Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.21
Liaison Jeremy King
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2022

STARS v2.2

Denison University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jeremy King
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of the President
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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:

The Denison Homestead and the Denison Biological Reserve are two key assets of campus that are often used for research and projects that promote campus engagement around sustainability.

Students living at the Homestead (12 per semester) are required to take the Homestead Seminar where they must complete a community engagement project.

The learning goals: All information shared and gained through the semester, from guests and homesteaders’ own research, serves to increase homesteaders’ and the community's knowledge of the Homestead itself and homesteading principles in general. Projects around Homestead are visible reminders of each current homesteaders’ place in Homestead history.

Expected outcomes: Implementation phase of project concludes. An encapsulation of the project, including process, research methods, discoveries/conclusions, successes/opportunities and evidence of the completion of the project itself, is presented to audience that includes homesteaders, HAB and special guests. A visual presentation to “share” with participants is very helpful. Projects should be saved in a shareable/archiveable format such as PDF, Powerpoint or Google Drive.

Recent projects have included: evaluation of core energy systems at the Homestead; enhancing the Homestead archives in the Denison Library, permaculture analysis of the Homestead grounds

Denison's Biological Reserve

The purpose of the Reserve is to enhance the education of students in Biology and the Environmental Sciences through their courses, independent research and casual visitation to the Reserve. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for field studies of native Ohio flora and fauna as well as discrete biological communities that are maintained in as intact a condition as is possible given the land use history of the Reserve and the resources of DU. Consequently, one of the general goals of the Reserve is to maximize the number of representative habitats and species that the area can support.

The Reserve also provides a haven for members of the Denison and Granville communities who enjoy walking in natural surroundings. The Reserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk every day. A well-marked trail system has been established that allows the visitor to explore a variety of habitats and terrain. Hunting, firearms, campfires, camping, horseback riding and disturbance of natural features are prohibited. Trail bikes are permitted on certain trails during the summer and fall.

Students taking Introduction to the Science of Biology, and Animal Behavior frequently meet their labs at the Bio Reserve to conduct field experiments. Other courses, such as Plant Ecology and Entomology, have used the Reserve as a base of operations for the entire semester. Students in Environmental Studies and Geology also utilize the Reserve as a resource to learn about field techniques and land management.

The Bio Reserve also serves as a site for student research projects during summers as well as the school year. Since 1992, over 15 undergraduate research projects have been conducted at the Reserve with 13 resulting in honors theses and 7 in presentations at national meetings. In 1996, six Biology and Environmental Studies majors comprised the first Biodiversity Assessment Team (BAT) and began the first of several inventories and long-term studies of biodiversity at the Bio Reserve. In subsequent years, numerous students and their faculty advisors have continued to study and document the biodiversity of the Reserve as well as other parks and preserves nearby. Currently, species lists are available for the trees, amphibians, birds, butterflies and dragonflies of the Bio Reserve and long-term monitoring programs have been established for frogs, butterflies and dragonflies.


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:

Denison's mission is to inspire and educate our students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents and active citizens of a democratic society. Through an emphasis on active learning, we engage students in the liberal arts, which fosters self-determination and demonstrates the transformative power of education. We envision our students' lives as based upon rational choice, a firm belief in human dignity and compassion unlimited by cultural, racial, sexual, religious or economic barriers, and directed toward an engagement with the central issues of our time.

To this end, many of our courses and associated research opportunities encourage students to explore issues of public engagement on our campus and beyond.

Recent projects include: A study of the Village of Granville's zoning code and how it could be made to be more conducive to green and sustainable development; an evaluation of a former industrial brownfield site in Newark, Ohio for green redevelopment.


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:

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to air quality and climate change. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on climate related issues on campus.

Students in a senior level Math class did a team class project building out remote metering. A result of their work included a number of outreach components that help spread awareness of both Denison's climate commitment and our efforts to date regarding our carbon footprint.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often work with students to study certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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:

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to buildings and efficiency. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on building related issues on campus.

Recent student academic projects include: analysis of dishwashers for senior apartments in an effort to save water; evaluation of LEED buildings and energy performance as compared to non-LEED buildings; green roof analysis for campus.

Denison also has the Denison Homestead which is a living-learning laboratory for students that utilizes a number of sustainable building techniques. The work at the Homestead has allowed students and the campus as a whole to experience sustainability building and its value.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often advise students who are studying certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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:

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to energy and energy efficiency. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on energy related issues on campus.

Recent student projects include: evaluation of student perceptions of solar arrays on campus, a peer-to-peer analysis of Denison energy footprint and efficiency measures by using STARS data.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often advise students who are studying certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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:

Bon Appetit works with students and faculty who study food related issues on campus. Recent student projects have included: analyzing local food procurement; evaluating the reusable to-go container program (Greenies); assessing student attitudes toward meat consumption and ghg emissions.

All of these projects reinforce the Denison's efforts to adopt locally-sourced and sustainable food choices for its dining locations and help to reinforce the importance of these options among our student body.


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 in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to grounds. Specifically, students in our ENVS, Biology and Geosciences programs are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on their in our 350-acre biological reserve.

Denison has both an on campus arboretum and multiple "no-mow" or "grow" zones on campus that are also used by students and faculty alike for educational purposes. Recently we've converted some of the grow-zones into wildflower pollinator plantings. Taken together, these projects have helped reinforce the value of natural areas on our main campus.

Students in a studio art sculpture class combined with students in an Ecology class continue to create bee hotels on campus. Bee populations are then studied with respect to the use of the hotels.

One bio faculty uses the on-campus arboretum as part of his class instruction. Another bio faculty member uses the wildflower pollinator habitat to do an insect inventory.


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:
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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:

Over the last three years students have engaged in transportation related studies. One student did an analysis of EV Charging stations on campus and whether there is a need and interest to make them more available for students. Two students worked on an analysis of safe bike storage on campus and whether additional secure storage would increase bike usage.

Our ECON 427 (Environmental Economics Class) recently did a class project analyzing the cost-benefits of moving Denison's fleet to EVs.


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:

Many in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to waste and recycling. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on waste and recycling related issues on campus.

Recent projects include: An analysis of Denison's senior apartment composting program; evaluation of cardboard recycling on campus; and an assessment of student attitudes toward recycling

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often employ students to study certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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:

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to water and water quality. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on water related issues on campus.

One recent project was taken on by senior students in an advanced computer science course who developed a remote water meter reader and software solution for Denison to be able to track its water use building by building with real-time data.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often employ students to study certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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:

Denison has a system of shared governance. Our student government is one such example of this.

In addition students serve on nearly all campus governance committees including the Campus Sustainability Committee. This committee is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating the campus sustainability plan.

Students also lead the campus Dining Committee which oversees the College's dining provider and pushes for more sustainable operations.


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

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

Denison has gone through great effort over the last 20 years to increase diversity on campus both among its students and its faculty. Diversity is at the core of who we are as a community and many of our courses and associated research opportunities encourage students to explore issues of diversity and affordability on campus and beyond.

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs provides opportunities for many of our students to work on and study issues of diversity and affordability as well.


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:

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to air quality and climate change. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on investment related issues on campus. In addition, many students in our Economics Department choose to study sustainable investment and the college's investment strategy.

The College has an investment club overseen by one of its Investment Officers. This club runs two funds and does ESG evaluations and green investing analysis as part of the learning/managing process: https://denison.edu/academics/economics/feature/12177


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

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

Students in multiple degree programs conduct individual and/or course-related research related to air quality and climate change. Specifically, students in our ENVS program are required to do senior research/projects and many focus on climate related issues on campus.

In addition, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services often employ students to study certain aspects related to this topic on campus.


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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