Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.34
Liaison Mary Whitney
Submission Date Nov. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Chatham University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mary Whitney
University Sustainability Coordinator
Office of 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:

Chatham students work with the Sustainability Office to conduct greenhouse gas audits for the university. Other classes have conducted particulate matter data collection for the ROCIS project (Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces) These activities and others like them are usually done as an all-class, or as a lab within a class. Students gained skills related to sustainability work, as well as gained a clearer understanding of the university's climate action goals and challenges in reaching them.


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:

Chatham's greenhouse solar heating system on our Shadyside campus is designed to be controlled and experimented with by students. Students develop expertise on the system, which is the same as the larger systems on the residence halls.

Students are also able to use the Monitoring Classroom in the Esther Barazzone Center to log in to the many building systems at Eden Hall to collect data on water, solar electric and solar thermal energy generation, and more.


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:

One of Chatham's graduate marketing classes developed a complete energy awareness and education program for the university's sustainability office that teaches students how to monitor their own electricity use. This project gave students new tools for driving awareness and behavior change for energy consumption.

We also provide personal energy monitors (Kill-a-Watt meters) that can be cvhecked out for students to assess their energy use and personal footprint. This is often assigned as a class project, or as part of a residence-hall activity.


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:

Our Food Studies program regularly works with Parkhurst, our dining services vendor, to develop menus, products, and programming. This is a deep and extensive partnership, which includes learning knife skills in the kitchen with professional chefs, developing, preparing, and marketing a coffee blend for use in the campus coffee shops, and growing food to sell to Parkhurst for Anderson Dining Hall. Our students can also intern with Parkhurst Dining Services.


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:

Japanese Barberry Project
Invasive plants may dramatically impact forest ecosystems by establishing dense populations and suppressing the recruitment of native tree species. One invasive shrub currently spreading throughout eastern deciduous forests of North America, Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC), may be limiting tree recruitment in stands where it invades. Students conducted an observational study on seedling abundance within forest plots that were either invaded or not invaded by B. thunbergii. Findings indicate that forests invaded with B. thunbergii harbor substantially lower densities of native tree seedlings, with potentially significant long-term consequences for forest ecological integrity, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. This study has now been used to design a bayberry eradication program for the Eden Hall forest.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/invasive-plant-science-and-management/article/low-recruitment-of-native-trees-in-a-deciduous-forest-associated-with-japanese-barberry-berberis-thunbergii-invasion/506F73BF2B139192AA8A3C3FF227991B#.Wns9T_1Zfhk.facebook

Discover Life Moth Identification Project
Dr. Ryan Utz is gathering data on the different species of moths in the area as part of a larger project called Discover Life-a nationwide initiative to track the biodiversity of moths. Started in 1997 by John Pickering, a retired professor at the University of Georgia, the project engages the community to create a worldwide encyclopedia of flora and fauna.
Link: http://triblive.com/local/northhills/12660778-74/volunteers-welcome-for-moth-study-at-chathams-eden-hall-campus#new_tab
Link: https://www.alleghenyfront.org/putting-the-spotlight-on-the-humble-moth/


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:

The MBA database class developed a green products recommendation database that works with our preferred vendor's ordering systems to make greener purchase recommendations. All campus office purchases flow through this vendor, and the system will now make automatic upgrades to green products.


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:

As an independent study, one of our Master's students analyzed our shuttle data and developed a plan to decrease fuel use through better harmonization of the timepoints and stops with course schedules. This resulted in our ability to divert an entire shuttle to a new route, saving us the purchase of an additional vehicle.

Students in the Systems class work with the Port Authority to help strengthen their electric bus purchasing program, in order to help meet the City of Pittsburgh's 2030 goals.


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:

Master's of Sustainability capstone students developed a waste reduction program to promote the reuse of products, clothing, and other personal items through a residence-hall-based give-and-take system. Reuse boxes in all of the residential halls affords students the option to reuse, repurpose, or reduce waste before purchasing new items.


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:

The Falk School of Sustainability offers an Applied Green and Social Innovation Course which for the last two semesters have been testing water sensors and collecting data relating to rainfall and green roof absorption, and water consumption in two buildings.


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:

The Falk School of Sustainability offers a Sustainable Decision Analysis course which uses differing quantitative approaches to assess future build-out scenarios for the Eden Hall Campus. Each semester the students present their results to campus staff which supports decision-making in areas such as transportation, wildlife management.


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:

Sustainable Impact Team
The purpose of the organization is to bring both awareness and motivation to students about current environmental and social justice issues by taking action in organizing campaigns and projects that advocate for change on campus and in the community.

Most Recently the Sustainable Impact Team sat down with the VP of Finance and the Sustainability Manager to review the entire Chatham portfolio for fossil fuel exposure. Then a few members of the team attended a seminar with the same group to learn more about other forms of sustainable investing. Finally they made a presentation to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees for fossil fuel divestment.


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:

We have many classes that work with the community, connecting sustainability at Chatham with projects in neighborhoods. For example, the Environmental Ecotoxicology students have developed interactive green space maps for visitors, and helped design a teaching vegetable garden in partnership with the Sharpsburg Public Library.


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:

Upper-level chemistry students learn how sustainability can be measured and work on calibration techniques with our watershed monitoring program, as well as building energy systems. Music program students conduct a Music For Food Hunger Relief concert for the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.


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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