Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.54
Liaison Kevin Miller
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

Goshen College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Caleb Longenecker Fox
Institutional Advancement
Development
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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?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
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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 Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

Merry Lea K-12 Programs: Each year over 5,000 students between the ages of preschool and 12th grade participate in environmental education programs at Merry Lea. We design our programs to fit school curricula as well as state science standards.
Our education team facilitates experiences in the outdoor world which inspire exploration, foster a sense of wonder, and share joy with children of all ages. We provide information about ecosystems and natural processes of northeastern Indiana, provoke interest in life-long investigation, and encourage stewardship

Kinderforest: About once a month, students from the Goshen College Laboratory Kindergarten class — a partnership between the college’s education department and Goshen Community Schools — spend the day climbing trees, building shelters and making mud pies in Witmer Woods.Kinderforest is an educational model that prioritizes free play and nature. Instead of spending the day inside, children are allowed to explore the outdoors and observe what is around them. The idea of the program is largely based on immersing children in nature in hopes of forging a love for the environment, and developing in physical, social, emotional and cognitive aspects.

Campus recycling bins are made available to the surrounding public for use.


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:

In 2018, the Environmental economics class completed a project evaluating local carbon offset opportunities for Goshen College in an attempt to estimate the costs of becoming completely carbon neutral.

Each year, classes within the Sustainability and Biology departments do maintenance work on the native prairies in attempts to create healthier ecosystems. The prairie ecosystems serve to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Students from the tree committee, as well as students working with the Goshen College Physical Plant, help to plant more trees throughout the campus in order to increase tree cover and sequester carbon.


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:

Rieth Village is an ecological field station for undergraduate programs. Two cottages provide housing for up to 32 students, and a third cottage serves as the initial classroom and office building, allowing students to gain knowledge about carbon neutral buildings. Rieth Village has been designed and constructed with a strong commitment to sustainability and has been awarded the platinum LEED certification.


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 can spend the summer interning with the Goshen College Physical Plant surveying buildings, providing research on occupancy sensors, coordinating with lighting projects, and developing installations packages that resulted in measurable energy savings. This work has helped Goshen College to reduce energy use and emissions even while the total square feet of buildings and facilities is growing.


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:

Java Junction is a student-managed coffee bar on the campus of Goshen College. All employees are students and the managers are selected by the business department through an application process. Managers enroll in BUS 360, Java Junction Management, and receive academic credit for managing all aspects of the business; operations, human resources, marketing, purchasing, and accounting. Students are supervised by a business department faculty member and receive a grade for their work based on the the success of the business as well as their own individual contributions to the management team. Java Junction provides an atmosphere that allows students, faculty, staff, and the Goshen community to enjoy quality food and beverages, live music, and fellowship. It also has successfully integrated sustainability practices within the program, such as recycling and eco-friendly materials.

Westlawn Dining Hall celebrates Pollinator Day where sustainably sourced food is served and dandelions that student volunteers collect are featured in the meals. Students collect dandelions the day before from campus lawns.

Student volunteers manage the food waste composting program in coordination with dining hall staff and facilities. This program, described more fully below under the section on Waste, was started by students, has been running for 9 years now.


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 came up with a proposal several years ago to convert some land on the campus to restorative prairies, in an effort to both save money and increase the ecological benefits. This was proposed to the Sustainability Committee who approved the proposal and then implemented the plan. Current Environmental Economics students will now be looking into this again to check whether the original cost-benefit analysis was correct. These native landscapes are literally a laboratory for several environmental science courses. Annual prairie burns provide students, especially those participating in the Ecology and Evolution class, with the opportunity to learn about the mechanics of prairie burns and participate in maintaining a healthy prairie ecosystem.


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:

The 2018 Environmental Economics class created a Python script that would calculate the distance that commuter students and faculty had to drive each day in an effort to calculate carbon emissions from transportation. Additionally, they conducted research on the various travel opportunities provided by the college, including plane travel emissions for the required Study Service Term. This research was used to assess the total carbon emissions of Goshen College.


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:

For six years, the Composting Commandos have been maintaining a food composting system that takes food waste from the dining hall and composts it on site. This project has provided an opportunity to conduct research and make formal presentations to the US Composting Council.

http://blog.goshen.edu/gogreen/2013/03/05/student-run-composting-program-simply-turns-waste-to-food-%E2%80%98nothing-else-like-it%E2%80%99/


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:

In the summer of 2019, student Physical Plant workers and student volunteers helped to plant a rain garden outside of our newly renovated union building. They used native plants and grasses that help absorb and filter rainwater. Volunteer student were also active in planning and designing the space.

Wetlands at Merry Lea are undergoing intensive restoration by a combination of faculty, staff, and students. There are currently summer positions available for students to help participate in this restoration as paid work. The wetlands are also used as a way to introduce students to aquatic systems.


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:

The Student Senate on campus is very involved in bringing about change on campus through its direct line to the President's Cabinet. They have recently included a position within the senate that is reserved for a student representing sustainability concerns. This person is able to bring up sustainability-related issues as needed.

Student involvement on the Sustainability Committee has also been a positive influence on coordination, planning and governance. Five students currently sit on the Sustainability Committee and are actively involved in planning sustainability themed events as well as promoting sustainable initiatives to campus administration.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

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

We recently revised our general education curriculum to start with a focus on identity, culture and communication and built that thread all the way through our general education. We encourage faculty development of teaching for multiple learners through ongoing trainings. Maple Scholars projects (student summer research) have focused on diversity and we have faculty fellows around diversity topics. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is set aside as an academic study day each year, with a focus on learning about diversity, reconciliation, peace and justice. Our Study Service Term (SST) program is a required study-abroad semester that is mixed in with voluntary work, giving students the opportunity to experience diversity first-hand.

This is the second year where Goshen College has had a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task-force made up of students and faculty.


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:

The Environmental Economics class researched the estimated sum of monetary and social costs associated with carbon emissions at Goshen College. This research was used to estimate the cost needed to onset Goshen College’s current emissions and work towards carbon neutrality. The student’s research was then presented this research to the college administrators in order to find funds for the onset of carbon emissions.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

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

http://www.goshen.edu/news/2013/08/14/trackside-community-garden-fosters-rich-connections-between-people-and-earth/

Trackside Community Garden was funded by in part by the class gift from the 2013 graduating class.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Using the campus as a living/learning laboratory is a highly desirable outcome and likely to become more prevalent in the years to come.

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.