Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.38
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sarah Brylinsky
Sustainability Communications & Integration Maanger
Campus Sustainability Office
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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 blueprint for this goal is our award-winning Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP’s strategies bring together students, faculty, and staff on matters of research, education, stewardship and outreach.

The following initiatives are present on Cornell's campus:
-Over 40+ living laboratory projects take place each year across Cornell University's 10 focus areas for sustainability, utilizing campus resources for research and teaching as well as accelerating innovation through use of campus systems, data, and people
-Geothermal systems at the new graduate student Maplewood housing complex are being studied in partnership with a local initiative to promote geothermal, energy efficiency, and the use of smart meters in a long-term study of human behavior and energy efficiency returns with faculty from 3 departments, Energy & Sustainability team members, and student researchers
-Climate Focus Team of the President's Sustainable Campus Committee which facilitates the implementation of initiatives to reduce Cornell's carbon footprint. These include faculty, staff, student working groups developing recommendations for a potential internal carbon charge and offsetting business travel.
- The Environmental Collaborative (ECO) works with Climate Justice Cornell and the 40+ other student organizations focused on sustainability and climate to promote a sustainable, just future and advance policy on climate change on the university, local and national levels
- Teams of students, faculty, and staff are working on targeted priority action areas identified as part of the Climate Action Plan through Working Groups of the President's Sustainable Campus Committee.
-ALS 2000: Leadership for Sustainability is an interdisciplinary course offered every semester with students from across the Institute using residence halls as laboratories for sustainability leadership and behavioral innovation. The course is supported by the American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP), Campus Sustainability Office, Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), Cornell Outdoor Education, and Residential & New Student Programs.


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:

Faculty in the College of Human Ecology have been surveying occupants in various green buildings to understand occupant experiences of green features. These post-occupancy surveys have helped inform infrastructure improvements over time.

A class in the College of Human Ecology, DEA 6250 (Human Dimensions of Sustainable Buildings), conducted group projects focusing on Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) Policy & Stakeholder Engagement for Cornell’s Climate Action Plan. There were five groups that looked at different scopes and options for potential EBOM policies.

Students in the course Green Revolving Fund study green labs efficiency returns based on building performance, square footage, and occupancy habits.


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:

Our student-run Green Revolving Fund invests in energy conservation projects and captures energy cost savings for reinvestment. Its first sponsored project was the replacement of steam pipe insulation in Sage Hall and subsequent projects have focused on efficiency, cogeneration, EV charging stations and their relation to campus power, and other efficiency gain projects.


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:

Dining sustainability student staff in partnership with faculty and staff have been researching the food waste habits of students and designing interventions to reduce food waste. Applied Economics faculty and students as part of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab have been studying the food choices of students in the cafeterias to enhance our understanding of the psychology of food choices in cafeterias. More information is available here http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/content/smarter-lunchrooms

Undergraduate members of the Food Focus Team are examining the sustainability of Cornell's food purchases by inputting data into the Real Food Calculator.

The Dining Services team is beginning implementation of PHOOD as a living laboratory project with researchers, student learners, and staff - to reduce food waste.


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:

Cornell's Urban Horticulture Institute faculty and students study plant selection and site restoration/modification techniques to create resilient urban ecosystems. They have created more than 25 demonstration gardens on the Cornell campus over the last 15 years, including a roadside bioswale testing new breeds of plants hardy to road salt and snow cover.
http://www.hort.cornell.edu/uhi/index.html

The Cornell Grounds Department launched a Mobile Solar Charging Station this year as part of the Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) engineering program in coordination with Engineering faculty, design students, and the grounds crew. The station provides 100% renewable solar power to charge all mobile ground equipment needed for basic campus maintenance.


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:

Procurement Services engaged MBA students from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management who worked with four diverse businesses to help them boost sales with Cornell and review their business plans.
https://www.dfa.cornell.edu/news/mba-students-offer-consulting-diverse-businesses-second-year


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:

From piloting carshare and bikeshare initiatives that were developed by students, to landscape architecture students designing car-free campus concepts, Cornell has a long history of student learning and faculty research embedded in sustainable transportation operations. In 2015, Cornell's Forest Home Garage was the first-ever university parking garage to receive Green Garage certification. More information is available here http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/transportation


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:

The Cornell Waste Management Institute partnered with Farm Services in the development of Cornell's composting facility, and ongoing research and teaching collaborations on agricultural waste management and composting continue. Students hosted a Waste Weekend event to discuss issues of plastic usage, biofuels, campus policy, compost, freshmen leadership, food recovery, a campus thrift store, and more over music, food, and art displays. More information is available at http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/waste


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:

Studying the local watershed where Cornell is located has been a long time pursuit of faculty, students, and staff. The campus is host to wetland management demonstration projects and faculty and staff are currently partnering to model complex nutrient systems of nearby Cayuga Lake. More information is available here http://www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu/water


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:

Various students in the MBA program, CIPA (Cornell Institute for Public Affairs), and School for Industrial and Labor Relations have done academic projects in partnership with the Campus Sustainability Office and Planning Offices at Cornell relating to the use of metrics in performance management, carbon reduction planning, and campus master planning.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
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 Diversity & Affordability:

Prof. Kelly Musick in her Research Methods class (SOC 2130/PAM 2150) in Sociology regularly has students engage with institutional data on first generation or low income students and the Cornell experience. Each term she works with real world community or campus partners.

Prof. Troy Richardson in his Intergroup Dialogue class (EDUC 2610) has small groups of students design and carry out interventions (intergroup collaboration projects) with campus or community partners based around the theme of their dialogue sections—race, sexuality, gender, religion, ability, or socio-economic class. This course is also taught by Prof. John Forester in the same way.

Prof Anthony Burrow in his course on Racial and Ethnic Identity Development (HD 3510) and his collaborative research with Dr. Janis Whitlock studies and encourages his students both in the classroom and in the lab to examine personal development and sense of purpose in relation to engagement with diversity and making meaning from diverse encounters.


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:

Students in the Green Revolving Loan Fund class examine returns related to efficiency projects and their relative impact and relation to EOI and other financial decision making procedures.


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 Engaged Cornell initiative launched with the overarching goal to establish community engagement in teaching, learning, and research settings as a hallmark of the Cornell experience, thereby preparing our students to become citizens who will enrich not only our community but also the places throughout the world in which they choose to live and work. Engaged Cornell aims to support the work of faculty to directly integrate community engagement into the curriculum, as a strategy for learning and as a means of connecting academic exploration with those public arenas. Through its grants programs, Engaged Cornell supports the creation of new community-engaged courses, research, and internship opportunities, as well as the further development and curricular integration of current community-engaged teaching and research initiatives.
http://engaged.cornell.edu/about/


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:

Research on the benefits of flex place and time are being conducted on campus in partnership with the Office of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. This research has been used to improve Cornell's flex program.
https://www.hr.cornell.edu/life/support/flexible_arrangements.html


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:

Cornell's Leadership for Campus Sustainability class is a 3 credit service-learning course to develop leadership and peer education skills while improving campus sustainability in the residence halls. During the semester each student will serve as a Cornell EcoRep, a program leader and role model for a specific residence hall. EcoReps learn how to plan, coordinate, and implement sustainability education activities in collaboration with residence hall staff. They work with other students in and outside the class to develop competencies in persuasion, education and community based social marketing.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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