Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Julie Newman
Submission Date Oct. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 MIT Office of Sustainability
Director
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?:
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:

"MIT launched a multifaceted five-year plan aimed at fighting climate change, representing a new phase in the Institute’s commitment to sustainability and climate action planning. The ""Plan for Action on Climate Change"" articulated its commitment to use MIT's campus as a living laboratory to explore and develop solutions for addressing climate change as one of five pilars of immediate action. (http://web.mit.edu/climateaction/Update-PlanForActionClimateChange-April2016.pdf). MIT has also demonstrated its commitement to living labs by creating a full-time position (Living Lab Design and Strategic Engagement Project Manager) dedicated to cultivating research that uses the MIT campus as a test bed. At MIT, the Living Lab refers to rigorous campus-based research with operational and academic partners, sustained data collection/analysis, formal and informal learning activities and measurable outcomes. A Lablet refers to ideas for research using the campus as a test bed that are in a prototype stage (i.e. research has not been started yet) or short term research using the campus as a test bed (less than six months) and/or that does not otherwise meet the Living Lab criteria."


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:

Building Life Cycle Analysis Living Lab Two research scientists in the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, Jeremy Gregory and Randy Kirchain, received an Incubator Fund Award, administered by the Office of Sustainability, to implement a quantitative approach to evaluating the life cycle economic and environmental impacts of proposed new buildings on campus. While life cycle assessments are already conducted at MIT to calculate buildings’ environmental impacts during the design phase, Gregory’s research team has developed a new method that can be implemented earlier in building design and planning stages than current analyses. It can be used to quantify both embodied impacts (building materials and construction) and operational impacts (energy consumption), mitigating the environmental and economic impacts of new construction projects on campus. The project team includes three members of the Department of Facilities: Director of Campus Construction Richard Amster, Director of Systems Performance and Turnover Wade Berner, and Sustainability Project Manager Randa Ghattas. http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-new-fund-allows-sustainability-researchers-use-campus-living-lab-0721.


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:

Real Time Energy Monitoring Living Lab

In an effort to monitor lab-wide energy consumption, the researchers in the Wang Lab deployed a network of wireless energy monitors called "Wemos" that plug in-line to the outlet with lab devices and broadcast power use data to a computer which is recording and processing data. Devices that do not plug into walls, such as overhead lights and fume hoods, were monitored by analyzing a live stream video. Theis energy monitoring syste not only allows live feedback, but also provides a means to test green practices such a s signage. This work led to the creation of LEAC. The Lab Energy Assessment Center (LEAC) was founded in January 2017 with a mission to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption in MIT’s labs. The LEAC provides energy assessments free of charge to labs on campus to identify how the labs can save energy and implement sustainable practices. Each assessment is conducted by a team of undergraduate students who use a wireless energy monitoring network, which is temporarily installed in the lab being assessed for period of a few days to collect energy-use data. Following the data collection, as well as a lab inspection and discussion with lab users, the team of students assessing the lab compiles inspection results in a comprehensive report that details power consumption patterns, recommends energy-saving and sustainable practices that could be implemented in the lab (for example, automatically turning off overhead lighting, changing freezer setpoints, adding a glove recycling program, etc.), and estimates the potential economic and environmental impact. In addition to the clear environmental impact of reduced resource consumption, the LEAC is a valuable learning experience for the undergraduate members who perform the lab assessments under the guidance of a graduate student advisor and a faculty member. Through the LEAC, these students will have the opportunity to publish results in peer-reviewed journals, present energy-saving methods at conferences, and ultimately grow into sustainability-minded leaders.


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:

Green Box Reusable Food Container Lablet Residents in the Next House Dorm have developed a program that allows diners to check out a reusable ""green box."" The green box program is a collaboration with dining services staff and Next House residents and has been deployed at Baker House, Simmons Hall, and McCormick. Students get a free, wallet-sized card that allows them to checkout an EcoClamshell (also known as eco-takeout boxes or “green boxes”) and then exchange it for a clean one the next day.Now students have the option to bring the green box back the same night in exchange for a card that they can then use to checkout a container in the future.The card idea is similar to what is used in MIT Recreation for gym members to checkout towels. At all times, students are in possession of either a card or a box. Additional or replacement cards cost $5 each.each student gets a green container, they fill it with food. When the container is empty, they drop it off at the cafeteria and when a new clean one. The containers are very durable so are never thrown away- merely reused.


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:

Big Plans Lablet

Students enrolled in the Department of Urban Planning course (11.123) called ""Big Plans"" explored the origins of visionary ideas and the political complexity of developing and implementing Big Plans, their implicaitons for social equity and the enviornment, and the time and spatial skills by which to evaluate their impacts. Led by the instructors, faculty and practitioners, student used the MIT campus as a test bed for understanding planning and environmental issues. Student proposals were presented in a public forum to a panel of planners, industry experts, academics, and veteran practitioners and explored solutions such as creating a Green Space Community, impoving social connectivity for student mental health, wellbeing and resilience with transit structure improvements. Additional information: https://dusp.mit.edu/subject/spring-2018-11123-0. "


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:

Bundling Purchasing Living Lab The MIT Office of Sustainability is collaborating with researchers affiliated with the Sloan School of Management for several years, who are conducting a field experiment on moral and instrumental reasoning in organizations. The research explores how organizations can communicate why they care about conservation-related behaviors in an effort to increase their employees' adoption of them. The experiment proposes to intervene in the normal process through which employees purchase office goods, only manipulating the organizations' stated justification for bundling and will compare purchases in 6-month periods in discrete office clusters. Data is being collected to determine the practical importance of bundling, both in terms of costs and waste/fuel reduction. "


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:

Transportation Living Lab Access MIT is a unique collaboration between the research power of the Transit Lab, the Parking and Transportation Office, and the Office of Sustainability and was conceptualized under the leadership of the Institute’s Committee for Transportation and Parking. By connecting programs, education, decision-making, and modes of transportation, Access MIT strives to create a new awareness and shared understanding of transportation choices. Backed by Transit Lab research, Access MIT launched new programs in 2016 for all benefits-eligible faculty and staff on the Cambridge Campus, with the intent of reducing parking demand on campus. The new programs combined an increase in public transportation benefits (including free local bus/subway access via CharlieCard Chips embedded directly into MIT ID cards) with a shift to daily parking pricing for most parkers. The initiative aligns with MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change, while also seeking to improve the livability of the area, for both the campus community and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Online tools allow commuters to compare transit modes and analyze their carbon footprints, while also offering incentives to encourage car-pooling, biking, walking and the use of public transportation. Reference: http://news.mit.edu/2016/access-mit-program-offers-free-public-transit-to-mit-employees-0614.


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:

A PhD Candidate in MIT's School of Engineering is exploring how materials flow into and out of the MIT campus. Her research is sponsored with a partnership between the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative and the MIT Office of Sustainability. These research activities are informing how campus systems operate, perform and function. The analyses will provide MIT with the data and key findings needed for optimizing material flows via changes in purchasing and disposal behavior, policies, vendor management and material selection. Additional Information: https://sustainability.mit.edu/article/material-flows-mit-qa-rachel-perlman-mitos-fellow-and-student-researcher.


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:

Water Savings in Cooling Towers Living Lab The Varanasi research group has developed a technology that uses electric fields to force escaping steam plumes from power plant towers into a device placed atop the cooling tower outlets. The device captures the water and reintroduces it back into the cooling cycle, reducing water losses for the plant.

The team will install their lab-scale prototype on the cooling towers of the CUP to test the device for efficiency and durability, and to optimize its performance. The researchers estimate that their device can save 15 million gallons of water per year, reducing MIT’s operational costs for the CUP.


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:

Coordination and Planning Lablets MIT has several student groups focused on sustainability efforts. In particular, the Undergraduate Association (UA) Sustainability Committee researches, plans, and executes sustainability initiatives on campus every semester. The Office of Sustainability has actively engaged students in committee memberships to test new approaches in student leadership for campus sustainability governance and program development and assisted with initiatives such as the Spring 2016 report that surveyed undergraduates on their behaviors regarding sustainability in an effort to identify areas of improvement. This report includes responses of over 400 students on questions ranging from "How Often do you Compost," to "How Sustainable do you Think You Are Now?"


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:

Diversity and Affordability-related Living Lab/ Lablet
Evan Apfelbaum, the W. Maurice Young Assistant Professor of Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management, conducted research exploring the idea that researchers have often used homogeneous social groups as a “baseline” to see what effects social diversity can have — within schools such as MIT, within the workplace, in organizations, and also in markets. The research suggests that there are good reasons to think that such an approach fails to fully capture the social dynamics in play. In an article (Rethinking the Baseline in Diversity Research) published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Apfelbaum and his co-authors — Katherine Phillips of Columbia University and Jennifer Richeson of Northwestern University explain reasons to consider new approaches to diversity studies at MIT, and elsewhere.

As another example within the Diversity & Affordability domain, the "You are Welcome Here" Campaign that mails out over 12,000 index cards every year to all professors and staff. The cards have a rainbow on it, and a message that reads "You are welcome here." Professors, staff, students, and all members of the MIT community can ask for a free card, and are encouraged to display it in their offices, dorms room, and other spaces. The card's intent is to send a message of inclusion to all members of the LGBT community at MIT.

The “You are Welcome Here” campaign seeks to increase visibility, to identify multiple points of access to LBGT support services, and to create a more welcoming campus environment. By posting the sign, individuals are affirming that they:

Will avoid heterosexist assumptions, confront homophobia, and use inclusive language (“partner” or “spouse,” rather than “boyfriend” or “wife”);

Believe that the MIT campus is enriched by the inclusion of LBGT people; and
Will refer individuals to the lbgt@MIT and other appropriate resources.
In connection with the “You are Welcome Here” campaign, the LBGT Issues Group has established a monthly email newsletter for participants in the program. The newsletter has information on current LBGT-related issues and events affecting the MIT community.

The Campaign is built upon similar “Safe Space” programs that have been implemented in schools, universities, companies, and communities across the United States.

Source 1: http://yawh.mit.edu/.
Source 2: http://lbgt.mit.edu/yawh2015.php.


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:

A student team from the Fundamentals of Photovoltaics Course (2.627/2.626) studied the solar potential of campus rooftops. Using the MapDwell Tool, students determined which roof areas on campus get enough sunlight to allow solar cells to pay for themselves in seven years or less. The team also developed an investment proposal for installing a comprehensive program of solar voltaic systems on MIT rooftops that was presented to senior leadership and a supporting tool developed by the student team has been incorporated into an on-going campus-wide sustainable roof assessment program.


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:

The MIT Earth Day Collective is pleased to announce our third annual Earth Day Mini Grant program offering funding (up to $500 per team) for the MIT community (staff, students, faculty) to develop innovative & interactive campus projects promoting sustainability this April near Earth Day (April 22, 2017).

These small grants seek to encourage student, staff, and faculty teams to develop creative projects on campus that harness their scientific, social, artistic, and technological problem-solving skills. Projects promote climate action, resource-efficiency, sustainable behavior and more. Grants are made possible by groups such as the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative , MIT Energy Initiative , Sloan Sustainability Initiative , the MIT Recycling Office , MIT Environment, Health, & Safety Office, and MIT Office of Campus Planning. Previous grant recipients included Up-cycled Crafts and Living a Zero-Waste Life, How to Start a Compost Collection, Eco-Foodware and Composting Information Session, Water Bottles Orientation and the Shut the Sash Program for Labs. For more information: https://sustainability.mit.edu/mit-earth-day-collective-grants.


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:

Wellbeing Living Lab (MIT Media Lab)
The SNAPSHOT study seeks to measure Sleep, Networks, Affect, Performance, Stress, and Health using Objective Techniques. It is an NIH-funded collaborative research project between the Affective Computing and Macro Connections groups, and Harvard Medical School's Brigham & Women's hospital. Since fall 2013, we've run this study to collect one month of data every semester from 50 MIT undergraduate students who are socially connected. We have collected data from about 250 participants, totaling over 7,500 days of data. We measure physiological, behavioral, environmental, and social data using mobile phones, wearable sensors, surveys, and lab studies. We investigate how daily behaviors and social connectivity influence sleep behaviors and health, and outcomes such as mood, stress, and academic performance. Using this multimodal data, we are developing models to predict onsets of sadness and stress. For more information, please refer to this link: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/snapshot-study/overview/.

Well Being and Work Lablet MIT has numerous student-led and run organizations. For example, the group Active Minds is:
- A student-led initiative for better health and wellness, stress relief, and health education
- Students who use peer-to-peer outreach for health advocacy and education with a focus on mental health
- A liaison between students and the administration/mental health community

The group brings therapy dogs to campus once a semester. All students are invited to come. The therapy dogs are specially used during particularly stressful times, such as after the Boston marathon bombings, and during finals week.

Source: http://activeminds.mit.edu/


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:

The Borderline is a a 200ft long wall under the campus of MIT with murals and magic.The tunnel in question runs directly underneath Vassar St., connecting buildings 66 and E17. It is a tunnel commonly used by students and staff throughout winter, or in particularly nasty weather. It’s always been seen as a useful connection to get from point A to point B. But through Borderline, the tunnel is transformed into a destination.The murals have been created by twenty-five MIT-affiliated artists. The goal is to have one large, woven-together mural by May.The magic comes in the form of augmented reality. Murals will have an AR integrated component that can be accessed by viewers through a mobile phone app.


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