall has a weather and air quality monitor that provides real time PM2.5 and ozone data. https://www.geology.cwu.edu/airquality/
This site is heavily visited during wildfire season when there are air quality concerns. The data is updated in realtime, and provides more timely information than what is available through the Department of Ecology's instruments.


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:

CWU has six LEED certified buildings. The buildings are documented on the sustainability website (the new Health Sciences Building still needs to be added to this site). Students created these pages about the LEED buildings through ENST480 Campus Sustainability:
https://www.cwu.edu/sustainability/LEED

These buildings are utilized in CMGT452 Construction Management.
https://catalog.acalog.cwu.edu/search_advanced.php?cur_cat_oid=64&search_database=Search&search_db=Search&cpage=1&ecpage=1&ppage=1&spage=1&tpage=1&location=3&filter%5Bkeyword%5D=LEED&filter%5Bexact_match%5D=1

Environmental Studies classes also take tours of the buildings to see examples of sustainable 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:

CWU has a B.S. in Integrated Energy Management with three specializations: (1) Energy Policy; (2) Energy Business; and (3) Power Systems. One of the core classes in the IEM curriculum is IEM 201: Introduction to Energy Management. One of the activities of this class includes a tour of CWU's Boiler and Chiller plant where students learn about cooling and heating for CWU and the different projects that have been completed at CWU since 1980 to become more energy efficient. CWU has grown substantially in terms of square footage and yet, the energy consumption has not increased significantly since the 1980s because of the projects implemented since then.


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

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

Two 2021 Sustainability Certificate Projects utilized Dining as a Living Laboratory:
1. One student conducted a monthlong pre-consumer waste audit in spring 2021 to determine how much waste was generated for planning for CWU's composting system.
2. Another student partnered with Dining to promote Plant Based meal options. CWU also recently joined Menus of Change: https://www.cwu.edu/dining/news

During spring 2021 and spring 2022 students in ENST480 Campus Sustainability worked on the logistics of an Excess Food Alert System, and consulted with dining stakeholders on the feasibility of implementing such a project.

An ENST480 Campus Sustainability student in 2021 built a vermiculture system that is being used for composting at Wildcat Neighborhood Farm.


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:

Savannah Fields 2020 Honor's Thesis through the Douglas Honors College: Guide to Implementing Nativescaping in Landscaping Policies at Central Washington University & the City of Ellensburg
The planning for this thesis was realized during Earth Week 2021: https://www.dailyrecordnews.com/all_access/cwu-celebrates-earth-day-with-native-plant-garden/article_3509174c-10f2-537e-a352-0ed0daf9ee1c.html

Two ENST480 Campus Sustainability students have partnered with Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group for xeriscaping and Wilson Creek restoration in the lot by the SURC. There is funding to implement the proposal in 2023. CWU grounds is supporting the project through site preparation.

Two ENST480 Campus Sustainability students (one in 2021, one in 2022) evaluated campus biodiversity in collaboration with the biology department, and which also informed the biodiversity credit of the STARS report.

One ENST480 Campus Sustainability student (2022) installed bird next boxes on campus, and consulted with grounds on appropriate locations and how to install the bird boxes.

One ENST480 student in 2020 developed a pollinator garden at Wildcat Neighborhood Farm.

One ENST480 student in 2020 did a project assessing the environmental benefits of CWU's trees, which was built upon by another student in 2021 to create the CWU Adventure Lab on the same topic.

Geology students have conducted research studies at Wildcat Neighborhood farm related to soil carbon sequestration under Dr. Carey Gazis.


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:

A CWU Sustainability Certificate student developed a Sustainable Transportation survey in 2020. Additional students have continued to work on the survey, and it was distributed campus wide in 2021 and 2022. https://cwu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bCN1ofCZ63p6bZA?Q_DL=kyHfgD1rUh6OaBq_bCN1ofCZ63p6bZA_MLRP_3Ks2zCCTVsGyNzo&Q_CHL=email

Through ENST480 in 2020 a student conducted a project researching how to transition CWU's vehicle fleet to hybrid or electric.


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:

Numerous student projects have addressed waste, particularly through recycling.
Through ENST480 Campus Sustainability two students during spring 2022 revised all recycling signage on campus to be more clear and reflect changes that have been made in what is recyclable. Another ENST480 student worked on recycling education in the dorms in 2021.

In 2020 a Geography Student completed a thesis: Sustainability at Central Washington University:
Spatial, Qualitative, and Quantitative Analysis of Sustainability, Recycling, and Waste Management on CWU Ellensburg Campus

An ENST480 Campus Sustainability student in 2021 built a vermiculture system that is being used for composting at Wildcat Neighborhood Farm.


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

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

Two ENST480 students have worked with Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group in 2022 to develop a restoration plan adjacent to Wilson Creek (near the SURC). The project will improve the riparian buffer and this urban stream.

Another ENST480 student in 2022 developed an Adventure Lab about the restoration of Wilson Creek. Wilson Creek flows through CWU’s campus from the north to south, and eventually joins the Yakima River. Due to human development, over time Wilson Creek has been moved, rerouted, run under ground, had its morphology changed, and been overall degraded. Recently, CWU and Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group began working together to restore Wilson Creek to increase the health of the stream and to improve the ability for it to support habitat. To raise awareness of Wilson Creek’s history, challenges and of the restoration process, the student created a Wilson Creek Adventure Lab, which is a walking tour that includes information, pictures and interactive questions. The Adventure Lab is a fun and educational way for CWU students and the public to learn more about Wilson Creek.


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:

A SUST301 Introduction to Sustainability student is planning their Sustainability Certificate to be focussed on implementing a student green fee in collaboration with the ASCWU student government. The student wrote the project proposal through SUST301 Introduction spring 2022 for implementation Fall 2022. Students were also working on this project during 2019-2020, but progress was thwarted by COVID and transition to online learning.


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?:
Yes

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

As part of the student subgroup of the Council on Investor Responsibility, students are working to integrate ESG data in to the schools investment policy. In order to achieve this the students performed statistical analysis to show the relationships between environmental social and governance data points per each company. There were five students who worked on this project and presented the results of their work at the Pacific Northwest Regional Economics Conference. Students started on this during Fall of 2020 and efforts continue. The students made a policy recommendation to cement the council as an annual research group so they can further look in to ways to further integrate sustainability in to CWU's investment portfolio.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.