Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.05
Liaison Yumiko Jakobcic
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Grand Valley State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Yumiko Jakobcic
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Practices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student in NRM 320 "Resource Systems" modeled global climate change for their final project. Additionally, we have a student representative on our Climate Action Committee.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students help maintain the composting programs in dining facilities and residence halls, and the Office of Sustainability Practices offers a "Green Campus Tour" which highlights sustainable efforts on campus.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student developed and maintains an easy-to-use system that allows students to view what food is available at the different locations around campus as well as display the nutritional information in order to promote healthy choices. This system includes a website where each food service location (Connection, Fresh, etc.) can enter what food is available on a given day. This is tied to an Android app that students may use to filter foods by location, name, or nutritional information (fat, calories, carbohydrates, protein). The system is a proof of concept that is designed to show how web apps can help students eat better.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student completed a project on what can be done with the lithium-ion batteries that power vehicles at the end of their vehicle application life through remanufacturing for return to a vehicle application, repurposing through transformation for use in stationary storage applications or through disassembly into component materials for recycling. This project is funded by the US Department of Transportation via the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and A123 Batteries and is being done in partnership with Sybesma’s Electronics of Holland, MI.

The Lake Michigan Wind Assessment project collects data about wind speed and direction at six heights up to 175m using a Laser Wind Sensor (LWS) mounted on a floating buoy in Lake Michigan to help assess the wind energy potential over the lake. It is funded by the United States Department of Energy; the Michigan Public Service Commission; WE Energies of Wisconsin; Grand Valley State University and the Sierra Club.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Numerous classes use the ravines as a living laboratory. One student developed a field guide for the ravines on campus. As members of the Grand Valley State University community, we have a bountiful resource at our disposal in the ravines of the Allendale campus that is being under-utilized. This project was designed to cover many aspects of nature relating to the ravines, and result in a finished product consisting of an easy-to-use field guide that is readily accessible to GVSU students and staff. The book includes sections on the common deciduous trees of the ravines, edible plants, wildlife, bushcraft, and the trail system on campus. The edible plants section includes not only identifying information for some of the abundant wild edibles to be found, but also information for their preparation and consumption. Both the sections on trees and on wildlife include information for identification as well as fun facts, and the bushcraft section includes a wealth of information about how to survive in the wilderness. The trail map section consists of aerial photos displaying the GPS-mapped trails.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Procurement Services provided an internship to GVSU Business majors to help launch the university Surplus Store, and student workers assist with the store.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students have created a viable business plan for a profit-driven bike shop that rents, sells and services bicycles for students. Additionally, we have students working to repair bikes that have been abandoned or damaged on campus.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student completed a project called Recycled Paper: More than Meets the Eye. Every year, 45 million tons of paper is recycled in the United States. This research provides an insight into the afterlife of that recycled paper, and the possibilities that abound when you treat that waste as a resource; a resource that is able to produce materials and compounds essential for life in the 21st century. Additionally, the Green Team student organization assists with Zero Waste events.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student completed a research project on Rapid Macroinvertabrate Colonization in a Chronosequence of Constructed Stormwater Retention Wetlands. Constructing wetlands is a vital tool for increasing the number & extent of wetlands in the U.S., but their ecological effectiveness is variable. Our objective was to evaluate wetlands constructed in 2009 & 2011 to reduce erosion from stormwater runoff & compare them to wetlands constructed in mid- 1980. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled throughout May 2012, following rapid bioassessment protocols used by the State of Michigan, while water chemistry parameters were measured bi-weekly throughout the summer. The macroinvertebrate Family richness & diversity were significantly different.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Students performed a statewide study of nonprofit professional development conducted in partnership between the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and the School of Public Nonprofit and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University. Undergraduate Mawby Fellows will present data about a survey that was administered to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations in the state of Michigan. The results of the survey will influence programming offered by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and has the potential to further the work of many philanthropic organizations interested in building nonprofit capacity and supporting nonprofit sustainability.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student did a research project focusing on the content of the It Gets Better Project and examines the limitations of social media for outreach and diversity. Through audio and visual content analysis, the study explores Oral Presentations 103 themes and messages of the It Gets Better Project to develop an empirical understanding of who is contributing and what messages and experience are shared. Preliminary research indicates that predominantly white, educated, 18-40 year olds contributed heavily to the It Gets Better Project. In addition, the study examines why such themes as bullying, coming out, and religion are relevant to the It Gets Better Project, and analyzes the limitations of social media activism. The methodology for this project is audio and visual content analysis of 250 It Gets Better Project on YouTube focusing on demographic and thematic elements of the videos. This project is significant because it highlights strengths of the It Gets Better Project as well as providing greater discourse for LGBTQ studies.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A student completed a project about the unhealthy diet of Americans and how it has led to an increase in number of chronic illnesses and obesity. These poor dietary patterns usually originate from early-developed eating habits of young and newly independent adults. In this literature review the health status and eating habits of college students will be discussed, along with the social factors promoting these behaviors; such as location of living, previous parental guidance with nutrition, and meal preparation. Misinformation appears to have the largest impact on the nutrition status of the college student, suggesting that a stronger emphasis on nutritional education and constant and/or direct exposure to nutrition information should be implemented on campus in order to promote healthier eating habits. This review also provides an analysis of successful collegiate nutrition education programs and suggests approaches to improve the delivery of accurate nutrition information to Grand Valley State University students.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Office of Sustainability Practices oversees a student team from various disciplines that research and help develop applied sustainability practices for the City of Grand Rapids. Our program, Fair Housing 49507, is exemplary in that it has involved students from history, geography and planning, sociology, economics and public administration in multi-semester efforts to gather baseline data on multiple factors in a targeted neighborhood, as well as propose best practices for a $1.42 million investment.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:

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.