Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.86
Liaison Alyssa Erding
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2021

STARS v2.2

Macalester College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Christie Manning
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
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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:

The Macalester sustainability office keeps a potential student projects list to connect students with campus-based research needs on their website, as well as a list of completed projects. The topics of the completed projects include energy, biodiversity, education, food and academic departments. A full list and descriptions of these projects can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/data-reports/student-projects/


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:

Pollinator Paths:
As a part of implementing the College’s Landscaping Master Plan, Macalester joins nearly 30 Minnesota municipalities who have signed pollinator friendly resolutions and sets an example for other campus landscape plans. The Sustainability Office collaborated with staff at the University of St. Thomas to create our Pollinator Path. Both colleges are hoping to connect these paths and create an entire Pollinator Path Network, by recognizing pollinator friendly yards throughout the in between neighborhoods and working with other nearby colleges in the future.

The Pollinator Path consists of eight sites – seven of which are located in Saint Paul, while the eighth is in Inver Grove Heights at the Ordway Field Station. There is a flyer that individuals exploring the pollinator paths can access here: https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2018/09/Pollinator-Path-Flyer.pdf

This flyer engages the public in being more aware of pollinator friendly paths and how they can support pollinators themselves.


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:

In Phys/ES 130 Science of Renewable Energy and Phys/ES 340 Renewable Energy Systems students have used both wind data from the turbine as well as solar data from Markim Hall. They use the data to estimate capacity factors for the turbine and the solar array. They also use the data to estimate their relative contribution to the Macalester electricity load.


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:

The EcoHouse gives students a unique opportunity to explore practical green-living lifestyles, to test the effectiveness of new green technologies, and to work with community partners to develop better resources on green renovations and sustainable lifestyles. In addition, once it is equipped with a planned state-of-the-art energy monitoring system, the house will function as a "live-in" laboratory for testing the energy savings and cost-effectiveness of various renovations and green technologies. Such a system will allow the EcoHouse to provide empirical data on the performance of various house systems that we can then share with many others. The house is also rapidly becoming an information clearinghouse, fostering discussions about sustainability by connecting interested homeowners with relevant community organizations and efficiency resources. In the future, EcoHouse residents will host various events, skill-shares, and workshops, and will develop a comprehensive web site to help build connections between on and off-campus resources. Project EcoHouse is in continual development and guided by an ambitious vision. More about the EcoHouse can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/ecohouse/

Markim Hall, home of the Annan Institute for Global Citizenship, is Macalester’s first LEED Platinum Certified building and one of the first campus buildings in the nation to earn the U.S Green Building Council’s highest level certification for energy efficiency and environmental design. The building’s design and construction support the IGC’s mission and reflect the college’s deep commitment to sustainable practices and responsible citizenship. Classes tour Markim Hall as an example of green architecture. Data is also available on the Markim Hall's energy and water consumption as well as the amount of energy generated by the solar array on the building. This data and more about Markim Hall can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/igc/about/markimhall/


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:

Course: Science of Renewable Energy
Instructor: Dr. James Doyle
As a class assignment, students analyze the energy output from the campus wind turbine as well as from the solar array on Markim hall. The annual energy production from the wind turbine is used to calculate the turbine capacity factor and this is compared to typical capacity factors at large wind farms. We also estimate what fraction of Olin Rice office lighting can be supplied by the turbine. THe Markim Hall solar array is used to estimate the capacity factor for solar power generation, and to study daily and seasonal variations in solar energy production.


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:

Macalester demonstrated its commitment to local and sustainable agriculture by signing onto the Real Food Campus Commitment in fall 2012. The commitment requires that a percentage of all food purchased by Macalester meets the qualifications for being real. Real food is food that is local, organic, humane, or fair trade. By purchasing more local, organic and humane food, Macalester exercises leadership by modeling ways to support ecological, humane and socially just food systems. As of this year, Macalester is at 73% of meeting its goal of 30% real food at Macalester, and this information can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/real-food-by-2020/

Students are also given opportunities to work with the catering company for Macalester, Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit purchases local food from the on campus garden, allows students to run a program called the Food Recovery Network, where leftovers are collected and donated to a local food shelter called loaves and fishes, and classes are given opportunities to tour the dining halls. Students are also encouraged to partake in Meatless Mondays, where the dining hall limits the number of meat-based dishes every Monday. Participants of Meatless Mondays are given stickers and other memorabilia to show their support.


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:

Macalester Green Roof Project
Macalester currently has two green roofs, one above the fishbowl connecting the Turck and Doty residential halls, and one on the Kagin rooftop. The two Macalester Green Roofs began as student projects, and students are given the opportunities to analyse their benefits that they bring to Campus.

Macalester Prairie Restoration Project
Macalester College helps to protect the genetic diversity of native pollinator plants through the conversion of an area where turf grass had difficulty growing into a dynamic landscape. With funding from Facilities Management, members of the College prepared the site and planted native grass and prairie flower seeds in November, 2004. Prairie dropseed, prairie smoke and alumroot, which are all low growing plants, were added the following year as an edge for the sidewalks bordering the prairie.

This native prairie acts as an opportunity for students to research the benefits of this space, as well as how to incorporate more prairies and prairie plants into other areas on campus. More information on this project can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/17nJFv7IvhaTuo85CVyfiURCgjhUjxTewfKZOFinJAD0/preview

StormWater Management at Macalester
There are numerous incentives across campus that go into storm water management on Macalester’s campus. Porous pavements, parking lot renovations, and turf conversions are all projects that have been conducted in order to mitigate the number of pollutants that enter the sewer systems. Classes are given tours on these projects, and are also encouraged to find more ways to encourage Macalester to use less water and fertilizers. More about these projects can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/urban-sustainability/landscaping/

This past year, Macalester installed a new sprinkler system that uses significantly less water. This “smart” sprinkler system can be controlled by phone, making it easier for facilities and staff to control the sprinklers without needing to be physically present. The new sprinkler system also takes into account weather conditions and can measure moisture levels, ultimately decreasing the amount of water used for lawn maintenance.

Fruit Trees and Edible Plants
Two students this summer have been conducting research on how to incorporate more sustainable practice into Macalester’s landscaping. Their projects focus on the Macalester landscape and how management practices can be altered in order to be more environmentally friendly and proactive.One student is researching the potential for fruit orchards as a carbon sink on campus. More specifically, she is analyzing the economic and environmental benefits of such a plan. The other student is looking more closely at water and fertilizer use on campus. Her research will give insight on the best type of vegetation that Macalester should implement in lieu of smaller patches of unused lawn.

There is also an on-campus garden at Macalester, named MULCH, which has acted as a model for community involvement through landscaping.

https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2019/12/Accomplishments.Landscaping.2019-Final.pdf


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 Health and Wellness Center for a project and work study to identify a supplier of menstrual cups that was affordable, offered appropriate sizing, and are responsibly manufactured.

A group of students worked with faculty and community partners to develop a plan for implementing a reusable clamshell program for students to use at dining services. They presented multiple plans for implementation and recommended partners for purchasing various types of reusable containers.


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 working at the sustainability office have been working with community members and a student organization on campus to coordinate an overhaul of the bike infrastructure and programming on campus. They have implemented a 24-hour bike check-out at the library, campus-wide bicycle registration, a semester-long bike check out, and coordinated free repairs and maintenance for campus community members. The programming and infrastructure updates have required research into other institutions, interviews with local bicycle advocates, and research on policy and enforcement in the Twin Cities.


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:

Dirty Training: Waste sorting training conducted in residence halls during orientation and offered to departments. Students working in the sustainability office have created the necessary resources to carry out this training and will be doing the training themselves.

https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2019/12/Waste.2019-Final.pdf


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:

Hydrology Class Living Laboratory - Dr. Kelly MacGregor’s hydrology class calculates the runoff
from different parts of campus by considering land cover and existing stormwater remediation
measures for land parcels across campus. The class hopes to estimate total anticipated runoff, and
use the data to apply for a reduction on charges on stormwater fees for areas with stormwater
projects.
https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2019/12/Accomplishments.Water_.2019-Final.pdf


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:

Sustainability and the campus class made recommendations to departments on campus (athletics, CRSL, High Winds, Special Events, Off-campus housing)


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:

Three students conducted a research project in the class Human Geography of Global Issues on diversity and space utilization on Macalester’s campus. These findings led to suggestions to facilities and administration on how to create more inclusive and sustainable spaces on campus. Having an inclusive social atmosphere creates more meaningful and socially sustainable connections.


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:

Fossil Free Macalester was a student-led organisation that demanded Macalester to divest from fossil fuel companies. They looked into alternative, sustainable energies Macalester could rather invest in and held sit-ins, speaker panels and numerous other campus events that taught students about divestment. More information can be found here:
https://www.macalester.edu/news/2019/10/macalester-college-board-of-trustees-announces-strengthened-sustainability-practices-and-investment-policies/

The handbook created by members of Fossil Free Mac can be downloaded here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ONACVEQwJ71ICBHI4uf2Z4yYSyhc1OTl/view?fbclid=IwAR1yTKJ91RLLC1BNlVUcAijDqyCS0XKngFrMhq6rFBH19udP6YmEhoPNX6k


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:

SustainaCup is a student-led program at Macalester College. It seeks to minimize waste and improve the sustainability of menstrual periods economically and environmentally while also promoting wellness and social justice.

The program was launched by the Macalester College Sustainability Office in the Fall of 2019. The goal of SustainaCup’s initial phase was to test whether menstrual cups could be distributed free to students on campus and at a reasonable cost to the institution.

https://www.macalester.edu/sustainability/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2019/12/Accomplishments.Health-and-Wellness.2019-Final.pdf


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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