Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.47
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

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 its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:

Sense of Place programming has been successfully implemented into New Student Orientation. This is designed to help educate new students about various aspects of sustainability on campus including water, food, energy, buildings, landscape, etc. They also help engage students in the local community. Sense of Place trips are also carried out throughout the year to strengthen student and faculty relationships with their surrounding environment. Faculty are encouraged to implement Sense of Place principles into courses as well.

The Office of Sustainability fosters communication, collaboration and coordination between stakeholders in the CC community. The Office of Sustainability consists of Ian Johnson, Colorado College's Sustainability Director, a Sustainability Paraprofessional, Mae Rohrbach, and teams of student interns paired with dedicated student volunteers who work on independent projects and often are embedded in different offices in the Colorado College administration. The Office of Sustainability hires 8-9 interns every year who engage with the campus and outside community through Intern team led projects.
Intern Positons:
- Student Life and Leadership Intern:
The Colorado College ECO-RA program, supported by the Sustainability Office, promotes peer-to-peer education to foster sustainable living practices on and off campus. All residential areas, including large residence halls, apartments, smaller campus houses and off-campus areas are served by one or more student ECO-RAs. Selected ECO-RAs educate locally in their respective residential spaces, through formal and informal programming, marketing materials, and events. In addition, ECO-RAs implement conservation measures in their residential areas. Examples of activities include monitoring and reporting on energy and water use, identifying opportunities to minimize paper waste, coordinating CFL lightbulb exchanges, and supporting material reuse & recycling. ECO-RAs also participate collectively in campus-wide initiatives such as Recyclemania and Campus Conservation Nationals. Stipends for ECO-RAs are $50 per block, with additional funds available to support programming.
- Impact Awareness & Project Planner: Creates a Measurable Impacts Report based on previous year's data collection to implement strategic changes to the CC campus, targeting areas of the STARS report to reach our Platinum goal.
- STARS®: Works to collect and report data for the STARS report. STARS is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). It is a comprehensive, self-reporting metric that rates institutions across broad sustainability efforts.
- Marketing: Assists with all marketing and promotional materials to educate and inform the CC community about sustainability programs, events, and initiatives. This position works with the Communications Office to put out blockly newsletters to the entire campus and maintains the office's social media presence. We currently do not have an intern for this position due to covid, but we anticipate to fill this position soon.
- Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Leads the collection, organization, and calculation of CC's annual greenhouse gas emissions. This position works to track CC's progress in lowering our overall emissions utilizing SIMAP, which is an online calculator to assist in converting emission sources into equivalent metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- Student Life & Leadership: Works to engage student life and leadership across campus. Focused on bringing sustainability issues to the forefront of Residential Life discussions.
- Green Programs: Works to expand existing Green Programs, which include, but are not limited to Green Office, Green Room, Green Events, and Course Designation and Catalog Collection. This position heavily collaborates with other Interns as it relates to their spheres, growing and tracking the progress of each program.
- Waste Programming & Outreach: Leads waste efforts across campus to decrease the amount of waste generated on campus and increase current rates of waste diversion by overseeing several waste programs in the Office of Sustainability.
- Community Engagement: Engages with off campus community partners, other Higher Education Institutions, and the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE) to develop and maintain relationships based on sustainability initiatives. We currently do not have an intern for this position due to covid, but we anticipate to fill this position soon.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for public engagement while collecting data for STARS. This goal has been advanced by developing a deep relationship with the college’s Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE). The Office of Sustainability’s Community Engagement Intern is specifically charged with working closely with the CCE to develop and maintain relationships based on sustainable initiatives. The intern has played a key role in helping the CCE to foster intracampus collaboration around sustainability and facilitating a deeper understanding amongst students of the responsibility CC has to sustainability as part of the Colorado Springs community. Furthermore, student organizations in the CCE are working on programs to improve engagement in the broader community by working on projects to address youth organizing, k-12 education, incarceration, health, racial equity, environment/ecology, immigration, porverty & resource inequities, political engagement, and gender & sexuality. The student organization, Roots: Colorado Springs Homeless Collective carries on the legacy of the soup kitchen by leading weekly creative workshops at Urban Peak youth shelter downtown and producing a magazine in collaboration with members of the homeless community with the goal of humanizing their experiences and elevating their voices. The CCE Co-Op consists of many coalitions that are made up of students, staff/faculty, and community partners who do community-engaged work on the following issues: youth organizing, k-12 education, incarceration, health, racial equity, environment/ecology, immigration, porverty & resource inequities, political engagement, and gender & sexuality. Finally, students in the environmental education TREE semester develop and implement curricula for fifth grade classes in local elementary schools in which they conduct projects related to environmental science at the Catamount Center near Woodland Park, Colorado.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living labratory for air & climate while collecting data for STARS. 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 Atmospheric Dynamics class includes a student-designed laboratory/field research component related to local pollution.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:

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.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:

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. Additionally, the large number of solar arrays on campus provide a learning opportunity to members of the community who see them and are able to inquire about renewable energy.
In addition, the Energy: Environmental Energetics and Thermodynamics course works with a local nonprofit to conduct an energy audit and retrofit for a low-income house in the community.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:

We have done projected related to food and dining in the last 3 years.

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.
Finally, the Human Impacts on Biogeochemical Cycles course in the environmental program conducted a nitrogen footprint calculation for the college, including impacts related to food.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:

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. 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. 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. Finally, in maintaining the Tree Campus USA program, students and interns in the Office of Sustainability have been researching and maintaining tree count, tree type, and tree health on the Colorado College campus.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:

Purchasing Department - ended in 2017

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 various departments like ITS and Campus Operations, interns have been briefed on the purchasing policies and procedures adapted by the College and have been able to see opportunities to improve.


IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:

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. Students have been exposed to biking at Colorado College through the Pike Ride system at CC along with CC's certification as a Bicycle Friendly University. The introduction of the bike share has allowed students to bike and learn about the fesibility of biking at CC. Students who qualify for financial aid can also apply to get financial aid for the Pike Ride membership.
Colorado College also provides a Bike Co-Op where students are introduced to a more sustainable transportation option and provides assistance by maintaining and fixing bikes for free.
The college annually audits the fleet vehicle emissions every year and youth organizing, k-12 education, incarceration, health, racial equity, environment/ecology, immigration, porverty & resource inequities, political engagement, and gender & sexuality a surcharge for offsets. Colorado College also provides CC students with free Mountain Metro rides, funded through student fees and CCSGA.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for waste while collecting data for STARS. Additionally, the waste-receptacles in the Worner Student Center and major acedemic buildings on campus have signage displaying waste streams with a Leave No Trace logo on the centers. These receptacles provide a learning opportunity to all students about recycling and compost and has led to an increased diversion rate from the landfill. Student activism surrounding Campus Waste to Zero Waste also provides an opportunity for educating the student body about waste diversion for the college.

The Community Engagement team weighed the compost produced at Rastall at the dish return area for 2 weeks over 6th block (this was our baseline period). We then continued to record the weight for the first week of 7th block but we made the data aware to students after each day by filling out a graph that was hung up in rastall comparing the data to the baseline period. During the 1st week of 7th block we also put signage up around Rastall educating student on food waste and the impacts of their food choices on the environment.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for water while collecting data for STARS, and in other projects. Intro to Geodesign course, students students undertook campus-based geodesign projects that identify opportunities for water conservation and xeric gardens. Further, Monument Creek (which runs through campus) is used to study urban water quality in a number of courses, including Physical Geology and Biogeochemistry of Watersheds. The Monument Creek Project also studies Monument creek in the Introduction to Geodesign Course.
Ongoing projects also exist like the Fountain Valley Watershed Project - Eli Fahrenkurg and Tyler Cornelius, Flint Michigan Water Crisis - Dr. Paul Buckley and Eli Fahrenkurg, Water Rights in New Mexico - Eric Paramond,


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:

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.

A number of students serve on the Campus Sustainability Council, which has developed a Sustainability Action Plan to address broad planning and governance goals.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

The Office of Sustainability Interns have used the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability while collecting data for STARS. The Butler Center focuses on diversity, inclusion, intercultural exchange, equity, and empowerment at Coloardo College. The Butler Center staff has opportunities where they provide inclusive student support and engagement, share teaching and learning for faculty, staff, and students, and facilite community-building activities.
The Coloardo Pledge and Stroud Scholar Program both work to make Colorado College accessible for students from diverses finacal and ethnic backgrounds.
Through student initiative, the college pushed for an anti-racism initiative. The Worthington Report was a result of student demand along with the school creating an Antiracism Implementation Plan.
Updates on the colleges anti-racism initiative can be found on the link below:
https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/antiracism-initiative/


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:

The Office of Sustainability Interns used campus as a living laboratory for Investment while collecting data for STARS. Students in the Investment subcommittee of the campus sustainability council also have engaged with the Board of Trustees to advocate for sustainable investment. This subcommittee is made up of students and staff and is researching the feasibility of sustainable investment, initiating a trend towards sustainable investment at CC, and investigating proxy voting. A green portfolio is currently being managed by Colorado College's investment club and they are examining alternative investments and ESG funds.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

The Office of Sustainability Interns have used campus as a living labratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work while collecting data for STARS. All interns and volunteers at the Office of Sustainability are invited on an office retreat to the school's BACA campus. The retreat includes yoga, board games, hikes, and free time to reset. Further, the Environmental Education semester at the Catamount Center includes a component of reflection relating to health and wellness and students' personal relationship to their environment. The Wellness Resource Center serves as the hub for prevention and health promotion work on campus, and plays a key role in assessing and identifying health trends and priorities, developing strategies to reduce harm and capitalize on individual protective factors and campus strengths, and provides leadership, coordination and integration of campus health and wellness initiatives. The WRC focuses on mental health, sexual assult response and prevention, and substance use education.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The Introduction to Geodesign course is mentioned a few times. The course has been taught within the last 3 years, but is taking a year off this year because of Covid-19.

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.