Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 54.46
Liaison Delicia Nahman
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Lehigh University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Delicia Nahman
Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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?:
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 Air & Climate:
---

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?:
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:

A student from the Energy Systems Engineering Institute (ESEI) program at Lehigh University developed a research on STEPS building energy data monitoring and energy conservation, the "Improving Efficiency in Large-Scale Academic Buildings; A look at STEPS Building" project.

Over the 2015-2016 academic year, the student collected data from various locations throughout the STEPS building at regular time cycles, to define and trend the baseline consumption and its deviations from the collected data. This allowed to suggest specific and focus driven measures to improve the energy efficiency of the building, and reduce consumption by implementing low energy, environment friendly practices among the building managers, staff and occupants.


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:

FEED group:
A team of students is continuously working (since Summer 2015) toward achieving a fully energy-independent food-growing enterprise at the Lehigh Goodman Campus Community Garden, considering energy requirements of the full seasonal life-cycle and both garden operations (including on-site solar harvesting and greenhousing) and distribution of food.
FEED group presented sustainable farm vision to Lehigh’s Environmental Advisory Group in March 2017. The FEED group plans to start a five-acre farm on Goodman Campus that could replace some of the vegetables used by Dining Services with sustainable, organic produce grown on Lehigh’s campus. The farm would also act as a tool for various academic classes and departments.


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:

Ecology course (EES-152):
Students taking Ecology course (EES-152) study of relationships among organisms and their physical environment. Students have been using the Lehigh Experimental Forest as a natural laboratory for the ecology class for the past years. There has been no maintenance of the forest, so there is really cool succession. The professor and students recognize the value of the forest plots in understanding the behavior of our forests. The following lab activities take place throughout the semester:
-Forest Ecology: investigations in the Lehigh Experimental Forest
-Forest Ecology: investigations in the Lehigh Experimental Forest
-Forest Ecology in the Lehigh Forest Plantation. Plant identification quiz
-Population ecology in the Lehigh Experimental Forest
-Population demography in the Lehigh Experimental Forest

See more details about the course: http://www.lehigh.edu/~rkb205/ecology.htm
Recent activities in Lehigh University's Experimental Forest: https://amongthestatelytrees.wordpress.com/tag/lehigh-experimental-forest/


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

Students, under the supervision of Office of Sustainability staff, work with Dining Services to research food procurement practices, analyze total spend and participate in supply chain management goal setting to increase the purchase of local, organic, humane and fair trade products at equal or similar costs. Dining Services is actively working with those students to identify new local suppliers and those without OSHA/NLRB violations. As a result of the student efforts in partnership with Dining Services, in 2015-2016 Lehigh purchased 11% real food, which is an increase from 2% in 2013-2014. Students may not have previous experience or skills prior to the start of this experience but training and education are an integrated competent of this experience.


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:

Urban Planning and Transportation at Lehigh:
As part of the Mountaintop Project Summer 2016, a group of 5 undergraduate students studied the potential environmental impact of transportation on campus using aspects of urban design and renewable energy modeled after Jacque Fresco’s "Future by Design." The team’s goal is to develop a smarter transportation system as part of a Lehigh campus for the future. The students plan to utilize the creative freedom of Mountaintop to look for alternative solutions which will allow Lehigh’s campus to reach its full potential and become a global model of urban campus design.


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:

LV (Lehigh Valley) Shares:
As part of the Mountaintop Project Summer 2016, a group of 2 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students developed research with Lehigh Valley Shares (LV Shares), which addresses the issue of environmental sustainability in the Lehigh Valley and aims to decrease consumption and waste generation. The goal is to establish a free website that connects parties with excess items with parties in need of those items, in order to eliminate waste and consumption of resources. Once operational, LV Shares will be self-sustaining for many years to come and will support progress toward a more sustainable community in the whole of the Lehigh Valley.


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:

A group of students working with the Office of Sustainability staff did a survey on all water bottle refill station on campus that resulted in the maintenance of several stations. Additionally, every Fall and Spring semester, the students do an inventory on the progress made towards plastic bottle diversion. This progress inventory helps the Office of Sustainability to identify future actions and engage students on sustainable actions they can pursue.


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:

There is a graduate student, the Sustainability Metrics & Reporting Graduate Assistant, who gathers and analyzes data to propose solutions for future campus planning efforts. This Graduate Assistant compiles year-end summaries for campus departments and reporting organizations to assist with future planning and they also collect and input data into tracking mechanisms for Sustainability Plan metrics. This position helps Lehigh accurately report progress using standard reporting tools, which helps with future planning and coordination.


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:

Calculated Actions to Deliver Racial and Ethnic Equity in Education:
As part of the Mountaintop Project Summer 2016, a group of 4 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students developed research to draw from the expertise of students across a variety of backgrounds to work to advance equitable educational outcomes, particularly for those who are socially excluded from a majority culture due to poverty or other birth circumstance. The students focused on communities in the United States and the Czech Republic.


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?:
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:

There are communications & events interns within the Office of Sustainability that collect and distribute information on sustainability events, initiatives, and programs. They help to further engage the campus community and the broader community in a dialogue about sustainability. Additionally, there is a graduate student, the Campus Engagement & Outreach Graduate Assistant, who facilitates Lehigh's participation in national competitions/events, organizes major sustainability events on campus, and plans campus engagement events and activities. These student positions have resulted in increased campus and 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)?:
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 other areas:
---

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

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.