Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.63
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Aug. 22, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

McGill University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Haejoo Oh
Applied Student Research Intern
McGill 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:

A group of students in an environment research class conducted a research project, examining greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the context of the university. The students developed a set of GHG conversion factors that are applicable to the university. The project provided an applicable tool and metric that could be used to track and monitor the environmental footprint of the university.


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:

The LEEDing change project aims to update building standards at McGill by reviewing existing practices and institutionalizing cultural change with key stakeholders so that building to green building standards becomes ‘business as usual’ instead of additional, optional work. With the support of some students, the leader of that project is researching opportunities and making recommendations for the university's stakeholders to integrate green building planning, research, and techniques.


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:

Three engineering students conducted a research project analyzing energy usage within research labs, to design an Energy Management Toolkit for all research laboratories at the university. The proposed system solution records and monitors energy consumption of research equipment, and helps users understand the data to effectively reduce energy consumption. This project fostered environmental awareness in the faculty of engineering, and provided insights into reducing energy consumption.


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:

A group of students, the McGill Food Systems Project (MFSP), is regularly using the university as a Living Lab by conducting various researches on its food systems and making recommendations to the administration, most of which are usually implemented. For instance, the MFSP conducted a research project called the "Real Food Challenge". The Real Food Challenge offers a comprehensive and decisive definition for ‘real food’ and sets a high standard upheld consistently among institutions and supports campuses to set quantitative goals while tracking their progress. Real Food meets third-party certifications and is based on criteria assessing the degree to which food is ecologically sound, local and community based, fair and humane. With this project, McGill cafeterias were able to gain practical recommendations to become more sustainable.


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:

N/A


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:

Procurement conducted different applied-student research projects: 1) one Environment student explored and benchmarked other Universities' first steps in tracking and communicating their GHG emissions; 2) 3 electrical engineering students looked at different options for the sustainable purchasing and management of University lab fridges and freezers, measuring the actual energy efficiency of appliances and proposing different models for improving the management of these equipment on campus; 3) some Education students developed and disseminated a survey within their department, in order to assess the community's perceived and actual contribution to sustainability (and sustainable procurement) within their department; 4) four other projects with about 20 students in the Faculty of Management investigated various sustainability procurement issues (including investigating delivery logistics and packaging waste, exploring other Universities' carbon offsetting schemes, and the management of lab plastics, and so on).


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:

The Transportation Research at McGill (TRAM) research group brings together researchers, faculty members, and students to conduct research primarily in the field of transportation planning and operations. TRAM is a multidisciplinary team in the School of Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The main goal of this group is to generate valuable research of benefit to the McGill community and to educate students through real world transportation planning projects. TRAM produces several cycling and transportation surveys that are then integrated to transportation planning on campus.


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 student conducted a research project regarding the university farm's organic waste management. The project proposes anaerobic digestion as an alternate method of organic waste management, and includes a sample project design that can be implemented at the university.


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 in a research class conducted a project to develop a methodology that would allow them to determine how much water is consumed in a single building on campus without the use of meters. From the project, the students were able to analyze water consumption for the whole chemistry department of the university.


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:

Students conducted a study on the narratives of campus politics (analyzing official documents, emails, press releases, reports, speeches) to address how the university has begun to resemble less of a community and more of a corporation. The project helps the student body understand the university's campus politics, and communicates how the current system undermines the mechanisms of accountability within the university.


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:

Through the McGill Undergraduate Students' Society Student Research Competition, two undergradute researches have been conducted in relation to Diversty and Affordability to assess and, where appropriate, improve how McGill is doing on those two dimensions. The 1st research looked at barriers to education for black students, while the 2nd research studied the experience of 1st-generation university students (of migrant parents or of parents who did not access higher education) at McGill and specific barriers to affordability, among others comparing financial aid data of McGill with other universities. These reports are made accessible for policy making.


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 group of students did a research project exploring the university's potential violation of laws in its investment in fossil fuel companies, and evaluated the ability of existing regulatory frameworks to capture any violations. The students developed an evidence-based strategy report, and summarized the relevant findings in an accesssible format, to broaden the research's audience. This project generated awareness about the university's involvement in the fossil fuel industry, contributing to the collective student, faculty, and staff movement for divestment.


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:

A group of students conducted a study to improve services provided by the McGill University's Gault Nature Reserve, a nature park open to the public. The students gathered information about the habits and preferences of visitors at the nature park, and were tasked with gathering data on how the park management should accommodate the increase of visitation. This project produced many insights in boosting the performance of services at the nature park.


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:

A student from the McGill Food Systems Project partnered with Food and Dining Services to implement a "Meatless Monday" initiative in the university's cafeterias. The goal is to help reduce meat consumption by 15%, and allow all students to improve their personal health, and the health of the planet. Many cafeteria students engage in this initiative, and are now more aware of the negative impacts of meat consumption. The program encourages many students to make healthy and sustainable food choices.


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 McGill Office of Sustainability currently facilitates a Living Lab Collaborative advancing student collaboration to promote applied student research on campus. The Collaborative is a support/resource hub facilitating applied student research, empowering students to go beyond the learning in the classroom to create an impactful change on campus.


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