Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.85
Liaison Vic Shelburne
Submission Date Nov. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Clemson University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.40 / 4.00 Cora Allard-Keese
Associate Director - Creative Inquiry
The Watt Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

Engaging the Public on Issues of Climate Change

This CI project primarily serves to engage the public on issues of climate change through the establishment of an interactive public exhibit. We are a cross-disciplinary team of students from different departments with interests in biology, climate science, communication, and creative design working together to design an exhibit to educate and inspire informed conversations.     

An unfortunate and dangerous commonality persists among conversations concerning human-driven climate change. Often, the consequences of climate change are spoken of as something that will take place in the future, something that is decades from now. Naively, many even talk as if it is something that is still preventable if only we could convince people to take on a "green" lifestyle, industry to clean up its act, and policy makers to face overwhelming evidence. While those are worthy pursuits, that naiveté is dangerous.   

Climate change is happening now. It is affecting ecosystems around the globe and causing drastic decreases in biodiversity. Organisms across land and sea are being forced to migrate, acclimate, adapt, or face extinction. It's not just the flora and fauna we study; people around the world are facing consequences of climate change. In places such as the Marshall Islands in the Pacific and Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, USA, some of the first “climate refugees” are facing displacement from the places their families have called home for generations.     

As a Ph.D. student, I am researching such responses to increase our understanding of how some animals may respond to climate change through different biological processes. As a CI team leader, I bring my expertise and enthusiasm to this collaborative project. This project will ultimately serve to inform the public on issues surrounding rapid climate change and hopefully to inspire positive change.


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

Novel Applications of Photovoltaics

Due to constant reduction of prices of photovoltaic (PV) modules, the generation of electricity is at lower price than other energy sources. Without investing about $5 million per mile in long haul transmission of electrical power, the local generation of resilient and sustainable electrical power by photovoltaics is transforming   the global electricity infrastructure. As a personal source of smart electrical power,  we can use photovoltaics  all over the world with minimum cost of electrical power  infrastructure Team 1 is building a table that will have electricity provided by a Photovoltaic (PV) system for charging laptop, cell phone etc. The Tables will be placed in the Watson Family Innovation Center. Team 2 is converting a golf cart where all the power will be coming from PV  and it will be shown that PV integrated with Transport system (car, buses, trucks, rail , etc.) coupled with a DC charging station (PV generates DC power and batteries store DC power) . have the potential of replacing more than 90 % fossil fuel based transport system. Student will gain the know how of the real world engineering.Publications are expected. 


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

Project 1:
From Fields to Fuel, team members we will be researching all aspects of sustainable biofuels production and engineering while facilitating biodiesel and ethanol production to be utilized by University Facilities. Project team 1 is focused on facility optimization through relief of production bottlenecks. Project team 2 will research increasing biodiesel feedstock acquisition through cultivation of energy crops and harvest of waste lipid streams.The goal of this project is to teach the production aspects of biodiesel utilizing waste campus vegetable oils and research oils and the teaching of other biofuels or biorefinery related aspects such as bioethanol from cellulosic sources such as switchgrass, sorghum and other high-energy grasses and materials.

Utilization of byproducts such as the waste-glycerin stream, making the process completely renewable or off-grid, and improving the efficiency of the process such as the use of enzyme catalysts are key objectives. Students help to utilize the waste oils through conversion to biodiesel for transportation energy that saves the university the cost of disposal, provides biodiesel for on and off-road vehicle use and helps the environmental footprint through carbon savings and reduction in harmful emissions associated with fossil fuels. The pilot plant is also equipped with solar power (500 W) to power pumps and other equipment not already powered by the biodiesel generator.

This project directly impacts President Barker's Net-Zero Carbon emission initiative with the goal of making Clemson University carbon-neutral by 2030. The project impacts Provost Helms goal of training students within a research environment to create a highly innovative and creative workforce when leaving college for the next phase of life, whether continuing on as a graduate student or entering the job sector. The project has taken a new leap forward with the hiring of biodiesel expert, David Thornton formerly of Piedmont Biofuels in 2011.

We are now converting all waste food oils on campus to biodiesel that fuels facility vehicles. We have displaced nearly 20% of the diesel fuel used on campus with biodiesel making a B20 blend (or 20% biodiesel splash-mixed with no. 2 diesel) to fuel the fleet containing recycle trucks, lawn equipment, etc. With recent donations of oil and new eating establishments (Back Streets, etc.), we will double our capacity to 10,000 gallons processed per year with a need for more CI students to help out in making this campus green. This will potentially get us to a B50 mix for most of the year. Students will learn commercial production processes through our mobile biofuels plant also powered by the biodiesel we produce. Much attention has been directed to microbial means for sustainably producing oils such as from algae and yeast organisms. These organisms are capable of displacing all of our domestic fossil fuel with only 2% of the landmass of the U.S., a much better prospect than most vegetable or lignocellulosic sources.

Project 2:

Clemson University Bicycle Sharing Systems Modeling: CUBSSM is conceived to engage students in theoretical and applied modeling of bicycle sharing systems, strengthened by the current implementation of a bicycle sharing system at Clemson University. However, the goal is to produce publishable and implementable research results in the management of bicycle sharing systems. This goal will be achieved through a series of activities with concrete student learning objectives aligned with appropriate and Department of Industrial Engineering Program Outcomes, documented through on-campus presentations, conference deliverables and journal deliverables. This is intended to be a one-year, one cohort CI. It may be extended if results and interest warrant such an extension.


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

Contamination of water resources is a growing concern. One of the leading contributors to this rising problem is the agriculture industry, that both needs the water for production but also frequently causes water quality impairments. This CI will focus on experimentally assessing options for physical, chemical, and biological remediation of agricultural runoff in an effort to promote water recycling programs. Students will be able to assess and use appropriate field and laboratory techniques to determine water quality and respond to water quality concerns using chemical, physical, and biological treatment options.


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?:
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?:
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 Investment & Finance:
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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:

This CI project primarily serves to engage the public on issues of climate change through the establishment of an interactive public exhibit. We are a cross-disciplinary team of students from different departments with interests in biology, climate science, communication, and creative design working together to design an exhibit to educate and inspire informed conversations.     

An unfortunate and dangerous commonality persists among conversations concerning human-driven climate change. Often, the consequences of climate change are spoken of as something that will take place in the future, something that is decades from now. Naively, many even talk as if it is something that is still preventable if only we could convince people to take on a "green" lifestyle, industry to clean up its act, and policy makers to face overwhelming evidence. While those are worthy pursuits, that naiveté is dangerous.   

Climate change is happening now. It is affecting ecosystems around the globe and causing drastic decreases in biodiversity. Organisms across land and sea are being forced to migrate, acclimate, adapt, or face extinction. It's not just the flora and fauna we study; people around the world are facing consequences of climate change. In places such as the Marshall Islands in the Pacific and Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, USA, some of the first “climate refugees” are facing displacement from the places their families have called home for generations.     

As a Ph.D. student, I am researching such responses to increase our understanding of how some animals may respond to climate change through different biological processes. As a CI team leader, I bring my expertise and enthusiasm to this collaborative project. This project will ultimately serve to inform the public on issues surrounding rapid climate change and hopefully to inspire positive change.


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:

Physical Activity and Health

This research program uses FitDesks (stationary bikes with a desk top) or similar activity workstations in college study areas, K-12 classrooms, and in office spaces to examine how being physically active can positively affect performance, health, and well-being. We are placing FitDesks around the Clemson campus and in 6-12 educational settings. The goal of this research is to document the effects of placing activity stations in areas that typically encourage sedentary behavior. Research was conducted through the College of Behavioral, Social & Health Sciences.


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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