Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.81
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date March 4, 2022

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 Coordinator, 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 approximately 10-14 interns every year who engage with the campus and outside community through Intern team led projects.
Intern Positons:
- Greenhouse Gas Inventory Intern:
Leads the collection, organization, and calculation of CC's annual greenhouse gas emissions with the guidance of the Sustainability Director. 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.

- Food Intern:
The Food Intern leads and supports new and ongoing food focused/related efforts across the campus. The position focuses on strengthening the Office of Sustainability’s engagement with food-focused groups and supports a wide range of food-related issues and initiatives across the campus and community.

- Transportation Intern:
The transportation Intern focuses on spreading awareness for the Mountain Metro college (bus) pass program; increasing engagement with PikeRide (community bikeshare program) while strengthening our bicycling infrastructure and support, identifying carpooling opportunities across campus, and developing the Office of Sustainability voluntary travel offset program.

- Green Programs Intern:
The Green Programs Intern works to maintain and increase engagement the Green Office, Green Room, Green Events, Green Teams/Athletics, and Green Homes programs. The intern collaborates with multiple other interns as it relates to their spheres of oversight, growing and tracking the progress of each program, partnering with institutional stakeholders to strengthen programs and provide meaningful incentives, and working with the campus community to market the programs.

- Student Life and Leadership:
The Student Life and Leadership Intern coordinates with the Student Life division to implement ongoing campus sustainability outreach activities and annual events. These include Earth Week, Move-Out, Swap Space/Food Pantry, Snow Day, Environmental Action Summit, and more.

- Waste Programming and Outreach
The waste Programming and Outreach Intern leads ongoing Office of Sustainability programming and support for other waste-focused efforts across the campus. They strengthen waste programs and efforts on campus by connecting and working in partnership with other offices and units, such as Facilities Services, Sodexo, ITS, Residential Life, and more. In addition, they work collaboratively with the Waste Signage and Education Intern to develop a strategic plan to decrease the amount of waste generated on campus and increase waste diversion rates.

- Waste Signage and Education Intern:
The Waste Signage and Education Intern leads the waste signage and bin transition across the college. They are responsible for auditing buildings, communicating with institutional stakeholders, and implementing new signage and bins in all academic and administrative buildings throughout the year. In addition, they work collaboratively with the Waste Programming and Outreach Intern to develop a strategic plan to decrease the amount of waste generated on campus and increase waste diversion rates.

- Communications Intern:
The Communications Interns works closely with the Office of Sustainability staff and interns to effectively communicate the latest sustainability-related efforts, programs, and projects to the CC community. They also work closely with CC’s Communications Office to coordinate any larger messaging to the broader community through various channels. Responsibilities include: graphic design, website content, written materials, social media, and intern campaigns.

- STARS Intern:
The STARS Intern is intimately involved in STARS data collection and reporting. After submitting this information through the STARS system, the information is used to produce the annual State of Sustainability report.

- Food Pantry and Swap Space Manager and Employees
The Food Pantry and Swap Space Manager and Student Employees serve the student population to meet basic needs (food, hygiene, and cleaning items) while working to reduce unnecessary consumption by giving items a second life within the CC community.


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.

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 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, poverty & 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 implemented 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?:
Yes

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

Using the framework provided by STARS, students analyzed the purchasing records for Bon Appetit (the college's food service provider) for two months' of purchases - one in fall and one in spring to get a well-rounded snapshot of seasonal purchasing data.

Additionally, the Environment and Society course includes in-depth discussion around food on campus and food production in the community.


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:

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, 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 working to maintain the campus tree database and have worked closely with the Campus Arborist to host campus tree tours to help the campus community better understand our urban canopy and the important roles it plays on our campus.


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

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

The Office of Sustainability interns have used the campus as a living labratory for purchasing while collecting data for STARS, particularly in the context of food purchases.


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 PikeRide bikeshare program 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 feasibility of biking at CC. All students have free access to the bikeshare system.

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 only the cost of materials.

The College annually audits the fleet vehicle emissions every year and through student intern efforts has implemented an emissions offset surcharge for campus fleet vehicles.
Colorado College also provides CC students with no-cost bus passes to Mountain Metro Transit, 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 Office of Sustainability has two waste interns that oversee waste signage and disposal on campus. They also oversee the on-campus and off-campus composting programs.


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.

The Office of Sustainability leads an annual 3-day water tour of the water sources and infrastructure, reservoirs, diversions, treatment plants, and end users to better acquaint students, faculty, and staff with laws and systems that bring this scarce and critical resource to our campus and city. The Sustainability Director also leads an annual workshop that provides and overview of these systems in a classroom setting for those who cannot attend a multi-day tour.

Ongoing projects also include 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:

A number of students serve on the Campus Sustainability Council, which has developed a Sustainability Action Plan to address broad planning and governance goals. This council has been put on hold since 2020, but will be restarted in the near future.


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 facilitate 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.

Colorado College has a goal of becoming an anti-racist institution. The Worthington Report was the first step in outlining specific areas of improvement and the college has moved forward with forming a more robust team to effectively address and work towards anti-racism.
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.

The Office of Sustainability focuses on Wellbeing within our work to maintain our own sustainability and ability to continue our work. All of our interns and volunteers work to incorporate these facets into their work and regularly engage with activities across campus that support this effort while educating and communicating with their peers about the importance of and ways to achieve this balance.

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 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.