Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.20
Liaison David Heithaus
Submission Date Jan. 20, 2021

STARS v2.2

Kenyon College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 David Heithaus
Director of Green Initiatives
Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

Most if not all campus projects seek to leverage institutional investments into individual action. If we commission a new solar PV array, we communicate it's impact in terms of collective action such as driving fewer miles or using less heat/light. We also encourage direct participation whenever practical. Or reforestation projects geared towards carbon sequestration are a good example of using a piece of or emissions reduction strategy to directly engage the campus community in a meaningful, hands-on way.


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:

Life Along the Kokosing is a seminar that examines the meaning and significance of connection to place through an intensive investigation of Knox County, including "off" campus operations such as the Kenyon Farm, Philander Chase Conservancy (land trust) and Brown Family Environmental Center. Much of the class is dedicated to the surrounding locale, exploring the landscape and interacting with individuals knowledgeable about community life. Complementing these field experiences, scholarship in the arts, humanities and sciences will address how natural, economic, social and cultural conditions inform rural character and personal identity. We conclude the seminar by creating a public project designed to share what we have learned.


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 chemistry work with faculty on an ongoing basis to monitor campus air quality.

* Students in biology work with faculty to monitor carbon sequestration in wetlands and forests on campus and on our preserve. This data is used to estimate our institutional contribution to carbon sequestration in the context of climate change. Biology students also use climate models to predict how local species of plants and animals might shift distributions based on different degrees of change.


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:

Classes in several departments routinely tour campus facilities to learn about how a building can be designed or re-designed for efficiency. We focus primarily on the systems that manage energy but we also note design features that impact a structure's carbon footprint.

Our scheduled solar PV installations are also tied to a class focused on renewable energy.

Environmental studies group projects often if not annually use utility data to compare efficiency between different types of campus buildings.


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:

Classes in several departments routinely tour campus facilities to learn about how energy is managed and systems optimized for efficiency without hampering the function of a facility. Our scheduled solar PV installations are inherently tied to a class focused on renewable energy.

Environmental studies group projects often if not annually use utility data to compare efficiency between different types of campus buildings.


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:

Kenyon has a strong commitment to procuring food from as close to campus as possible. We currently source over 40% of our food locally, much of it through a network of small producers who have altered their planting models over the years as bonds with the college have grown stronger. Every chance to use this successful venture as a teaching tool, we take advantage of.

Food for Thought is a special academic initiative to explore food, farming and rural life. The courses in the program represent virtually every aspect of the curriculum and many offer opportunities to engage with the surrounding community. Through the program, students broaden their horizons beyond Gambier and deepen their connection to this place.

The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) Kenyon Certificate Program in Ecological Agriculture provides students with the opportunity to develop intellectual skills and practical knowledge regarding food and farming systems. Students acquire an understanding of the complex nature of agro-ecosystems; critically analyze the social, political and economic institutions in which food and farming systems are embedded; and explore the interplay of social values, personal responsibility and environmental and community goals.


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:

Kenyon has both Tree and Bee Campus USA designations and we use these programs to spread awareness about the importance and function of both in terms of sustainability. Students track fluctuations in carbon sequestration as trees are added or removed and are working on cataloging the ecosystem function of all campus trees for an eventual comprehensive and dynamic database. A group of students in a programming class are working to develop an app that will allow open access to this data as well as a platform to easily update the data as trees are added or removed.

Students researched, proposed and then developed our Bee Campus plan. As beds are converted to pollinator-friendly oasis, students contribute to every aspect of the work - from plant selection to interpretive signage.


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

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

Students annually catalog all college-sponsored travel and commuting for our carbon emissions tracking. It is a massive undertaking but one we feel is important to see through. The information they collect is communicated broadly in our emissions reports and immediately on campus as part of the individual responsibility messaging.


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:

Kenyon handles both composting and recycling in-house. This allows us an interesting opportunity to communicate very specifically with campus about our operations and how they relate to our sustainability efforts.


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:

We are in the second year of building-level sub-metering for water. It is still in the pilot phase but we provide students access to the data for class work and encourage them to consider how water use impacts our campus footprint.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:
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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 Diversity & Affordability?:
No

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

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

Kenyon's Green Revolving Fund was researched and proposed by students in an economics class. They worked with faculty and staff in Finance to understand what kind of structure would work best for Kenyon and how it would actually function and grow. Students continue to be involved at the project-proposal level.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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