Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.29
Liaison Kalen Pilkington
Submission Date Aug. 31, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

MacEwan University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kerstyn Lane
Engagement and Outreach Advisor
Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
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 Air & Climate:

In early 2017 the Office of Sustainability partnered with the City of Edmonton to receive 5 AirBeam Air Quality Monitoring Kits. The devices are available for students to rent from the library. Students may use these and the data they collect for course projects. By providing these materials MacEwan and the City of Edmonton aim to help students/citizens to better understand local air quality and in particular fine particulate matter. Potential areas of application are science and health related courses and research projects. One of the early projects was completed in summer 2017; a student completed a project focusing on the development of smart technologies for the monitoring of student’s well-being in learning spaces. The goal of the project was to design and build a measurement system which would measure multiple indicators (e.g. CO2, temperature, sound, particulates) which could then be correlated back to student’s well-being. The air beams were used to verify the data obtained by the measuring systems.


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

Engineering class group projects on sustainability: From 2014 to 2018 the course ENGG101 has implemented a term project focused on sustainability where students work in groups to developing a solution to a non-sustainable problem on campus, whereby some projects specifically focus on buildings. The result of the project is a proposal for funds to implement their solution. Each year there are around 30 proposals related to sustainability. Examples include, but are not limited to the following projects: solar Panels on MacEwan roofs, towers and sidewalks, electricity-generating turbines in exhaust stacks, steam turbines to redirect heat into MacEwan buildings, photo-voltaic windows, (energy-generating) revolving doors, greenhouse operated by wind turbines, green roofs, green walls etc.


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:

(1) A Sustainability Leadership Council project from October 2016 - March 2017, the Soofa Bench Project, sought to acquire funding for the implementation of solar charging benches (Soofa) on campus. With the intent of expanding renewable energy generating opportunities while building community, the SLC put forth a business case for university leaders to consider funding. It was required for the students to identify how the project would acheive the goals and targets in the Campus Sustainability Plan.

(2) In September 2017 a photovoltaic solar energy supply project was installed on one of the MacEwan roofs. Students have requested data from the Facilities solar pilot to use in course projects, where in data is compared with other institutions, like NAIT.


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:

Over the 2017-18 school year, the Sustainability Leadership Council (SLC) developed a research project, the Food Waste White Paper, which identified areas for improving food waste on campus. In this process, the team of 8 volunteers, lead by an SLC member, met with Aramark Food Services to discuss current practice and acquire data. Through outreach, the volunteers acquired data from the university community, and provided education on how to reduce personal food waste.The students then shared their findings with the volunteer team, with the goal of building programs for food waste reduction on campus.


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

(1)
Students proposed a digital textbook rental system to allow students to purchase digital course materials that would be available across a variety of media. As a result, the University's Retail and Campus Services department is now working towards implementing this program.

(2)
MacEwan University received Fair Trade Campus designation in April of 2017. From November 2017 to March 2018, MacEwan Sustainability Volunteers researched Fairtrade (practices, certification, and facts regarding common challenges and benefits), as well as locations in Edmonton to purchase Fair Trade products. From this research, the students developed games and resources to support the outreach and engagement efforts required to maintain the designation and raise awareness for the value of Fair Trade on campus.


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:

(1)
From October 2016 to March 2017, the Sustainability Leadership Council developed a research project to assess the feasibility of a campus bike share. The questionnaire gained 263 responses. The SLC member delivered the findings to a bike library working group (which included staff from the Library, Sport and Wellness, Transportation Services, the Student's Association of MacEwan University, and the Office of Sustainability).

(2)
A MacEwan Communications student interviewed Edmonton motorists and cyclists to find out more about their attitudes towards eachother, misconceptions and knowledge gaps when it comes to the right behaviour in traffic. The student tried to extract factors that would promote cautious or reckless driving when cyclists are present and to publish the results on a platform that is available to as many Edmonton residents as possible.
https://www.macewan.ca/wcm/MacEwanNews/EDMONTON_BIKES


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:

From October 2017 to March 2018, MacEwan Sustainability Volunteers researched approaches to waste reduction, specifically vermicomposting. Their research contributed to a development of a composting brochure and the conduction of two vermicomposting workshops which welcomed 45 participants in total. During these workshops, particpants learned about composting and sustainability, and build their own vermicomposting system to bring home. The recommendations include implementing a vermicomposting system that would collect organic materials to compost and provide nourishment to a prospective campus garden. One of the first campus vermicomposting systems, a “Digestive Table”, was introduced as a pilot project at Roundhouse.


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:

The MacEwan Environmental Student Society (MESS) reviewed the floor plans of MacEwan University and looked at the current provision of water fountains and their usage and proposed new locations for additional water refill stations with the aim of reducing the use of disposable water bottles on campus.

MESS recommended at least one water bottle refill station be installed on every level to increase access to water for students. These stations would ideally offer filtered water and include a bottle counter.

MESS submitted a report outlining their findings in relation to the location of water stations, type of fountains currently in place, and usage counters, when applicable, along with recommended new areas on marked floor plans.

As a result, the university's Facilities department has implemented water refill stations in a high traffic areas and has agreed to consider the recommendations and phase in the installation of new water stations every year, budget permitting.


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

The Interdisciplinary Dialogue project brought to MacEwan a unique platform for engaging the university-wide community in meaningful discussions on local and global issues and promoting citizenship education. Ten courses, taught by faculty members from across the disciplines from the Faculty of Arts and Science,
Nursing, Health and Community Studies, and Business, are attached to this project. The two dialogues covered two distinct themes: Global Refugee Crisis in Winter 2017 and Journey to Reconciliation Winter 2018. The topics of diversity were certainly discussed in both terms. Students attended/presented their final projects at an interdisciplinary student conference (2017) and symposium (2018) at the end of each semester. Thus, they had an opportunity to approach each subject holistically, see a larger picture, learn about themselves, appreciate different perspectives, and become aware of the complexities that these issues face. Through these shared experiences, students had an opportunity to approach and grow from the subject holistically.


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

Mission Possible is a Sustainable Business class project (BUSN 201) in which students are tasked to come up with an idea for a product or service, to sell and raise money for a community project or charity. They learn about the triple bottom line and how to create a business plan that generates favourable economic, environmental and social outcomes. A microloan enables them to start their own business and incorporate their newly acquired knowledge in a meaningful project. The project is now in its 6th year.


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:

From September 2017 to June 2018, the Office of Sustainability hired four Professional Communications students enrolled in the 'Work Integrated Learning' practicum program to support sustainability communications efforts and program development. Their work included researching local organizations and sustainability practices and statistics to contribute to resource development for the public. By sharing data, stories, and sustainability tips through a newsletter and on social media, the effort of these students contributed to greater awareness of initiatives, programs and events that inspire action for sustainability on campus and beyond. The research and resources they've built is foundational to a MacEwan designed Green Spaces program, which further enables offices and departments to advance their sustainability efforts and be recognized for the strides made.

During this time period, MacEwan Sustainability Volunteers also kept statistics to measure the efficacy of outreach programming. During team reflections, volunteers brainstormed ideas to improve public engagement (such as through games and sustainable give aways), to better raise awareness for sustainability on campus.


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

Peltier Tile Project:
In 2018, a project was initiated to create a piece of artwork by two Bachelor of Arts students, which incorporated sustainable practices in both function and aesthetics. This involves using materials which are sustainable both with the medium and the canvas. The canvas uses peltier tiles which generates electricity through temperature differences. The tiles will be drawn or painted on to create the artwork (art component). The resulting artwork will then be put on display to improve the aesthetics of the working environment (well-being component).


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)?:
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 other areas:

Biodiversity
In November 2017, a group of multidisciplinary students began designing and building a net-zero automated vertical farming system - a self planting and watering garden structure which is solar powered. This project helps students understand sustainability and biodiversity from a systems approach as they tackle multiple challenges (optimized usage of space, water, energy, food, materials; selection of suitable plants, waste managemet) in order to make the resultant system net-zero. The goal is to design a farm bot that optimizes the use of underutilized spaces on MacEwan's outdoor campus and benefits MacEwan's Urban Beekeeping Project as an additional nectar source for pollinators - which was one of the key arguments in the initial grant application. (Hence, the project was placed under 'Biodiversity', not food or grounds).


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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