Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 31.69
Liaison Sally Hopley
Submission Date Aug. 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

Metropolitan Community College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.80 / 4.00 Sally Hopley
Coordinator of Sustainable Practices
Campus Planning and Sustainability
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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?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
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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 Public Engagement?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:
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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 Air & Climate?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:
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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 Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:

With the expansion of the Fort Omaha Campus, a LEED Green Educational Walk was developed and implemented. The Educational Signage was designed by MCC’s Information Design Class in the Fall of 2016. Students toured a signage fabrication studio, the buildings under construction, and referenced USGBC’s Green Building Design & Construction LEED Reference Guide to design the signage, in consultation with MCC Campus Planning & Sustainability staff. The signage will remain intact for future students and staff. New digital signage will be available in our new Automotive building which will be complete in fall 2021.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
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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 Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:

Our Dining Services/Food is highlighted by our Institute for the Culinary Arts which houses our culinary and hospitality program as well as our Sage Student Bistro. The bistro is open to the public during the academic year to provide hospitality students a chance to interact in a real restaurant setting while our culinary students prepare the meals. This has been a great collaboration with the programs and has been very well received by the public for offering quality meals at reasonable prices and great service.

The Bistro also features food from our Horticulture department, including a large herb garden that features outside of the Bistro. The Bistro's renovation also features sustainability elements, such as reclaimed wood tables. Catering by the Bistro uses compostable containers and has reduced waste where possible.


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:

MCC's Fort Omaha Campus is part of the Statewide Nebraska Arboretum program. The arboretum designation is a great benefit to our horticulture students as they are able to find a wide variety of specimens to study and incorporate into their work. This has also allowed the students with ample opportunities to host informational walking tours, Ambassadors for Earth Day, and really gives them a chance to learn more about the different species in-depth and share that knowledge with the surrounding community.

Natural Systems class uses the bioretention garden and campus green roofs to
study how green infrastructure works. Perennials class studies the native plants we have in our perennial garden.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
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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:

MCC has a location primarily focused on transportation, our Automotive Technology Center (ATC) and the students have been actively using campus fleet vehicles as learning tools. Through a grant, ATC students were able to convert some of our standard vehicles to CNG vehicles. We have since increased our use of and purchase of additional CNG vehicles based on their project. Additionally, at our South Omaha Campus in the Auto Tech program, the students have an electrical vehicle (2015 Nissan Leaf) that they use as part of their program to learn about the mechanics of EVs.

Our new Automotive building includes two, level two electric vehicle chargers and one DC Fast Charger, which are open to the public and the program. This building also features a showroom for cars, including electric vehicles.


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:

Both our Horticulture and Culinary programs use a compost station built by horticulture students. The compost station is used by culinary students to dispose of kitchen waste that was created during lectures or meal prep for Sage Student Bistro. The horticulture students can then use the compost for our garden beds. Having this closed-loop cycle encourages students to consider the cost and environmental benefits in a way that is not part of their typical program. In addition, it also assists in teaching our students the benefits of knowing where food comes from and the growing process - something the culinary and hospitality students can share with diners at the Sage Student Bistro.

As the Culinary and Horticulture programs transfer to the industrial composting system, education on and field trips to the industrial composting system will be offered.


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:

MCC has a green roof rain shelter and bioretention garden that was built in partnership with the City of Omaha. The green roof rain shelter allows students to learn about water collection and reusing in the garden areas. The bioretention garden provides students the opportunity to see the current bioretention garden and develop ways for improvement for other potential sites on campus and within the community. It provides hands-on learning, including plantings, and best management practices to our students which they can then implement into their course projects occurring within the community and work outside of the classroom.

Site Systems class studied the water distribution of building 29 on the Fort campus and proposed a built catchment system, which was then built.


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:

In 2020, several presentations were offered on the planning process and outcomes of the Sustainability Master Plan. The goals of the SMP are also included in new student orientation.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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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 Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
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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 Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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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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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.