Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.56
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colorado State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Tonie Miyamoto
Director of Communications and Sustainability
Housing and Dining Services
"---" 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 Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building, completed in 2013, is a LEED for New Construction Gold building. It serves as an interdisciplinary research and academic facility for Colorado State University's College of Engineering. The project team welcomed the Institute for the Built Environment, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and off-campus professionals who take research to practice, to facilitate the green building process and assist with LEED management. By engaging students in a real-life construction and LEED process, there was a valuable opportunity for hands-on learning and transferable skills. This new, high performing building advances CSU sustainability goals by reducing per square foot energy use across campus which is the campus’s #1 source of Greenhouse Gas emissions.

The following building features exemplify Air and Climate benefits: location on the main campus contributing to the campus master plan of sustainability for density, natural ventilation in the atrium space, evaporative cooling, and heat recovery of data center by ducting data center exhaust to preheat Lab AHU outside air.

Resources:
http://www.engr.colostate.edu/engr2/
http://www.fm.colostate.edu/projects/index.cfm?page=projects/engr2


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 Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building, completed in 2013, is a LEED for New Construction Gold building. It serves as an interdisciplinary research and academic facility for Colorado State University's College of Engineering. The project team welcomed the Institute for the Built Environment, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and off-campus professionals who take research to practice, to facilitate the green building process and assist with LEED management. By engaging students in a real-life construction and LEED process, there was a valuable opportunity for hands-on learning and transferable skills. This new, high performing building advances CSU sustainability goals by reducing per square foot energy use across campus which is the campus’s #1 source of Greenhouse Gas emissions.

The following building features exemplify the Building topic areas: incorporation of low-emitting materials such as adhesives, sealants, and flooring systems that comply with VOC limits and thus minimize atmospheric pollution. IBE employs 12 students who gain real-world, hands-on experience with LEED.

Resources:
http://www.engr.colostate.edu/engr2/
http://www.fm.colostate.edu/projects/index.cfm?page=projects/engr2


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:

The Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building, completed in 2013, is a LEED for New Construction Gold building. It serves as an interdisciplinary research and academic facility for Colorado State University's College of Engineering. The project team welcomed the Institute for the Built Environment, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and off-campus professionals who take research to practice, to facilitate the green building process and assist with LEED management. This new, high performing building advances CSU sustainability goals by reducing per square foot energy use across campus which is the campus’s #1 source of Greenhouse Gas emissions.

The following building features exemplify Energy topic areas: 35% electricity powered by renewable sources, 33% lighting power density savings, an energy model prediction of 45.36% cost reduction through energy conservation measures.

Resources:
http://www.engr.colostate.edu/engr2/
http://www.fm.colostate.edu/projects/index.cfm?page=projects/engr2


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:

The on-campus restaurant Aspen Grille is run in conjunction with the Food and Nutrition Sciences Department and the Hospitality Department. Students combine curriculum and class projects with this unique learning environment to explore topics in sustainable food and dining.

Positive outcomes for campus include greater understanding among students of the real-life challenges and rewards of operating a sustainable restaurant. The campus community also benefits from having an on-campus restaurant that serves local menu items.

Housing & Dining Services also has an ongoing student-learning laboratory where students learn about food waste reduction through direct contact with the composting and waste-to-energy programs at CSU. Multiple classes each year utilize the in-vessel composting system as a living laboratory, conducting soil samples, making recommendations about recipe mixes, and exploring expansion opportunities.


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:

Housing & Dining Services has invested in a state of the art, fully-automated composting system called the Earth Flow (affectionately known as Oscar). This enclosed, 30-yard capacity compost bin is located on the CSU Foothills Campus (three miles west of main campus). Pre- and post-consumer food waste from CSU Dining Centers is composted in the Earth Flow. The program is in its sixth year and last year diverted over 400,000 pounds of food waste. Materials produced are used by student gardens, donated to community non-profit organizations, and used as soil amendment for construction and landscaping projects.

The system operates as a living lab with student interns from Soil & Crop Sciences loading materials, taking measurements, and making recommendations for recipe and operational improvements. A faculty adviser in the College of Agriculture serves as a member of the Compost Team and selects the intern each semester. The Compost Operator provides hands-on instruction on site and the Assistant Director of Sustainability for Housing & Dining Services supervises the interns.


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:

The Spoke is Colorado State University’s on-campus cycling repair and maintenance education training center servicing our University students, faculty and staff. The university’s living lab empowers the student mechanics to manage the business operations and purchasing needs of the bike shop. The student mechanics must track sales and transactions, maintain cash register receipts, and submit orders for supplies and materials to keep The Spoke stocked. This real-world purchasing experience helps the students prepare for future careers and gives them an opportunity at the end of each semester to reflect on the shop's success, as well as make recommendations for the next semester.


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:

The Spoke is Colorado State University’s on-campus cycling maintenance education training center servicing our University students, faculty and staff. The university’s living lab, operated by students, has a mission to work with each of our customers, sharing knowledge, techniques and best practices on bicycle maintenance, safety, and repairs. Through their daily engagement they passionately promote alternative transportation on campus through educating the campus community on maintaining their bikes. Ultimately the educational component leads to more students, faculty and staff armed with the knowledge to maintain their own bike and use their bike as their primary mode of transportation around the campus and the community.

In spring 2016, the Housing & Dining Services Eco Leaders helped introduce the first all-electric vehicles to the fleet by conducting before and after staff surveys of vehicle use, knowledge of EVs, locations of charging stations, etc. When the vehicles arrived the Eco Leaders partnered with Drive Electric Northern Colorado to schedule test drives and hands-on training for staff. The Eco Leaders also conducted an assessment after the vehicles had been used for one semester and were able to demonstrate that the two vehicles were being checked out more than 100 times per month with a very high level of staff satisfaction.


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:

Each March, CSU conducts a Waste Audit on the Lory Student Center plaza to sort one day's worth of trash from the residence halls on campus. ASCSU student government, Student Sustainability Center, Eco Leaders, and several classes participate in the audit as a real-world example. Trash, recyclables, compost, and items that can be reused are sorted by hand and weighed. Students then break that data down to determine what percentage of the waste stream on campus could have been recycled, composted, or reused.

The data from the Waste Audit has helped inform recycling campaigns, an expansion of the compost program on campus, and information about how to reuse and/or donated unwanted items through programs like Leave It Behind.


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:

Seventeen water bottle filling stations were installed in Housing & Dining Services as part of a grassroots proposal from students and staff to the Housing & Dining Services Sustainability Fund. Each student who lives in the residence halls on campus is given a reusable Nalgene bottle during move in with education about using it in the dining centers to avoid to-go cups and at the water bottle stations to reduce disposable plastic bottles. Eco Leaders and sustainability interns are engaged in the project to help develop education and track water bottle filling station usage. In the first three years of the program, interns assessed each station's tracking device to calculate that over 630,000 disposable water bottles were avoided through the water bottle filling stations.

Sociology 461 (Water, Society, and Environment), explores and analyzes the sociology of water and how human societies interact with and depend upon water. For the final project in this class, every student or student group must design and begin implementing a waste project on campus. This year's class projects included a $100,000 budget proposal to the University Facility Fee Advisory Board (UFFAB) for more water bottle filling stations on campus, as well as a proposal to the CSU Student Senate (ASCSU) to ban plastic bags on campus.

The projects have a very positive impact on campus by engaging the student government on important waste minimization resolutions and proposals. The projects also connect classroom theory to real-world application by challenging students to identify campus solutions, research feasibility, and submit budget and/or policy proposals to implement the idea.


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:

Lory Student Center South Revitalization
The Institute for the Built Environment, an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and off-campus professionals who take research to practice, engaged the project team for the Lory Student Center South Revitalization in refining sustainability goals and identifying key strategies and technologies for achieving those goals. The project vision was to improve building infrastructure, highlight student diversity programs and services, and target growth that aligns with the land-grant mission of CSU. IBE promoted integrated decision making and systems thinking and facilitated the LEED documentation process (achieved LEED Silver). This project was successful in diverting 55% of construction waste, reducing water usage by 35%, and maintaining 56% of the existing building. The team at IBE honored CSU’s land grant mission to set the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world by engaging with faculty and staff at CSU to investigate the possible integration of research projects being incorporated into the project.

The students engaged in the project gained hands-on coordination and planning experience in a real-world environment.

Resources:
http://ibe.colostate.edu/news/item.aspx/?ID=1261


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:

The Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee, under the direction of the Vice President for Diversity (VPD), is in the process of developing a comprehensive policy that would mandate both virtual platforms and physical facilities across campus adopt universal design. While campus already follows ADA guidelines and accessibility standards for web, universal design would expand access and opportunity across campus.

Students have been an integral part of the process. One such effort that began in 2015 was the expansion of gender inclusive restrooms. Students in the School of Social Work, under the guidance of faculty member Marie Villescas Zamzow, participated in social action by researching and advocating for inclusivity best practices as part of a class project. The students did some research and sponsored a petition to support the expansion of single-stall, gender inclusive bathrooms on campus. They collected hundreds of signatures to share with the CSU President and Vice President for Diversity, who connected the students with the Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee. Working together, the students and committee conducted a campus survey to gather community opinion on preferred language and symbols used to designate gender inclusive restrooms. The survey results were used to help adopt a University-wide naming protocol and signage standard. As part of the process, Facilities Management hired two of the students to locate and audit existing restrooms with the potential to become gender inclusive. The students identified over 260 single-stall restrooms, many of which have now been identified and funded to become “All Gender”. With the support of Facilities Management and the VPD these restrooms will now be made available across all of CSU’s campuses.

More information:
http://source.colostate.edu/survey-asks-for-input-on-restroom-signage-on-campus/


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:

The Summit Fund is a student-run investment portfolio in the College of Business whose educational goal is to enrich the student’s education by linking academic coursework with professional experience in managing an actual investment fund. The educational objectives to be achieved by students include: demonstrating the principles and procedures of professional fund management; applying current economic conditions; conducting firm level valuation based on analysis of financial statements; assessing the degree to which sustainable practices are upheld by firms to be held in the portfolio and constructing an investment portfolio consistent with the Fund’s economic analysis and investment policy statement.

The Summit Fund’s approach to sustainable investing practices has led to positive outcomes on campus by providing support for the development of similar practices by the CSU Foundation in its drafting of guiding investment principles.


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:

The CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) guides students in 5 to 10 specific research/academic projects each semester in the area of coordination, planning, and governance.

For example, at the University of Northern Colorado LEAP summit (2014), CPD students ran a two hour session on mental health issues tied to the National Conversation on Mental Health that was launched in June by President Obama.

CPD students assisted with forums on Amendment 66 - school taxation - in Golden Colorado on Oct. 15 and on local food issues in Steamboat Springs on Oct. 17.

By empowering students to lead and engage discussions like this, CSU helps prepare students for meaningful deliberation in their future careers and the campus community benefits by having a center focused on guiding and engaging everyone on difficult and controversial topics in a healthy and meaningful way.


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:

The CSU commuting survey revealed that one of the primary barriers for CSU faculty and staff to walk or ride their bike to work is a concern about needing to shower once they arrive on campus. Rather than treating this as solely a transportation issue, the Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Committee student representatives worked on the implementation of a virtual interactive map that features Inclusive Resources such as gender inclusive restrooms, lactation rooms, shower rooms, and meditation rooms to expand the awareness and availability of these wellness resources on campus more broadly. The subcommittee worked with a student intern to conduct a field study and first pass analysis building survey as a means to identify existing wellness features such as showers for bicyclists, break rooms, meditation rooms, and lactation rooms. Amenities such as these (and others) reduce the need for a car, reduce overall trips and affordability, and open up alternative transportation as a viable option for employees and students. This project also promotes inclusivity for those with diverse identities and issues that are reflected in our populations such as varying disabilities (visible as well as invisible), religious expressions, gender identity and expression, motherhood, etc. By highlighting these Inclusive Services on the main campus map (maps.colostate.edu) in a mobile and accessible fashion, the students have helped make these critical services available to the campus community. Projects like this one are part of a larger campus commitment to move to universal design standards.

More information:
https://opc.prep.colostate.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/04/Inclusive-Campus-Policy-Impact-Statement-FINAL-signed-4-18-2016.pdf

A second living lab example under wellbeing is students at the Powerhouse Energy Campus at CSU are helping lead a study called STOVES – Subclinical Tests on Volunteers Exposed to Smoke - looking at cookstove emissions and its health effects. 50 students or volunteers will participate over the course of 12 weeks to study the stoves in the lab to characterize the complex mixture of pollutants and impacts on the human body. One of the graduate students Kristen Fedak explains that “we know household air pollution is causing a large burden of disease worldwide, and with a little more information, we could contribute some insight regarding potential solutions”.
More information:
http://source.colostate.edu/paid-volunteers-needed-for-smoke-inhalation-health-study/


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:

Behavior change: CSU works hard to support sustainability at the University and this includes encouraging sustainable behaviors among students, staff, faculty and employees. The Institute for the Built Environment and the Center for Energy and Behavior, two on-campus research institutes, focus on sustainability and behaviors. Each of these centers employ undergraduate and graduate students working on energy conservation and use the city and university campus as lab. The Center for Energy and Behavior has worked on a few campus focused energy conservation programs: 1) collaborated with facilities staff to encourage campus staff to be energy conservation ambassadors in their department, 2) developed social marketing campaigns to encourage energy conservation in the residence halls, and 3) worked with graduate students to develop a software feedback system to encourage faculty and staff to shut off their computers.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

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.