Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.07
Liaison Cary Gaunt
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

Keene State College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Cary Gaunt
Director of Campus Sustainability
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:

There are innumerable examples of how Keene State College (KSC) uses its campus for "applied student learning for sustainability" and it starts with a first-year Residence Hall called "The Commons". The building itself is a model of sustainability, featuring geothermal heating and cooling for air and water; daylight harvesting and other advanced lighting fixtures; non-toxic materials for all interior areas; and many other sustainability features. The Commons also emphasizes social sustainability in that the student rooms are intentionally small so that student meet and hang out in shared spaces throughout the building. Furthermore, The Commons houses the College's Living and Learning Communities for First-Year Students (https://www.keene.edu/office/reslife/residence-halls/llc/).
Furthermore, the KSC Office of Sustainability hires between 25 to 30 student employees who learn leadership, team building, and communication skills that they offer to students, faculty, and staff all around the campus. Student sustainability employees educate about recycling, energy management, conscious consumerism, food waste, and myriad other topics comprising a comprehensive sustainability. Students at KSC are engaged in conducting waste audits, sustainability tours, research on the Ashuelot River, energy assessments, and so much more.


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:

Students that are part of Keene State College's award-winning American Democracy Project engage in a variety of activities that emphasize civic engagement and being "stewards of place." In Academic Year 2018 KSC was awarded the prestigious Washington Center National Civic Engagement award for the College's research, curricular and co-curricular programming on economic inequality.

Furthermore, the KSC American Democracy Project (ADP) is a very active group on campus and does a large amount of voter education and engagement work. Over the course of the 2020 campaign cycle, the ADP hosted a range of both in person and virtual events to encourage student engagement in the voting process. The ADP hosted debate night watch parties and events for students to discuss and process election-related stress. The ADP was also instrumental in bringing many presidential candidates to campus to discuss their campaign platforms, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, now President Joe Biden, and many more. Perhaps most significantly, the ADP was also instrumental in registering new voters, facilitating the submission of absentee ballots, and providing transportation for the campus community to and from the polls on election day. The College's work on civic engagement is not limited to students, but extends to the broader City of Keene and Monadnock region. (See: https://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/1601482657799/). Also, a comprehensive list of the types of political and educational events related to civic engagement and contemporary issues that are conducted at Keene State College under the umbrella of the American Democracy Project are included at the end of this section under "Additional documentation to support the submission."


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:

The Keene State College (KSC) Safety and Occupational Health Sciences students are getting real-world experience supporting the College with its Covid-19 preparedness and monitoring efforts. The Keene State COVID-19 Protection Program is providing Keene State with valuable information to keep the community safe while giving motivated student interns a chance to apply what they’re learning to a real-world scenario. The program is a strategy to monitor and protect the campus community from a potential virus outbreak while in-person classes are held. Because the virus can be spread through the air, interns from the Safety and Occupational Health Applied Sciences Department use instruments to measure carbon dioxide levels and particulate levels in classrooms to assess air quality there. In addition, they monitor COVID-19 employee attestation reports required by the NH governor, Covid training participation, and mask usage on and around campus. (See: https://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/safety-interns-work-on-protection-program-to-keep-keene-state-safe/)
The Dr. Nora Traviss Laboratory, within the Departments of Environmental and Sustainability Studies, teaches students how to monitor air quality. The laboratory focuses its research on particulate matter from biodiesel engines (e.g., https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718346485) and wood smoke (e.g., https://academicexcellenceconference2020.sched.com/event/bwGE/wintertime-air-quality-woodsmoke-and-air-inversion-research-in-keene-nh). Dr. Traviss engages her students in real-time, real-world research using the College campus and broader City of Keene. For example, they have done comparative studies of biodiesel and petroleum diesel with campus and city maintenance vehicles. They also established a Facebook page called "Keene Clean Air" to alert citizens to poor air quality and air quality inversions due to wood stove-induced particulate pollution in the winter (see: https://www.facebook.com/keenecleanair/videos/vb.1246533638813522/1247959635337589/?type=2&theater).


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:

Keene State College (KSC) recently developed a student and community learning lab in its Student Center. The Young Student Center Learning Laboratory Showcase is a partnership with Siemens Industry Inc. to demonstrate the efficacy of myriad facility improvement and energy conservation measures that will help the College and other institutions in the City of Keene meet their 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and greenhouse gas reduction goals. Some of the improvements include state-of-the-art LED lighting, building envelop improvements, optimization of building controls, and other infrastructure enhancements (e.g., kitchen ventilation systems). Two student internships will engage students in monitoring the efficacy of the measures and communicating them through interpretive signage, social media, and interactive displays. The Student Center Learning Lab Showcase will also provide classes the opportunity to study energy enhancements and will offer training sessions to institutions throughout the region.

The Keene State College LEED Platinum certified TDS (Technology, Design, and Safety) building is designed to be a learning lab for the campus community as a whole, and especially the sustainability-themed majors it houses:
Architecture
Sustainable Product Design and Innovation
Safety, Occupational Health Applied Sciences.
The Technology, Design, and Safety Center earned LEED Platinum Certification by the US Green Building Council/Green Building Certification Institute. The building’s solar array, which was supported financially by businesses and organizations in the community, made it possible to achieve LEED Platinum Certification. The building features several academic disciplines including Sustainable Product Design and Innovation, a program that explores both the artistic and technical approach to design, and includes a focus on environmental sustainability. In addition to attaining LEED Certification, the TDS Center makes Keene State the third largest producer of solar energy on the Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) system.


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:

The Keene State College (KSC) Coordinator of Energy and Utility Services routinely uses students to monitor building energy performance and collect information on energy trends on campus. Furthermore, the Dr. Thomas Webler Energy Transitions Research Laboratory has involved his students in research that looks at the feasibility for the City of Keene to be fully powered by solar energy (https://highlightcoin.io/blog/keene-state-study-city-could-be-powered-by-solar-energy-by-2045/ and https://www.sentinelsource.com/news/environment/keene-state-study-city-could-be-powered-by-solar-energy-by-2045/article_061d0318-d84a-5d8f-875a-7ed3a257e149.html). The assessment included areas on the KSC campus, as well.


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:

The Keene State College combined Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition with Dietetic Internship (MSDI) cultivates leaders as Public Health Dietitian Nutritionists to inform, educate, and empower the public about health and nutrition issues. Through a policy, systems, and environmental focus, graduates will form community, state and national partnerships and collaborate to identify and solve pressing health and nutrition concerns.

In addition to the focused Master's program, Keene State College classes routinely support the Eco-Reps, Dining Commons staff, and Sustainability Office in conducting and analyzing the results of food waste audits. See EN-5 for additional information.


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:

In several of the last few semesters, groups of students from the Safety Studies program have conducted safety assessments of the KSC Grounds crew and their various functions. They have made suggestions for improving working spaces, as well as storage and ergonomic suggestions. Many of those suggestions have been incorporated into the day-to-day routines of the Grounds department.

Students in the Athletic Training program also conduct research on the student recycling staff. This includes monitoring their daily tasks using a Fit Bit and questionnaire and then making recommendations on how to improve the program.


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:

Students worked with the Office of Campus Sustainability, the Director of Student Life, and Chartwells (the College's Dining Services contractor) to evaluate options to single use plastic on campus. Students explored alternatives to single use water bottles and single use plastic bags. These investigations launched the "Ban the Bottle" campaign and the successful "Single Use Switch" to eliminate plastic bags (described in the Innovation and Leadership section).


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:

As described under the Air and Climate section, the Traviss Laboratory engages student research on Keene State College's bio-diesel maintenance fleet.

Furthermore, students at Keene State College lead and operate the College's award-winning (Silver Level League of American Bicyclist's Bicycle Friendly University) Green Bikes Program. Each semester 3 to 5 students, working with faculty members and a stakeholder Green Bikes Committee, take the lead on ensuring bicycles are made available to students on campus who need them. The bicycles are repaired and upgraded from donations by campus and broader community members, and are loaned to students for free through the library. The student Green Bikes Team is responsible for maintaining and loaning the bicycles, creating a budget, running the green bikes workshop, and communicating about the program.
Students from Keene State also conduct research in the greater Keene area that includes the college campus. Geography students partnered with the Southwest Region Planning Commission to evaluate sustainable transportation in the region and to explore green options to better serve the KSC population (See: https://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/1516915403886/)


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:

The Recycling Office worked with Graphic Design students and and Environmental Studies students to assess and develop better recycling signage. Different styles were evaluated and the best design was implemented into the Recycling/Waste Management program. Students also participate in waste audits to assess diversion and contamination rates for the College's recycling. An example of how one student turned this living lab opportunity into a capstone project is available at: https://dburchsted.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/recycling-on-campus-final-poster.pdf. Students have been engaged in promoting efforts to reduce plastic waste on campus (See Innovations, IN-32). Student employees of the Office of Sustainability operate the College's recycling program and support the food waste composting efforts. These programs are described elsewhere in this AASHE report.


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:

The Ashuelot River borders the campus and innumerable Environmental Studies and Geography classes conduct research centered on the river.


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:

In the Fall of 2019, The Office of Sustainability hosted 6 interns through the Environmental Studies Department. These students researched and designed the initial plans for Green Office, Green Events, and Green Classroom programs. This was a rewarding experience for both the Office of Sustainability staff and the student interns, and it gave the students the opportunity to participate in a hands-on learning experience, designing programs that would directly benefit the campus community.
In addition, students serve on the President's Council for a Sustainable Future (PCSF), where they join with faculty and staff to develop sustainability policies and plans for the College, as well as provide advice to the Office of Sustainability. For example, students from the PCSF joined with approximately 15 other student stakeholders to help develop language for the Sustainability College-Wide Learning Outcome as well as the Sustainability Literacy Assessment.

Senior Management students worked with the Office of Sustainability to conduct extensive surveys and focus groups of Keene State College students on their sustainability priorities. This was an instrumental part of an overall sustainability strategic planning effort.
INTERNSHIP CLASS AND MOST RECENT KATHLEEN JOHNSON WORK
STUDENTS ON SUSTAINABILITY COUNCIL AND SUPPORT FOR SCWLO


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:

Keene State College (KSC) has a strong commitment to Diversity and Affordability and students are actively engaged in promoting these efforts. The student run (but with strong staff mentoring) Common Ground Multicultural Club (See: https://www.keene.edu/campus/diversity/common-ground/) collaborates with the Office and Diversity and Multiculturalism, the Office of Multicultural Student Support, Student Affairs, and other clubs and departments on campus to promote educational opportunities, celebrations, and other events.
Keene State College also offers gender neutral restrooms across campus; an effort that was encouraged and supported by students to ensure transgender and gender nonconforming students feel safe and welcome on campus. The Office of Diversity and Multiculturalism developed a map to help students access these facilities. See here: https://www.keene.edu/campus/diversity/bathroom-map/.
Students also led and supported the creation of the Hungry Owl Food Bank that is described in the Innovation Section (IN-14). As part of that effort, students in public relations and communications helped get the word out through a variety of means (https://kscequinox.com/2019/02/spreading-awareness-for-the-hungry-owl/).


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:

The Keene State College Wellness Center offers two successful peer-to-peer training programs: the Student Support Network and Wellness Peer Educators. The Student Support Network is described as: "Since 2016 the Wellness Center Counseling Service has offered the student version of the Student Support Network Training (thanks to all of you who have nominated students for this training), which was originated at WPI about a decade ago. We’ve now had well over a hundred of our students participate in this training, many of whom have provided significant praise for it. And after many request we began offering the SSN – Faculty & Staff Edition training in 2019. The overall goal of the Student Support Network program is to raise the “emotional IQ” of our campus community in general, and specifically enhance your skills around supporting our students when they are in emotional distress. [Participants will] feel more confident and able to recognize when out students are in distress, effectively support them in the moment, and refer them to appropriate services as needed." The Wellness Peer Counselor program is described as: "undergraduate interns who work with our team to create, promote, and implement programs and events to KSC Students. Most WPEs consist of Public Health and Graphic Design majors."

During each normal academic year (pre-COVID), all residence life staff would do programming for the students living on their residence halls, covering the nine dimensions of wellness. These are: social, physical, intellectual, cultural, environmental, spiritual, financial, emotional, and occupational. This includes student Resident Advisors who are hired by the College to help oversee student life on campus.

Additionally, each semester the KSC Wellness Center hosts 2 undergraduate interns from the Public Health Department. These students intern at the Wellness Center to fulfill the practicum requirements for their major.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.