Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.09
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 30, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Iowa State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Merry Rankin
ISU Director of Sustainability
Facilities Planning & Management
"---" 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:

Students in the EE 388 Sustainable Engineering and International Development course analyzed campus emissions and energy usage data as part of a group project designed to explore the feasibility of reducing campus carbon emissions by 20% through the implementation and use of renewable energy sources.


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:

ConE487/CE46 is the capstone design course for all students in the Civil and Construction Engineering department in the College of Engineering. The Fall 2018 course consisted of a project on the ISU campus at Veenker Memorial Golf Course to design a new clubhouse. Twelve teams comprised of 8 students for 8 disciplines (architecture, structures, electrical, mechanical, hydrology, transportation, geotechnical and LEED) that take the project requirements through a schematic design process using Design-Build techniques. The students were charged with designing a 30,000 GSF facility that incorporated clubhouse and event facilities that would be 50% more efficient than code in overall energy consumption – including the use of PV to eliminate energy usage – and address the flooding issues arising from surface flow during rain events. The buildings were required to meet the requirements for LEED-NC v4 Gold certification, and several of the projects were able to meet LEED Platinum.


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:

In 2018, The Iowa State University chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association won the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge for the fifth year in a row for their work in preparing a proposal for ISU's Family Resource Center to achieve net-zero energy consumption via energy saving measures and distributed energy resources. Six students within ISU’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering donated over 130 hours of community service and $550 in material, and also won the Poster Presentation at NECA 2018 Philadelphia.


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:

An honors student collaborated with facilities and dining staff to performed a waste audit of five dumpsters, sourced from campus residence halls and apartments, to assess the feasibility of residential composting at those complexes. Facilities Management and Planning staff collected and transported the waste to the General Services building where campus and community volunteers assisted in sorting the waste into food waste, other compostables, recyclables, and trash. Waste was then weighed and redirected into its appropriate stream. Project results were presented at the Spring 2018 Honors Poster Presentation.


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 from Engineers for a Sustainable World collaborated with ISU Dining, ISU Facilities Planning and Management and faculty from the College of Engineering as part of a civil engineering student honors project examining the efficacy of compost as an organic herbicidal landscaping tool. Dining and Facilities personnel delivered over 20 cubic yards of compost to the Town Engineering Building, which was spread along the exterior shrub beds by student volunteers before being topped with a layer of mulch. The site continues to be monitored by facilities staff, college faculty and the honors student in hopes that, if successful, this practice is widely adopted throughout the civil engineering and landscape architecture communities.


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:
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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:

Iowa State Students have had several opportunities to facilitate positive sustainable impact on campus transportation, including:

Campus Bicycle Planning Study Phase 1
Staff, faculty, and student members were recruited to form a Bike Advisory Group to provide input on future bike-related issues and efforts and set priorities for bicycle access and mobility on the Iowa State University campus.

City of Ames Complete Streets Plan
Students were engaged in public input and advisory committee meetings for the development of the City of Ames Complete Streets Plan to plan and design a safer, more comfortable and more useful street network for all modes of 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:

Over 240 students in the Fall 2018 DES241X Interdisciplinary Foundation Studio used the College of Design as a living laboratory in order to identify waste reduction and diversion opportunities as part of a team-based capstone project. The team used their design skills to produce items such as informational signage and sorting containers using reusable and upcycled materials. Groups presented their projects at a pop-up zero-waste cafe located within the College of Design atrium.


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:

Iowa State's Sustainable Environments Interdisciplinary Graduate Program uses ISU's Lake Laverne as a living laboratory for ongoing research into artificial islands and water quality. Students use various combinations of materials, soils, and plants within the islands in order to determine their viability in reducing excess nutrient loads within the water, as well as their suitability as a habitat for native pollinator species. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide insight into the feasibility of scalable commercial models in order to inhibit algal growth and restore native habitat.


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:

The Office of Sustainability offers an opportunity through its Strategic Planning Internship to facilitate the goals of the Live Green Advisory Committee. In conjunction, the strategic planning intern was tasked with obtaining data from STARS report submissions. Data submission for given credits (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, building energy consumption) was compared with other institutions of similar size, regional proximity, as well as those with exemplary performance in a given field, and compiled into monthly reports presented to the Committee toward identifying "best fit" opportunities for Iowa State and inclusion in an overarching (currently in progress) University Sustainability Strategic Plan.


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

The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion employs a student intern to assist in compiling data for its annual Diversity and Inclusion report. This report highlights the progress ISU has made towards Goal 4 of the 2017-2022 University Strategic Plan "to continue to enhance and cultivate the ISU experience where faculty, staff, students, and visitors are safe and feel welcomed, supported, included, and valued by the university and each other" in order to facilitate a campus culture of diversity and inclusion. Response data from the Campus Climate Survey is combined with input from campus partners and used to expand and improve VDPI activities and programming for the ISU campus community. Additionally, the student intern compiled the majority of the information gathered for the Diversity & Affordability section of the University's 2019 STARS submission.


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:

A Senior accounting and finance student collaborated with accounting faculty for an honors capstone project which analyzed publicly-available Iowa State University accounts from 1990-2018 in order to identify the cause(s) behind large in-and-out-of-state tuition increases, the threefold increase in university grant and scholarship awards for economically-vulnerable students, and the decline in faculty pay relative to peer faculty at other land grant institutions.


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:

The Office of Sustainability, in conjuction with the City of Ames Electrical Services, offers student internship opportunities for the Ames Smart Business Challenge. Students solicit businesses for participation in the program, beginning with an energy audit from the city electrical Services. Upon completion of the audit, businesses are provided with a checklist to assess their initial sustainability performance, and given a rating as a bronze-through-platinum Smart Business Challenge rating. Throughout this process (and after), businesses are able to meet with SBC team members and be connected community and resource experts and expertise to identify opportunities to enhance sustainable practices within their operations.


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

A nutritional sciences student, as part of a larger program catalyzed by the Food Science Health and Nutrition Program, worked closely with the ISU WellBeing Nutrition Initiatives Team in gathering stakeholder feedback regarding campus-wide attitudes, resources, services, and programming around nutrition initiatives in order to address gaps in services and identify areas of focus for the Nutrition Initiatives Team strategic planning.


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:

With the increased wear and tear on campus trees from activities such as hammocking and slacklining causing concern among students, staff, and faculty members, Landscape Architects from Facilities Planning and Management brought together an ad-hoc committee comprised of representatives from student body government, student organizations and student enthusiasts for outdoor recreation, for pilot study input related to designating and placement of a dedicated hammocking area on Central Campus, offering six hammocking poles. Upon success of the initial area, further input from the committee was sought regarding potential future locations, area design, providing tree protection material in designated areas, and especially concerning signage and outreach efforts to those most likely to enjoy the facilities.


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