Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.96
Liaison Adam Sizemore
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Miami University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Susan Meikle
University News writer and editor
University Communications
"---" 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:

Master's degree students in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability are required to complete a Professional Service Project, M.En. student teams provide help to 3 clients that have requested assistance in solving environmental problems or to improve the sustainability of their organizations and practices.

In 2018-19 a team is conducting a Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the city of Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University). The City of Oxford, Ohio would like to explore possible actions to protect the long-term quality of life and economic well-being of its residents from the impacts of climate change. This team will conduct a GHG inventory for the City of Oxford to determine baseline emissions measures from which to develop a city emissions reduction plan.

In 2017-2018, one PSP project conducted a feasibility study of the city of Oxford, Ohio signing the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

http://miamioh.edu/cas/academics/programs/ies/academics/masters/psp/index.html


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:

Miami engineering and architecture students in faculty-mentored teams entered the 2018 U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Competition and won first and second places.

This competition challenges college students to create zero-energy buildings, while working with outside builders and community developers.

Team EcoEdge entered the small, multifamily category and received first place. Their design, Freedom’s Path to Zero, was designed to house veterans at the VA Medical campus in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Team Optimize received second place in the attached housing category. Like Team EcoEdge, they also chose to focus their efforts on helping members of the armed forces, focusing on military family housing at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

In addition to uses of sustainable design concepts and sources of renewable energy, both teams worked to create housing designs that were universally accessible, regardless of disability.


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:

Students have the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored undergraduate research in a number of areas relating to energy: in chemistry, microbiology and engineering departments, student work on projects ranging from researching the burning properties of biomass briquettes, a block of combined combustible material used as fuel to find the combination of material that burns the cleanest and is the most efficient; to alternative photosynthetic pathways by algae for increased biofuel production; to protein transport in the energy-harvesting complexes of photosynthetic pathways to develop more efficient biofuels.

Other students in the Socially Engaged Engineering Major and those in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program complete internships in fields such as renewable energy ( A senior computer and electrical engineering major had the chance to intern with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) summer 2018 through the national Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP).

Also - senior engineering students complete a 1 or 2-semester senior design projects, usually as part of a team. These projects have recently included a movable solar panel array for providing power to a water pump.


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:

Miami's Institute for Food offers courses and internships advancing knowledge and hands-on skills in creating sustainable change in the local food system. Student interns can work during an entire semester or a summer, on the Institute for Food Farm adjacent to campus. Interns can focus also on sourcing local food for Miami's dining services.

Some interns/apprentices on the farm work as local food sourcing coordinator at Miami's Culinary Support Center, finding ways to use the farm's produce in campus dining halls, at university catering events, and even at 'convenience store' locations on campus such as MacCracken Market.
Other interns and students conduct market research and others helped implement a community garden for children living a local low-income housing area near campus.

All students in the course AMS/IES 278 - Introduction to Food Systems & Food Studies, which examines the origins, implications, and practices of the current food system and explores new approaches to sustainable agriculture —  are involved in hands-on experience harvesting at the Miami University Farm.

Students in AMS/IES 405/440/540 - Food Studies Workshop are involved in service and research for the Institute for Food.
https://miamioh.edu/cas/academics/centers/iff/academics/courses/index.html


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:

Master's degree students in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability are required to complete a Professional Service Project, M.En. student teams provide help to 3 clients that have requested assistance in solving environmental problems or to improve the sustainability of their organizations and practices. In 2018-2019 a team is leading a project to transform a former soccer field on campus into a Natural Areas space. Miami University's Natural Areas Committee is seeking to find an alternative, educational use for a 10-acre plot of land within the Natural Areas that had previously been used for soccer fields. They would like the new use to complement current features in the Natural Areas, to support the Natural Area's mission of research and education, and to expand educational offerings to allow anyone from hikers to school groups to explore and learn about the natural environment on their own.


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

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:

Students in the 2017-2018 Interdisciplinary Synthesis and Action (WST341) course worked on tracking bike racks, bike lanes and other data required in the League of American Bicyclists application for Bike Friendly University award program.

Students in a kinesiology class helped to create and repair mountain bike trails in a local state park, Hueston Woods.
Mechanical and manufacturing engineering students in their senior capstone class work in teams on developing an app to help student, faculty, staff and visitors who have some disability to navigate campus in safe paths.
The app is designed to provide feedback in various modalities.  This may include maps or oral instructions.


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:

Students in the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability MEn program in 2017-2018 conducted a Public Service Project to Develop Strategies to Reduce Contamination at Drop-Off Recycling Facilities in the nearby counties, Adams and Clermont Counties.


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:

Students have the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored undergraduate research in a number of areas relating to water: in chemistry, microbiology and engineering departments, students work on projects ranging from researching ammonia oxidizing bacteria, used for wastewater treatment; a current faculty-mentored chemistry student team project recently received an EPA People, Plant and Prosperity Phase 1 grant for $15,000 to Synthesize Fluorinated Hydrocarbon Anion Exchange Resins for the Extraction of Perfluorinated Chemicals and other students in bioengineering are working on faculty-mentored research with Jason Berberich on ways to detect very low amounts of arsenic in ground and drinking water.


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:

In 2016, Miami University updated our sustainability commitment and goals and included a goal to demonstrate that faculty, staff, and students have achieved a level of sustainability literacy through a literacy survey. Since adopting this goal, Miami University has utilized students through internships and Public Service Projects to coordinate the planning and implementation of the survey. The first student project compiled a question bank from other higher education institutions based on the three pillars of sustainability. In 2018, another student extended this work by reviewing and revising the sustainability literacy assessment and sustainability culture questions, as well as provide recommendations for the administration of the assessment. As of February 2019, students in Farmer School of Business are building on these previous projects to finalize survey questions and coordinate/plan the implementation of the survey. These three projects have utilized applied student research to coordinate and implement a campus-wide sustainability survey.


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

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

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

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:

Miami's Benefits and Wellness office runs a Wellness program for staff that covers Fitness For Life programs, biometric screenings, blood pressure screenings (all on campus), health coaching, nutrition workshops, financial wellness workshops and events and challenges (such as Hike a Thon at Miami's Natural Areas, Miami 5K). Up to 10 students a year are offered internships for the academic year (earning academic credit) to help run the wellness program for almost 12 years now. We take up to 10 students in fall and they work with us for a full academic year. The program has more than 100 alum from our internship and many of them go on to careers in health and wellness.


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:

Students in Mike Stahr's computer programming class worked with students in educational psychology to develop an app for school-aged children to talk about mental health. The app is called How Zoo You Feel? And since it is meant for children, it will engage young learners through a fun and colorful user-friendly interface.

Ideally the app would be regularly used by an entire class and lead by a teacher who also explains why the activity is important. So alongside identifying any hidden red flags, it’s also about normalizing a conversation around mental health and wellness, and at a much earlier age.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

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.