Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.81
Liaison Kathleen Crawford
Submission Date July 28, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Florida Gulf Coast University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Katie Leone
Sustainability Coordinator
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" 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:

University Colloquium (IDS 3920) and Environmental Geology (GLY 2030C) students help the Environmental Health & Safety Department compile data for FGCU's annual greenhouse gas report. Specifically, they assist with scope three emissions data and they also make recommendations as to how we can improve future iterations of our Climate Action Plan. In the process, they gain insight into our university's Carbon Climate Leadership Commitment and learn about timely current topics such as the Paris Climate Accord.

Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education students and faculty coordinate an annual Terry Tempest Willams Students Dialogue. The themes of the past two student-led dialogues have been climate change and climate action. Please see details at http://www.fgcu.edu/CESE/TTWSD.html. Students in Professor Barbara Compagnucci's Composition I (ENC 1101) course completed a photo essay and essay assignment documenting the TTWSD in 2016.


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:

Sustainability in Engineering (ENV 4612 and 4612C) students must all complete at least one campus-based project. Additionally, many students enrolled in Environmental Engineering Senior Design (ENV 4891), as well as other engineering courses, opt to explore ways in which FGCU could advance sustainability through operational innovations for their class projects. For example, students and faculty have completed conceptual designs and/or feasibility studies for the following:
- Renovating the South Village Dining hall to have a solar-powered patio,
- Building a bioreactor that would turn campus food and yard waste into energy,
- Retrofitting toilets and urinals to use reclaimed water and transition to low-flow fixtures where needed to save water,
- Increasing rainwater collection capacities at the FGCU Food Forest,
- Adding solar arrays to parking garages and lots, and
- Calculating the energy savings and stormwater management benefits associated with adding a green roof to campus buildings such as Holmes Hall.


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 along with students in Special Topics: Sustainability (EVR 4930 & EVR 4612) have assisted the Environmental Engineering Program Director, Dr. Simeon Komisar, in completing Level I Energy Audits in campus buildings along the academic spine. The work resulted in the following report which outlines suggestions for having energy efficiency while attaining cost savings on campus: http://www.fgcu.edu/EHS/Files/ESC_Energy_ReportApril2015.pdf. FGCU's Physical Plant has used this research as the basis for prioritizing lighting efficiency and thermal balancing projects on campus.


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:

Instructor Jessica Phillps has led select sections of her University Colloquium students (IDS 3920) in completing a Weigh the Waste Project in our SoVi Dining hall for the past few years. Please see details here https://fgcu360.com/2015/11/weigh-the-waste-inspires-smarter-dining/.

Colloquium have also created educational materials for the FGCU's Farmers Market which provided customers with recipes and ideas for healthy eating as well as information regarding what food at the market would meet the Real Food Challenge's criteria for sustainable foods.

A group of students in their Capstone in Community Health (HSC 4910) course worked with FGCU Dining and Environmental Health & Safety to promote the health and ecological benefits of plant-based diets in Howard Hall during the Fall 2016 semester. Howard Hall was renovated and vegan and vegetarian menu options were expanded during the summer before their project began. For their project, they disseminated a pre-campaign survey asking about food preferences and factors influencing food choices. They also observed dining patrons and reviewed sales records illustrating the popularity of meat vs. vegetarian menu items. Next, they developed and distributed educational materials showing the benefits of plant-based diets. Finally, they repeated the first step to see if and how dining hall patrons food choices had changed as a result of their educational campaign. They found that stated preference for vegetarian menu items increased and stated preference for meat-based menu items decreased as a result of their outreach campaign in their post-survey.


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:

Students in Dr. Brian Bovard's Climate Change Ecology (EVR4930) mapped campus trees with Project Bud Burst.

FGCU's Physical Plant's student worker, Sarah Perez, led service-learning students from various courses and disciplines in mapping our campus canopy with i-tree. These efforts support our Tree Campus USA initiative and allow us to quantify the amount of carbon sequestration that results from our preservation and restoration efforts.


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:

For an Honors Directed Independent Study (IDH 3910) project, student Tia Rowe analyzed food purchasing data and agricultural production data in order to make recommendations for increasing the amount of sustainability sourced foods offered on campus. As a result of her research and the support of other student leaders, FGCU integrated sustainability language into their dining contact in 2016 and signed the Real Food Campus Commitment. This contractual language and campus commitment will support sustainability in food purchasing at FGCU for years to come.


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:

Students in Jessica Mendes and Jessica Phillips Colloquium (IDS 3920) completed walking audits of our campus and downtown Fort Myers and compared the results in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. They identified areas that could be improved and will disseminate findings to the campus community in the Fall of 2017.

University Colloquium (IDS 3920) groups during Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 investigated supplementing our existing Pedal Power bike rental program with a large-scale bike share program. They worked with representatives from FGCU's Environmental Health & Safety Department, Student Government, the Office of Housing & Residence Life, the University Police Department, and Campus Recreation. They identified clear objectives and documented their research to date so that students in Fall 2017 can easily pick up where they left off.

LeeTran worked with students from Michael Salmond's Digital Media Design I (ART 2600) course to develop videos and promotional materials to promote bus ridership to both campus community members and residents in Lee County.


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:

Environmental Geology (GLY 2030C) have coordinated personal electronic waste disposal events for our campus and also assisted the Office of Housing and Residence Life in promoting, coordinating and executing the Green Eagle Move Out to divert wastes that would otherwise go to an incinerator.

Professor Jessica Mendes's Colloquium (IDS 3920) students coordinated an Electronic Waste Symposium for our campus in Spring 2017 that was attended by over 50 people.

Students in Jennifer Macbeth's Colloquium (IDS 3920) assisted with collecting data and conducting educational outreach for RecycleMania.

Students in Dr. Ashley Thomson's Solid Waste Management (ENV3451 and 4351C) courses conduct waste audits on campus in which they characterize waste streams from several dumpsters on campus by sorting them into categories and weighing them. This allows them to identify the percentage of contaminated recyclables as well as wasted items that could have been recycled. For example, from looking at the dumpsters near Holmes Hall and the Library during Fall 2015, they found that 59.4% of the waste could have been recycled. They also found that food items were the most common contaminants in recycling streams. They shared their results with our Physical Plant so that FGCU can improve existing waste outreach efforts.


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:

Dr. John Herman's General Ecology (PCB3043C) classes compile data on aquatic microinvertebrates on the FGCU campus across a disturbance gradient utilizing a disturbed aquatic ecosystem and the protected conservation areas on campus.

Numerous science courses use the Whitaker Pond and other bodies of water on campus to collect water samples for campus labs and student learning.

The Environmental Health & Safety Department worked with students from Michael Salmond's Digital Media Design I (ART 2600) course to develop public service announcements on campus stormwater management and how to maintain the health of our stormwater systems.


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:

Students from Dr. Win Everham's Conservation Strategies Future (EVR 4326) course explored the feasibility of reintroducing controlled burns to our campus and presented their research and recommendation to campus faculty, staff, and administrators on various committees that sit under the Planning & Budgeting Committee with the hope of effecting policy-level changes on campus.


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:

Unknown


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:

Students in the Student Managed Investment Fund (FIN 6930) learned about the STARS Investment Credits, Green Revolving Funds, ESG criteria, and the Billion Dollar Challenge. These students manage a small portion of FGCU's Endowment for experiential learning. They developed the following webpage: http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/tljones/smif.html


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:

During the 2015-16 school year, Public Administration faculty and students collaborated with Civil Engineering and Social Work faculty and students to conduct an infrastructure assessment requested and funded by the Village of Estero. The project resulted in a report that recommended completing gaps in the biking and pedestrian facility network, options for safe multi-modal design, and decreased heat islands through the enhanced use of landscaping and vegetative cover.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Public Administration faculty received a grant to develop a vision for redeveloping Bonita Beach Road. These FGCU faculty also worked with the City of Bonita Springs to update their Comprehensive Plan to include a multi-modal future for Bonita Beach Road and other corridors of the city.

Recommendations from these reports were adopted and implemented by city council people and have supported the adoption of sustainable land use policies in southwest Florida.

During the Spring 2017 semester, Dr. Nora Demers organized a service-learning project to raise awareness about the importance of gopher tortoises. Gopher tortoises are an endangered, endemic species native to southwest Florida. Her students sought resolutions from nearby municipalities in honor of Florida’s Gopher Tortoise Awareness Day. 5 out of the 12 municipalities in SWFL resolved to participate in Gopher Tortoise Awareness Day. Students argued on behalf of the tortoises to show the importance they provide ecosystems and other organisms. Lee County, the Village of Estero, and the City of Punta Gorda read the proclamation at their respective commission meetings and the students had the privilege to accept and thank those communities for acknowledging the importance of the gopher tortoises. Please see the following link for more info on Gopher Tortoise Day: http://gophertortoisedayfl.com/.


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

Unknown


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:

Mary Voytek's Environmental Art (ART 3840)students put on a "Runway Earth: Fashions for a Sustainable Planet" show each spring for Eagle's Earth Day. The show features clothes made from recyclable, natural or industrial materials. The students write an educational script that the emcee reads for the audience as the students model their fashion.

Professor Tricia Fay's ceramic students turn hazardous glaze wastes into inert stepping stones that are used in the Food Forest and other areas on campus. In Spring 2017, they designed a series of stepping stones the Earth Charter. These were displayed at the Eagle's Earth Day celebration and then installed in Mulberry Hill.

Visiting Artist & Resident Michael Massaro worked with art classes to collect and use natural materials in 2016. Please see the following website for details: http://artgallery.fgcu.edu/Michael_Massaro__The_Vanishing.html


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

Over the past three-years, there have been so many instances of students and faculty using our campus as a living learning laboratory, that it is difficult to track. This is something to be proud of but means that not all projects that deserve being recognized in this credit are listed in this report. The Environmental Health & Safety department tasked with completing FGCU's STARS report has written descriptions of projects that they are aware of and hope to continually build better infrastructures for collecting this important information.

Dr. Brian Bovard and Dr. Win Everham delivered a presentation titled "Cross-curricular integration of the Florida Gulf Coast University campus as a living laboratory”
at the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program's Watershed Summit in April 2017. They worked with approximately 30 faculty and staff to collect photos and examples of how we use our campus as a living learning lab. The PowerPoint that resulted from this work is attached as additional documentation to support this 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.