Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 37.54
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Dec. 17, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Indiana University South Bend
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.80 / 4.00 Krista Bailey
Director: Center for a Sustainable Future
Sustainability Studies
"---" 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:

A student research project called “Tree Distribution on Indiana University South Bend December 2016” was done with the aid of two professors Dr. Schnabel, and Dr. Marr in (2016). This project included a survey of all the trees on campus and an analysis of the ecosystem services provided. The main goals of this project was to develop a complete tree inventory for the IU South Bend campus that included tree diversity, number of trees, estimate of tree size, and then use the data to estimate the ecosystem services provided by trees on the IU South Bend campus. I-Tree software developed by US Forest Service was used to calculate the ecosystem service benefits the trees provide to the campus. The Tree Project resulted in a white paper that was turned in as a final project.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NsM48PZI1S07cAW-Io8PGxaL1VVuCAiC/view?usp=sharing


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

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

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:

A student led project to remove Styrofoam from the Indiana University South Bend campus began as a class project and moved into a petition drive. Students explored options and gained buy in from the Student Government Association (SGA), administration, students, and Sustainability Club resulting in our Dining services replacing Styrofoam containers with a reusable and recyclable option in the Fall 2020 semester. Through this project, students learned that Styrofoam is not recyclable, is harmful to animals, releases chemicals when burned, and takes a large amount of space in landfills. Students also learned that there are sustainable alternatives to Styrofoam such as compostable containers, and reusable and recyclable containers. In addition, students learned that they are able to help move our campus towards a more sustainable future through their projects that utilize our campus as a living laboratory.


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:

There are two campus wetland restoration projects led by faculty in the Department of Biology that include students working as restoration interns, on research projects, and are used to support courses in Biology, Education, History, Sustainability, and the Arts. The campus wetlands help filter runoff from student housing parking lots and surrounding roads before entering the St. Joseph River that runs through campus. The research projects include documenting pollinator diversity, tracking reproductive success in plants, and effects of degraded soils on growth and survival of native plants. We have also done research projects comparing diversity and abundance of arthropods and birds in parking lot islands with and without native plants. Examples of publications and presentations on these projects are listed below.

Publications
Boger AM, Marr DL (2018) Effect of Native and Non-Native Plantings in Urban Parking Lot Islands on Diversity and Abundance of Birds, Arthropods, and Flower Visitors. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences, 127: 115-123.

Presentations (Star * indicates presenter at conference)

Mitchell D*, Jones J, Schnabel A, Marr D (2019) Pollinator diversity and abundance in neighboring urban wetlands. 134th Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Sciences. Indianapolis, IN.

Jones J*, Mitchell D, Marr D, Schnabel A (2018) Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Native Plant Growth and Survival. Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence (LSMRC) conference, Indianapolis, IN.

Doucette M*, Marr D (2017) Effect of Galerucella beetles on controlling Lythum salicaria in a newly established wetland. 132nd Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Sciences. Indianapolis, IN.

Tabner S*, Marr D, Schnabel A (2017) Urban pollinator diversity and pollinator movement between wetlands on the IU South Bend campus. 132nd Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Sciences. Indianapolis, IN.


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

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

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:

Two waste reduction projects led by students working at the Center for a sustainable Future have offered ways for individuals and offices to participate in waste reduction initiatives. One collects plastic bottle lids, communicated as a “Tops Off” program. Another encourages dining services and offices to collect food scraps and deposit them in the campus compost tumblers.
The “Tops Off” project began as a fun way to reduce the number of plastic lids going to the landfill. The goal is to raise awareness of the high amount of plastic waste in the form of plastic lids on Indiana University South Bend campus and create a campus culture aimed at reducing plastic waste. Lids are donated to a local county fair who has them turned into benches for the fairgrounds. The “Tops Off” project utilizes the Indiana University South Bend campus as a living laboratory relating to plastic waste to educate students and staff about the amount of plastic lid waste that is produced on campus, which plastic lids are recyclable, and how plastic lid waste can be recycled into benches that benefit other organizations, and diverted from landfills. The pilot for the Tops Off project was so successful that it has become a permanent program.
The Campus Food Scrap Composting project utilizes campus as a living laboratory relating to waste in the form of food waste. The project educates students and staff about the amount of campus food in the form of weight that can be diverted from landfills through composting. In addition, students and staff learn the process of composting and the benefits that are gained by utilizing composted materials in campus garden.


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:

The St. Joseph River runs through campus. In Biology L101 (Introductory biology course for majors) students isolated E. coli from the river and tested the colonies for multi-drug resistance to antibiotics. In non-majors Biology courses and upper-level Biology courses students regularly test nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous), turbidity, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, and E. coli levels to assess water quality over the short term. In Biology L474 - Ecology lab, students have been tracking fish diversity and abundance for over 10 years as a longer term measure of water quality using the Index of Biological Integrity. This latter project is done in partnership with a fisheries biologist at the City of Elkhart, Indiana’s Public Works Office. These data contribute to the monitoring of water quality in the St. Joseph River watershed.

Examples of presentations at conferences on these projects:
Glasper A*, Medrano P, Owens A, Marr D, Schnabel A (2019) Effects of antidepressant drugs on aquatic plants and Levels of antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from nectar. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Anaheim, CA

Swanson S*, Deegan D, Schnabel A (2019) Investigation of community structure in the St. Joseph River: connecting plant diversity with macroinvertebrate and fish diversity. 134th Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Sciences. Indianapolis, IN.


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:

After students in a Sustainable Urban Agriculture class made proposals to university landscape architects, plans were piloted to develop an area of campus into a sustainability living laboratory for campus and community learning and engagement. A concept map has been designed for developing a showcase for sustainability on the campus that includes 10 city lots to fill with programming, plantings, art, and more. The result will inspire, educate and allow everyone to explore current and real world sustainability possibilities.

https://www.iusb.edu/csfuture/news/Sustainability%20Showcase.php


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:
---

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

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
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 Public Engagement:
---

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:
---

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:

The Sustainability Showcase described above has been used as a research and project proposal space by students in the Sustainability Studies practicum course. For two years, 2017 & 2018, the project was done collaboratively with engineering students at Purdue Polytechnic. Projects included Greenhouse design and development, Alternative Transportation, Renewable Energy, and watch catchment systems.

A combination of two Practicum courses, SUST-S 690 STRATEGIC SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP and SUST-S 490 SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICUM, both of which rely on multidisciplinary thinking nd practice as part of the sustainability program. This courses are intended to help students develop the strategic vision and leadership skills as well as practical tools and techniques to allow them to create and implement sustainability action plans and to apply concepts and strategies of sustainability to develop a sustainability action plan.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The data for this credit was retrieved from the director of The Center for a Sustainable Future, and from the Department Chair of the Sustainability Studies Program.

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.