Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.19
Liaison John Pumilio
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colgate University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Pamela Gramlich
Sustainability Office Program Coordinator
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:

ENST 241 Project: "Colgate University Greenhouse Gas Benchmarking Report," (Fall 2016)

Students worked to compile greenhouse gas emission data from Colgate University over time, while also analyzing the data for 10 different education institutions that are similar in size, demographics, and location to Colgate as a way to contextualize the university's progress. Students learned that to ensure efficient progress towards institutional carbon neutrality goals, it is important to remain up-to-date on the greenhouse gas reduction progress being implemented across varying institutions. Students ranked the colleges/universities according to different metrics such as: emissions per student, emissions per full-time employee, total emissions, and emissions per 1000 sq ft. The students were able to identify how Colgate’s emissions compared to peer institutions.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "Building and Construction Sustainability at Colgate University Colgate University Bicentennial Anniversary," (2017).

Students focused on the integration of sustainability at Colgate, considering, "How have principles of sustainability have been taken into consideration throughout the history of Colgate’s building design and construction?" This socio-historical perspective provided an in-depth analysis of Colgate's progress, roadblocks, and future goals regarding building construction and renovation in response to our sustainability commitment published in 2015 that all new construction and major renovation projects are required to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "The History of Heating at Colgate University," (2017).

Students examined a significant component of Colgate's carbon footprint; Heating accounts 21% of Colgate's energy consumption. Using the three pillar framework of sustainability, these students examined the social, environmental, and economic consideration that encompassed energy decision making. They defined, "the social pillar as considerations of student and staff comfort, the environmental pillar as the level of emitted pollutants, and the economic pillar as associated financial costs." Using this lens, they determined financial cost has been the main rationale in decision-making throughout Colgate's history while working conditions for heating plant workers was largely dismissed historically. In recent years emissions decreased significantly due to changes in fuel sources and various sustainability efforts. With Colgate's ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2019, more efforts are constantly being made to reduce our environmental footprint in a socially and economically responsible way.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "Food Provision and the Incorporation of Sustainable Practices at Colgate University over its 200-year History as an Institution of Higher Learning," (2017).

Students combed through university archives and newspapers and conducted interviews to outline Colgate's food provision practices and determine how sustainable they are. Using the three pillars of sustainability, they concluded that Colgate was primarily concerned with the economic aspects before the social and environmental ones. Students noted that Colgate followed a similar trajectory with other institutions of higher learning where social outcry was needed to prompt the university to look at environmental concerns more. Students also researched what other institutions of higher learning are doing in terms of sustainable dining and crafted a list of recommendations as to what Colgate can do to improve its practices


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "Land Use and Forest Management: A History of Sustainability at Colgate University," (2017).

Students examined the how Colgate has managed their forested and open-area lands from 1826, when a majority of the property was acquired, to the present day. Their major findings concluded that the social component outweighed economic and environmental concerns throughout Colgate’s history. In response to our carbon neutrality goal set for 2019, more balance has been restored among the pillars in recent years.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "Assessing the Feasibility of Incorporating Sustainability into the Purchasing Department," (2017).

This report focusing on collectively on Colgate's Purchasing Department. Students analyzed the progress of sustainable purchasing on campus, concluding little effort has been made prior to incorporate sustainability into the Purchasing Department. Students used similar institutions that have implemented this practice to craft their argument that sustainable purchasing is economically feasible. They determined Colgate’s current purchasing structure Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are the most likely purchasing mechanism for integrating sustainability into purchasing at Colgate, outlining possible ways in which this could be done.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "A History of Transportation at Colgate University: An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic, and Social Impacts", (Spring 2017).

The report examines how students, faculty, and staff moved to and for, and around campus in the last 200 years. Using the three pillars of sustainability, they assessed how sustainable the four different modes of transportation are (namely, stage lines on country roads, packet boats in the Chenango Canal, railroads and automobiles). Their research indicates that economic and social priorities were the driving force that popularized new forms of transportation, and the environmental aspects were largely ignored. Students made a set of recommendations to improve the environments aspect by suggesting incentives for utilizing communal forms of transportation such as the Colgate Cruiser and carpooling, as well as restrictions on student driving and parking access up the hill.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: Reusable "Takeout Container Programs and Possible Introduction at Colgate University," (2016).

Students examined the environmental and economic costs and benefits of the theoretical introduction of reusable take-out containers in Colgate's dining locations, largely through a comparative analysis between Colgate and similar institutions that have already integrated reusable containers into their dining services. In addition, the students surveyed the student body as well as conducted interviews with Colgate's dining service provider, Chartwells, to gain knowledge of the social climate of students, faculty, and staff regarding possible implementation.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "The History of Domestic Water Use at Colgate University," (2017).

Through a combination of archival research and present-day interviews, students we able to access the history of how Colgate has interacted with water since its establishment in 1819, providing a resource for future accountability on campus and with the town of Hamilton, New York regarding water. Through their research they determined Colgate's historical and current utilization of water was not significantly grounded in sustainability, calling for a push towards considering economic and environmental impacts of our water consumption and integrating water conservation initiatives within the student body.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: The Status of White-Tailed Deer in Hamilton, a Community Forum (2016).

Students conducted research and surveyed the role of the White-Tailed Deer in the local community. They presented their findings to community members in the village library downtown and facilitated an open discussion on deer perception and management strategies in Hamilton, NY.


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:

ENST 390 Student Project: "Local and Transnational Environment Stewardship Through Religious Identities at Colgate."

Students researched the involvement of Colgate's religious communities in environmental activism on campus. Their study identified barriers such as the emphasis on personal activism in environmental concerns and the perception of religion as an inefficient form of activism, and the limited, fixed spaces for the expression of both environmental and religious identities. Students concluded their research by comparing the goals of Colgate's Bicentennial Plan with Pope Francis' Encyclical, Laudato Si, suggesting a shift to community activism to facilitate a more inclusive group consciousness even as one participate in one's own personal activism.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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ENST 390 (Community-based Study of Environmental Issues) is a project-based, interdisciplinary course that examines current environmental issues in the context of community-based learning. Students in this course take on semester-long research projects that help advance our campus sustainability program and operations. Topics for investigation are selected by faculty in conjunction with Colgate's director of sustainability, the Upstate Institute, or directly with local and regional agencies or organizations. Students get practical experience working in interdisciplinary teams to examine environmental issues with a goal of developing relevant recommendations. Examples of recent research projects include:
• "Building and Construction Sustainability at Colgate University," (Spring 2017), Katie Connors, Danny LaCrosse and Emma Newmann
• "The History of Heating at Colgate University," (Spring 2017), Julia Marchetti, Yukun Xu, Kylie Armo
• "Food Provision and the Incorporation of Sustainable Practices at Colgate University over its 200-year History as an Institution of Higher Learning," (Spring 2017), Robert Howie, Geneva Leong, and Summitt Liu
• "Land Use and Forest Management: A History of Sustainability at Colgate University," (Spring 2017) PJ Bell, Kimberly Duncan, and Martha Montufar
• "Assessing the Feasibility of Incorporating Sustainability into the Purchasing Department," (Spring 2015), Colin McMahon, Missy Velez, and Sherry Tran
• "A History of Transportation at Colgate University: An Analysis of the Environmental, Economic and Social Impacts," (Spring 2017), Marisa Chiodo, Kathryn Deaton, and Jonathan Morales
• "Reusable Takeout Container Programs and Possible Introduction at Colgate University," (Spring 2016) Grace Thomas, Kiki Torpey, and Dominic Wilkins
• "The History of Domestic Water Use at Colgate University," (Spring 2017), Jeff Potts and Ashlea Raemer
• "The Status of White-Tailed Deer in Hamilton", (Fall 2016), ENST 390 Class
• "Local and Transnational Environment Stewardship Through Religious Identities at Colgate," Glenna Thomas '17, Ro Gela Washington '16, Joshua Anyasi '17, Alex Ramon '16

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