Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 11, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Michigan State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Lisa Desprez
Administrative Assistant
IPF Strategic Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate ---
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---
Public Engagement No
Other No

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

When MSU joined the Better Buildings Challenge in 2011, a national program designed to reduce energy use, it planned to meet the national goal of a 20 percent reduction by the year 2020. However, just more than two years into the program in 2014, the university is more than halfway to that 20 percent goal. MSU achieved a 10 percent reduction in energy intensity as of May 2014, which is the amount of energy used per square foot. MSU was one of 30 partners, out of a total of 190, that achieved a 10 percent reduction. (http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/msu-zeroing-in-on-energy-reduction-goals/)
The Buildings Services department of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities employs many student workers, and some get hired full-time once they graduate. In addition, students are normally on some of the teams for the Spartan Treasure Hunts, which is the building commissioning program done on all buildings across campus. The Sustainability department has a student intern whose main duties include supporting this program. Building Services also works jointly on or supports research done by faculty and students.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

A large number of students are employed by the Culinary Services department of our Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) unit. In addition, RHS has a Sustainability department whose mission is "Dedication to promoting and advancing environmental stewardship throughout RHS and MSU by providing a high level of leadership to meet the environmental stewardship goals of MSU and RHS." Among other things, RHS Sustainability does food waste audits in the dining halls every year. This department also employs a student intern.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

There are several alternative energy research projects occurring at MSU. A team of researchers at MSU has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface. (http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/solar-energy-that-doesnt-block-the-view/)
An anaerobic digester that reuses waste from Michigan State University’s farms and dining halls and create energy for several buildings on the south end of campus began operations in August 2013. This system is the largest on a college campus in the United States. (http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/new-msu-anaerobic-digester-to-supply-power-for-south-campus-buildings/)
In April 2015, MSU installed a solar-powered picnic table in the South Campus Courtyard, providing students with a sustainable location to charge electronic devices. The installation of the solar-powered table was championed by the student group known as the Sustainable Spartans, who received funding from MSU Sustainability to finance the project. (http://bespartangreen.msu.edu/news.php?id=2015-04-28-new-solar-table-provides-eco-friendly-workspace)


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Landscape Services, a department in the Infrastructure Planning and Facilities unit, employs many students year round to take care of MSU's huge and beautiful campus, which is considered an arboretum. Landscape Services also works jointly on or supports research done by faculty and students.
The U.S. EPA Office of Water held their 2nd annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for 2013 for college and university students. A team of 10 MSU students from the School of Planning, Design and Construction’s Landscape Architecture Program and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering won second place in this competition with their project on “Stormwater Management Master Plan for Central Campus.." (http://www.spdc.msu.edu/programs/landscape_architecture/epa_campus_rainworks_challenge)


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In accordance with their mission, MSU Bikes is dedicated to supporting and promoting fun and utilitarian, yet safe bicycling culture through advocacy and education. MSU Bikes hosts a number of classes, workshops and clinics on campus designed to teach basic bicycle mechanics, proper fit, riding safely and bike commuting. Our staff provides one-on-one education and advice on the above topics for no charge to the campus community. Our Center is also a learning site for annual events like 4-H Exploration Days and Grandparent’s University. We also offer more in-depth hands-on classes at our shop and at the Educational Center of MSU Surplus & Recycling. Additionally we continue to add articles to our blog that cover miscellaneous bike maintenance, repair, riding tips, and bicycle culture topics.
MSU Bikes staff regularly meets with student, faculty, and staff representatives, campus planners, engineers, and administrators to discuss improvements to bicycle infrastructure. MSU Bikes also employs a number of MSU students. (http://bikes.msu.edu/?page_id=73)


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

MSU Recycling and Surplus Store are departments of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. Both departments employ students, especially MSU Recycling in its material recovery/waste sort facility. MSU Recycling also employs a few waste reduction coordinator student interns, and get students to volunteer to assist with recycling at home football games and other large on-campus events. The MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center hosts many student class tours and special classes in its education center. The departments also work jointly on or supports research done by faculty and students.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

MSU's main campus includes a large amount of acreage devoted to agriculture crop research, turfgrass research, and horticulture research. In addition, the Red Cedar River flows through the center of campus, offering many classes and students a research location, whether looking at the water quality its potential for hydro power. See http://water.msu.edu/education/ for information on educational programs and courses at MSU that focus on water.
MSU Sustainability's Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund provided funding for a campus stormwater walking tour in 2014, which features many of the sustainable stormwater management practices on campus. See http://msu-water.msu.edu/stormwater-walking-tour/.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

There are several student organizations on campus whose focus is sustainability-related and MSU Sustainability works with all of these organizations to provide resources, networking opportunities, and research funding. The director of MSU Sustainability is the advisor for one of these groups also, the Sustainable Spartans. In 2014, this student group was responsible for getting the first solar picnic table installed on campus, with assistance from MSU Sustainability and RHS Sustainability.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:

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.