Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.20
Liaison Mina Amundsen
Submission Date Nov. 5, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colby College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sandy Beauregard
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

The College has incorporated air and climate into student work through ecology classes and senior capstones, which focus on climate and air quality at the college. One example is the field trip the Introduction to Environmental Studies course (ES118) takes to our biomass plant, where students learn about air emissions standards and stack filtration systems. Additionally, many classes learn about plant growth, abundance, and diversity over time, which is explored on campus in the arboretum.


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:

The College has incorporated buildings into student work in several ways, one of which is the Green Building Course which uses LEED certified buildings on campus as case studies, with many students pursuing a LEED for Green Associate accreditation following the course’s completion. Another example is energy monitoring in every dorm, with daily usage reported to students in the spring during the Dorm Electricity Competition, where dorms compete against each other to reduce energy use over a three-week period.


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:

There is a long history of student work leading to positive outcomes related to energy. Student residents are involved with an annual dorm energy challenge (described above). During our student work symposium in spring 2017, two students presented on Colby's energy trends. During the Green Building Course, students take a tour of one of Colby’s newest buildings which utilizes a geothermal system for energy. Starting Fall 2017, the new solar array will serve as a teaching and research opportunity for students.


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:

There is a broad range of student work leading to positive outcomes related to Dining Services and Food. Aside from having an organic farm on campus, there are both activism groups and clubs working with Dining Services, involving food waste, composting, and cooking lessons. The Food Recovery Network donates food waste to local organizations and student Eco Reps conduct Weigh the Waste challenges to raise awareness about minimizing food waste.


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:

An example of student work related to grounds is the creation of a tree tour across campus. Students were also instrumental in the update of our campus IPM plan and the transition to using fewer pesticides. Another example of student work leading to positive outcomes in Colby's grounds is a class study on biodiversity around the artificial ponds on campus.


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:

Our EcoRep program is the best example of student work in the College's purchasing habits. EcoReps have worked on analyzing purchasing decisions to determine the percentage of sustainable purchases the College makes.


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:

Students have conducted research using GIS analysis to determine the best routes to create or improve bike and walking paths on Colby's campus in order to promote efficient means of sustainable transportation. Additionally, the EcoRep's iBike team manages the iBike fleet and offers mechanical and maintenance support to students who own their own bikes.


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:

This year Colby switched to a mixed recycling system based on an evaluation conducted by students analyzing the costs and potential waste reduction associated with this change. Additionally, student volunteers help run the RESCUE sale at the end of every year, which keeps tons of waste out of landfills, by salvaging, then reselling usable furniture to students in the fall. The volunteers also collect food, clothing, and bedding items which are donated to local organizations.


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:

Student EcoReps lead a 5 Minute Shower Challenge campaign in the fall which promotes reduction in water use. Another example is students who studied the water quality of Johnson Pond based on presence of macro organisms in ecology courses.


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:

One example of coordination, planning and governance relates to the Environmental Advisory Group, a collection of administrators, faculty and students who collaborate on campus environmental issues. This past year students of the Environmental Advisory Group focused on developing and reviewing Colby’s Sustainability Action Plan.


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:

During the January Term course Multicultural Literacy, students develop a Multicultural Literacy Action Plan that applies directly to Colby. These projects can cover a range of topics including access and diversity among students. Some examples of these projects from 2016 include: exploring how Colby was accessible to students with disabilities, the economic divide between Colby and Waterville, microaggressions at Colby, and a project exploring the racial rift at Colby.


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:

There is a student club on campus called CARE, Colby Alliance for Renewable Energy, working on divestment of the Carbon Underground 200 fossil fuel companies at Colby. Although they have not yet accomplished their primary goal, they have had meetings with the Administration and Trustees and have started an ongoing conversation on campus regarding sustainable investing. CARE has helped move us towards greater transparency with regards to the College investments and inform student understanding of divestment and its implications on campus.


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:

One of the methods students are involved in public engagement is the Environmental Studies senior capstone, which has a civic engagement component at the local, national, and/or international levels. Every ES major is required to take the senior capstone course. There are several other classes and programs on campus that involve student work related to public engagement such as the Goldfarb Center. The Environmental Justice course has students work on independent projects that include analyzing the distance of Colby from landfills versus other regions of Waterville, analyzing the feasibility of the Food Recovery Network, and its subsequent results, and the National Park Service and accessibility.


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:

One example of student work leading to positive outcomes in the area of health, wellbeing, and work is the Environmental Psychology course offered over January term. Students design their own final project, with most students choosing to survey other students not enrolled in the Environmental Psychology course to determine environmental stressors that exist on campus that may impact mental health. Additionally, students learn about Green Building Standards and LEED, which prioritizes air quality and human health.


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:

A few other examples of student work leading to positive outcomes include: Colby students and professors who conduct research on the Belgrade Lakes through our multidisciplinary National Science Foundation grant. This research has influenced local and regional lakefront stewardship practices, and provided the community with critical data regarding the health of the Belgrade Lakes. Additionally, many students explore the Arboretum and learn about this space on campus as a functioning ecosystem in Ecology and other science courses.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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