Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.36
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date June 8, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Colorado College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Ian Johnson
Sustainability Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Other Yes

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living labratory for air & climate while collecting data for STARS. The intern in charge of data collection conducted an interview of the HVAC/ Central Plant Supervisor and was given a tour of the heating plant facility. Furthermore, the Office of Sustainability employs a student intern to work on the college's annual greenhouse gas inventory. The intern looks at all aspects of campus to collect data related to greenhouse gas emissions and has looked into ways of implementing more efficient recording systems.
In addition, the Air: Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry class includes a student-designed laboratory/field research component related to local pollution.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Office of Sustainability interns have used campus as a living laboratory for buildings while collecting data for STARS and in other projects. Through communication with CC's Campus Planner, interns have learned about building operation and maintenance, design and construction, and indoor air quality. Interns are working with faculty in the GreenLabs project, which aims to improve energy efficiency in labs on campus.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A group of students funded by an EcoGrant are undertaking an audit of local, sustainable and ethical food on campus. Using the framework provided by the Real Food Calculator, the students systematically analyzed the quality of the various products being purchased and generated quantitative data based on local, ecological, fair trade, and humane expenditures. In addition, the Office of Sustainability interns met with Bon Appetit staff in order to collect data for STARS. Further, the Food and Social Justice course includes independent projects exploring food on campus and in the community.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for energy while collecting data for STARS. Through meeting with the College's Campus Energy Manager, interns learned the ins and outs of energy on campus and were able to evaluate the strengths of shortcomings. In the Intro to Geodesign course, students undertook campus-based geodesign projects that identify opportunities for renewable energy placement.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students enrolled in courses such as Nature & Spirit -Science & Religion, Environmental Stewardship & Spirituality, and Conservation Biology & Spirituality have studied ecology through South Crestone Creek at CC's Baca campus. First year student orientation groups have and will continue to participate in stewardship efforts at the Baca Campus through native planting activities etc. In addition, two interns from the Office of Sustainability have been collaborating with faculty and facilities staff to improve the prioritization of sustainability in campus landscaping. By the end of the 2013-2014, these students will have proposed their plans to CC's Master Planning Committee and the Design Review Board for approval. In addition, the Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for grounds while meeting with the Grounds Crew to discuss campus landscaping. Finally, in the Intro to Geodesign, students undertook campus-based geodesign projects that identify opportunities for xeric landscaping and/or vegetable gardens, together with plant communities that provide habitats for pollinators, birds, and small mammals.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living labratory for purchasing while collecting data for STARS. By communicating with members of the Purchasing Department, interns have been briefed on the purchasing policies and procedures adapted by the College and have been able to see opportunities to improve.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living labratory for transportation while collecting data for STARS. By communicating with representatives of the Transportation Department, interns have gathered insight on the campus's use of sustainable transportation and have been able to determine areas in which the campus can improve.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

An intern in the Office of Sustainability is working on a project through the Campus Sustainability Council to improve waste systems on campus and streamline recycling. In addition, the Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for waste while collecting data for STARS.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for water while collecting data for STARS, and in other projects. The Building and Grounds intern is working on a project to increase xeric gardening across campus and conserve water. In addition, in the Intro to Geodesign course, students students undertook campus-based geodesign projects that identify opportunities for water conservation and xeric gardens.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns used campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance while collecting data for STARS. In the Intro to Geodesign course, students submitted projects related to landscaping and energy on campus to the Campus Master Plan architects, as a means to communicate student-developed sustainability aspirations to the designers. Further, a number of students serve on the Campus Sustainability Council, which is developing a Sustainability Action Plan to address broad planning and governance goals. Finally, there is a student writing her thesis project about the power structures of sustainability in the campus community.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns have used the campus as a living labratory for Diversity & Affordability while collecting data for STARS.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns have used campus as a living labratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work while collecting data for STARS. Further, the Environmental Inquiry class included a component of reflection which related to health and wellness and students' personal relationship to their environment.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns used campus as a living laboratory for Investment while collecting data for STARS. In addition, the Economics of Higher Education class considered the college's investment policies. Students in the Divestment group also have engaged with the Board of Trustees to advocate for sustainable investment.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for public engagement while collecting data for STARS. Further, interns in the Collaborative for Community Engagement are developing programs to improve engagement in the broader community, including projects addressing food justice, arts for social change, and youth engagement. In addition, students in the Food and Social justice class do a project related to food inequality and food activism in the local community.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

An intern in the Office of Sustainability presented to the incoming class of 2018 during orientation about sense of place. The presentation was designed to educate new students about various aspects of sustainability on campus, including water, food, energy, buildings, landscape, etc.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.