Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.33
Liaison Kristy Howell
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2022

STARS v2.2

Johnson County Community College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kristy Wittman Howell
Sustainability Education and Engagement Coordinator
Center for Sustainability
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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?:
Yes

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

One example is our BIOL 230 and CHEM 122 collaboration. Students in microbiology and chemistry analyze soil samples and use their analyses to develop antibacterial substances. Their work is presented each semester in the Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) Symposium.


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:

One example are the student-developed community based participatory research protocols we use to evaluate attitudes about campus sustainability and improve outreach materials. The measures are used in the Community Based Learning program in addition to the Center for Sustainability.


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:

Students in environmental science and botany classes regularly evaluate plant species in the green walls in Galileo's Pavilion.


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:

Students in interior design regularly evaluate campus lighting solutions in the context of their coursework, developing their understanding of occupant comfort and energy efficiency.


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 in electrical technology classes work with numerous alternative energy concepts, learning to support routine maintenance on micro-scale solar installations and contribute to campus-wide conversations about energy through campus and community tours.


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:

Students enrolled in the Sustainable Agriculture Practicum (part of our Sustainable Agriculture Certificate Program) maintain the campus's 3.1 acre farm fields using sustainable methods such as crop rotation, cover cropping, integrated pest management and more. This produce is served by dining services, used in the prep kitchens of our culinary program and featured in special campus events to engage other students in local foods. Students are learning sustainable farming skills while producing food that is prepared and consumed right here on campus, lessening the need for items transported in from outside vendors.

Culinary and Sustainable Agriculture students enroll together in the Local Foods class, which provides experiential education for both groups in the field and in the kitchen. Students then prepare a meal for members of the campus community and discuss with diners their plans either in agriculture, culinary or an intersection of the two.


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:

A team of students, including student interns from the Center for Sustainability, began an evaluation of wildlife that use campus grounds as habitat. The campus bioblitz has continued in several threads: a focus on insect and pollinator counts, and a springtime virtual bioblitz that reached beyond campus during 2020 and 2021.


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

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

The following language is included in RFPs and RFBs:

Training and Educational Opportunities: Additional weighting and consideration may be given to vendors providing information on how their company or firm will work with the JCCC facilities and academic departments to develop opportunities for academic faculty to use information and activities contained in the proposal within the classroom environment. Training and educational opportunities for JCCC students, in the firm’s areas of expertise, are encouraged. The College plans to intentionally utilize the campus environment as an educational tool, using campus facilities, grounds, renovation projects, and related maintenance and operations, as a means to teach both existing course outcomes and sustainability concepts across all academic departments. Please indicate any educational opportunities your firm would provide to assist the college in these endeavors.


IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
No

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

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

Students in a section of the honors forum evaluated and made suggestions regarding materials management in our campus community.

Students in all sections of environmental science laboratory undertake a personal waste audit guided by interaction with sustainability staff and in conversation with regional experts on materials management.

Students in Sculpture II classes explore the campus waste stream as a source for raw materials to use in creating a sculpture. In some sections, students are afforded the opportunity to develop a large, public installation that serve as centerpieces to begin conversations about waste on campus.


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:

Students in Physical Geography Lab - GEOS 141 - test standing and running water in the ATB Creek, Stoll Pond, and the forebay of the main vegetated submerged bed of the campus stormwater management project each semester - 3 areas of campus where stormwater runoff collects. All students participate and this usually takes 1-2 lab sessions. Each lab session is 2 hours in length.
When water levels and conditions are advantageous, students also test the bioretention cell and the drain of the main vegetated submerged bed, which are mid- and post- points in the stormwater management system. Variables measured include: gps location, elevation, temperature, pH, total dissolved solids (conductance), total alkalinity, total hardness, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphates.
The goal is to record a history of water quality and to contrast the stormwater submerged bed areas with the non-mitigated ATB creek to compare and contrast variables and measure efficacy of the stormwater system. (Soon to add northern forested creek as a 3rd site of comparison).

Students in Environmental Science test solubility of soils in the campus stormwater management installation in two labs - generally about 2 hours each. Their project augments understanding of ecosystems services provided by that project.

Student interns in the Center for Sustainability monitor and record usage of water bottle refilling stations. Interns' experiences collecting and applying the data gathered are assessed in evaluations and exit interviews at the end of their employment term.


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:

A student representative serves on the committee charged with developing new campuswide sustainability policy.

The Student Sustainability Committee often contributes to conversations about institutional policies related to sustainability planning, including facilities and strategic planning and energy policy.


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:

Students participated in the institutional diversity assessments conducted during 2019 and 2020 and have served on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and the Multicultural Programming Advisory Committee.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

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

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

Students in human performance classes regularly join staff from the Center for Sustainability and Student Wellness for events related to fitness, meditation, stress management, and overall health.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.