Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.59
Liaison Chris Adam
Submission Date Sept. 7, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Dawson College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Chris Adam
Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" 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 heat island effect is being studied through tree coverage percentages of the landscape. Forty percent coverage is being planned to mitigate urban heat generation on paved areas. Geography, English, Biology and Physical education classes are involved in up-keeping and learning from the various gardens on campus.
Our Sustainable Campuses project with several Mexican University partners result in engineering students and education students studying at Dawson and completing research projects and thesis papers. Three thesis studies were completed on Dawson's carbon footprint and rainwater management, including an analysis of the vegetation on the grounds and its capacity to sequester carbon. Another project produced historical weather data to act as a baseline of such things as snowfall and rainfall. This data is a baseline for further studies. Another thesis on waste at Dawson reviewed the GHG emissions produced and mitigation strategies.
Mexican university education students studied Living Campus activities like rooftop gardening, the monarch butterfly nursery or the honey bees and identity pedagogical possibilities for these activities.


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:

During Living Campus tours, students and staff see the computerized air quality and flow system for each location within the building and how it monitors air quality and distribution. Water and electrical centers within the college are also visited. Interior Design and Industrial Design students visit the interior of the building and design sustainable solutions to real challenges. Mechanical Engineering and Electronic Technology have designed a compost shredder and an off-grid, solar-powered radio station respectively.


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:

Engineering students from visiting universities have completed two thesis studies specifically on Dawson College energy use and its related carbon emissions, identifying strategies to reduce GHGs. Electronic Engineering students worked on bike-powered displays that increased awareness of energy generation and people-generated power for short energy needs. This was a collaborative project with Mechanical Engineering students.


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:

One teacher is leading a team of researchers that developed a food map of the entire city of Montreal showing, markets, stores, school gardens, community gardens and biological products in every neighborhood. Over 10 local partner organizations are involved.
Classes also participate in the maintenance of the rooftop vegetable gardens and have workshops on sustainable food production.
Workshops are given several times a year on the breeding of mealworms for food and cricket flour for baking. These workshops are part of Earth Week programming, daycare Nature awareness programs and to groups specifically requesting workshops through the Sustainability Office.
Honey extraction workshops are given every year using our rooftop hives. Workshops on the hydroponic growing of our indoor herbs is also used as an educational opportunity.


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:

Multiple studies and projects involving hundreds of students are implemented each semester on the campus grounds. They involve largely the nine biodiversity zones that have been developed on the urban landscape or rooftops. They include:
Standing and forest floor nurse logs that creates a decomposition zone
A small freshwater pond on the gym roof
Small meadow areas on the rooftop and monarch breeding areas on the grounds
A regeneration area where grass is not cut for periods of five years to demonstrate succession
Three sisters garden to demonstrate First People's growing methods
Several honey bee hives on the green roof
A forest floor and meadow demonstration site within a parking lot
Outdoor raised compost tumblers (Spring and Summer)
Ecological Peace Garden with thousands off plants
Student studies and projects:
Mason bee habitat construction - students from many programs
Insect resort construction on gym roof - students and staff from social science and science disciplines as well as international university students working specifically on sustainably thesis work.
Photography students documenting biodiversity and working with biology students
First Peoples' class, nursing students, civil technology students, and Recreation/Leadership students all working together on a habitat restoration project (importance of outdoor classes, measuring weight load issues on roof, review of native plants and appropriate planting methods, 2nd language acquisition through Living Campus work). This activity was coordinated by the Sustainability Office and the Peace Centre
Biology - Insect predator study on grounds and Peace Garden
Biology - Bird feeder activity in Peace Garden vs proximity to parking areas
Insect biodiversity labs - Biology program
Fine arts students working on "capturing" biodiversity on campus
Methodology classes - inventories of insect attraction to specific flowers - data analysis with 3 variables
Civil Technology students surveying location and height of snow removed from parking lot
Physical Education classes using various paths and stone landscaping to practice ethical outdoor hiking techniques.


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:

Examples: Business class students review purchased items and then develop alternative packaging examples. Social science students choose a cafeteria item and produce a map of its ecological footprint to build awareness of associated GHGs. Methodology students developed data collection methods demonstrating which purchased outdoor plants attracted the most insects. This was considered in subsequent purchases. Industrial Design students showcasing sustainable design in products at end-of-year event open to all Dawson staff. Student action-research projects on paper use at the college gave valuable information that was used in PR campaigns to raise awareness of the need to reduce or review more sustainable paper products.
The Sustainability Office purchased dishes, glassware and flatware and lends them out at no cost to the Dawson community for their events, therefore increasing our zero-waste events by not using disposable items.
Students and staff surveyed the number of disposable cups entering the college. We determined that an average of 250,000 cups/year were going to landfill. This brought about an action research project to purchase used mugs in the cafeteria allowing a large reduction in disposable cups being used in the college.


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:

Two yearly surveys of student and staff transportation, to and from the college, supply information to students to further review opportunities for offsetting. Computer science students use this information to develop potential APPs so individuals can use their data to estimate their footprint and have opportunities to offset the GHGs they produce. App presentations were given to the Sustainability Office employees. The Sustainability Office worked with the transport commission of Montreal to analyze the commuting footprint of our entire student population based on postal code data and bus/subway use.


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:

Waste audits have been implemented for the previous 8-10 years by students and staff within the following: Community Recreation & Leadership Training program, Green Earth Club and Sustainable Dawson volunteers. Data is presented to the community and shared with the Sustainability Office. These audits involve recycling, compost and waste containers. This information is used as data within the college waste management guidelines. Multiple events showcase the waste data as Dawson tried to reduce its waste to landfill by 40% in two years (2018-2020).


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:

A university engineering student has completed a rainwater management thesis on Dawson's property and we are using this information to create a raised wetland to capture the water from the rooftop of on wing of the campus. This wetland will become another biodiversity zone with physical education, biology and geography students building and monitoring the project. Internal water distribution centers and monitoring techniques in pipes are demonstrated during Living Campus tours to staff and students. These tours are implemented throughout the year.


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:

The sustainability office has regular meetings with colleges from the provincial network specifically on the governance and structure of the present Sustainability Office. During the last 12 months the Sustainability Office or Dawson's Office of Academic Development have given internal and external workshops on Living Campus and how it is connected to the College mission, strategic plan and sustainability objectives. This , in turn, is then related to the Living Campus concept as a platform to integrate high-impact practices and the UN Sustainability Goals. Dawson is one of 9 colleges or universities chosen to lead a 2 year Pan Canadian project on integrating the SDGs.


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:

Dawson has a centre that researches and disseminates information about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and has courses and pathways to facilitate integration into the College. Many workshops are given both internally and externally as part of the mandate of the centre and research is published in journals.
UDL awareness building is on-going at Dawson as we explore culturally responsive teaching. Link: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/course-design-ideas/culturally-responsive-teaching-and-udl/


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:

A cross section of College staff on our sustainability advisory committee reviewed socially responsible investing and contributed to positive and negative investing criteria. This formed the basis of the screening process and Dawson will now invest 60-100% of its foundation funds in socially responsible investments. The Foundations responsible investment committee has student representation to ensure student input at the decision-making (voting) level.


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 Sustainability Office is involved in webinars, conferences, working groups and research in: Creativity (PhD candidate - research at McGill University); the importance of integrating positive psychology concepts into sustainability activities (workshops, seminars, the importance of conversations in climate action, how to best integrate the UN SDGs (CICan pan-Canadian working group), biophilic design (Univ. de Mtl. master's thesis) - presentations to church groups, daycare facilities, NGOs, elementary schools, & clubs.


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:

Dawson has partnered extensively with Dr. Catherine O'Brien to create a Sustainable Happiness certificate for staff and students. Chris Adam, director of the Sustainability Office has published with Dr. O'Brien on the concept of Living Campuses and what they need to do to link relationship building, sense of community and connection to Nature as a path to happiness.
Work on a Sustainable Campuses project with Mexican partners also analyzed whether altruism was increased in the process (chapter 18) link: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/course-design-ideas/culturally-responsive-teaching-and-udl/
The chair of psychology is reviewing how to integrate Sustainable Happiness into the department and targeted 4 psychology classes. Sustainability projects at Dawson will be reviewed and their development and/or success analyzed through psychology theory.
The Quality and Assurance and Planning Office implemented a staff engagement and satisfaction survey years after well-being for all was part of the strategic plan. This information was discussed by the directors group and the HR director.
Methodology students researched "what is happiness" by interviewing students. This information was passed onto the Sustainability Office.
Human Resources supported the training of 5 staff in a 6 month Sustainable Happiness Facilitator Training course and is permitting these trained employees and their future certificate participants to use work time for implementation (with managerial permission). All participants develop a pay-it-forward project that links the sustainable happiness concept to action at the college.


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:

$1M was just invested in AI and staff and students are reviewing ways that AI can improve the student experience and specifically on the ethics of AI use. Experts from the AI field in research, ethics and business advise the College on its endeavors.


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

Three books have been published in three years that outline Dawson's work in the sustainability field or that has been supported by Dawson (Well-being for All, Living Campus, Sustainable Campuses). Dawson mentioned numerous times in recently published book:
1. Arar, Sembrar y Cosechar: planteles educativos sustentables, by Dr. Gisela Frias & Luisa Montes: https://www.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/sustainable/events/publications/arar-sembrar-y-cosechar-planteles-educativos-sustentables/
2. Sustainable Happiness & Well-Being, by Dr. Catherine O'Brien: https://books.google.ca/books/about/Education_for_Sustainable_Happiness_and.html?id=_1X7CwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
3. Living Schools: Transforming Education, Chapter 14 on Dawson's Living Campus:
https://www.eswb-press.org/uploads/1/2/8/9/12899389/living_schools__2020_.pdf

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