Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mara Spears
Sustainability Program Coordinator
Office of the EVP for Administration
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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 team of students in Applied Engineering worked with MSU Infrastructure and Planning Facilities to develop a business case for a campus-wide temperature control guideline. This guideline includes multiple approaches acknowledging the fact that IPF utilizes a variety of technologies, including direct digital control (DDC). Big data analysis techniques were used to pinpoint weak systems and prioritize the order in which they should be updated. Additionally, a statistic-based marketing scheme was developed to encourage behavioral shifts towards sustainability. This project will serve as the foundation for a campus- wide cultural and behavioral shift towards increased HVAC efficiency and sustainability.
Perrigo Holland wants to contribute to the corporate goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% by the year 2020. Biosystems students formed a team called the Energy Pharmers, whose goal was to create a manufacturing plant energy audit and optimization measurement system. The students performed an energy audit to evaluate the facility’s energy profile and recommended energy conservation measures that are anticipated to offset the impact of the new addition on overall energy consumption.


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:

A team of students in Applied Engineering worked with MSU Infrastructure and Planning Facilities to develop a business case for a campus-wide temperature control guideline. This guideline includes multiple approaches acknowledging the fact that IPF utilizes a variety of technologies, including direct digital control (DDC). Big data analysis techniques were used to pinpoint weak systems and prioritize the order in which they should be updated. Additionally, a statistic-based marketing scheme was developed to encourage behavioral shifts towards sustainability. This project will serve as the foundation for a campus- wide cultural and behavioral shift towards increased HVAC efficiency and sustainability.
A Registered Student Organization called Sustainable Spartans worked with Infrastructure and Planning Facilities (IPF) to survey the campus Main Library roof to assess feasibility of planting a green roof. The students worked with IPF Sustainability Officer Anne Erhardt to organize facilities personal to conduct the survey, and the students led the planning process. Implementation of the Library Green roof is scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year.


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:

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.
The 2016 Solar Design Competition hosted student project ideas for solar panel implementation on campus. Students from Sustainable Spartans worked with their faculty advisor, the sustainability officer in Infrastructure and Planning Facilities (IPF), other sustainability employees from IPF, and with entrepreneur student managers at Spartan innovations on the design and planning. A solar light was placed on a bus stop post just outside Akers Hall on campus. The light has been installed since Summer 2017 and was funded by the Be Spartan Green fund.


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:

The Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program and the Student Organic Farm both grow and sell produce to various campus dining halls. The RISE Bailey Greenhouse sells enough produce to financially break even annually. In
addition, the Bailey Hoop house is an organic and student run green house which produces herbs and greens year round. The students in RISE work with advisors and facilities workers to build the beds when the farm expands, learning collaborative team building skills in the process. Farming the space and selling to dining hall managers an chefs teaches the students about circular economy elements and sustainable economics. The Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm are third-party certified organic, and the students learn and apply sustainable farming practices to the cultivation of the crops. The students who grow the food also eat at the dining halls that use that produce in their dishes. RISE students are enrolled in their program for credit, and are required to contribute to the greenhouses as part of that credit.
Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) hosts an annual fall semester waste diversion event series called Clean Plates at State. This program is made up of three months of food waste weighing at the Brody Dining Hall on campus. The program works in partnership with HNF 440: Community Engaged Learning. Students speak with every patron of the dining call for a three hour period and weigh the waste left on plates at the conclusion of each person's meal to demonstrate the waste accumulation of leftover food. Students are involved in the program through formal agreements with their courses and professors (HNF 440, and others; varies by semester), and the hours they spend at clean plates count towards their curriculum credit. Classes involved include those in nutrition and dietetics, sustainability introductory courses, and several agriculture classes. All collected food is composted. 


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:

Students in the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment are constantly working on the grounds around their on-campus living spaces in the Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm. Students work to grow food crops in the Midwest in winter, and their applied research requires them to figure soil amendments and pests, as well as researching and applying compost practices in weather below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Students in MSU's Landscape and Nursery Management, Horticulture, and Construction Management programs all work across MSU's expansive campus in in the greenhouses, hoop houses, and gardens to cultivate the native and perennial plants that grow there. The students learn best practices in landscape management and built environment curriculums, and are able to apply their knowledge to the grounds of MSU.
In coordination with MSU Infrastructure and Planning Facilities (IPF), Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS), and students across campus, a designated area for hammocking was created for students. This area is intended to help students relax and it serves as a restful and social space for students who wish to hammock on campus. The students involved in the project worked with IPF and RHS to map out the locations and number of hammock poles. Students worked with IPF in purchasing the poles and equipment needed to create the space, which cost $1,200 including a 10% contingency.
MSU Land Management operates an anaerobic digester. Effluent is drained from the digester daily and it is stored in a holding tank. A few times a year the holding tank is drained for application on agricultural lands. However, not all of this effluent can be land applied due to run off potential and odor. Remaining effluent must be exported at a high cost. A faculty team was assembled and has designed a system to separate some of the liquid from the effluent so that it can be better managed. The remaining nutrients can be land applied for plant growth.
Students installed a Pollinator Garden at NW Wells Hall Entrance; the students involved are both RISE students. They received $750 grant from Spartan Innovations toward the project, and donated design and balance of labor and materials.


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:

MSU Recycling Center and Surplus Store employs over 80 students, and each student learns about the lifecycle of products and the journey from cradle to grave during their employment there. Surplus store students are instructed in item pricing and purchasing to assess the financial value of products meant for re-sell. Surplus Store student employees also deal with customer purchases, returns, inquiries, and drop-offs of items.
Students who run Land Grant Goods, the first student-run MSU business, learn how to manage a small business, learn and apply sustainable business practices, and learn how to sell to campus stores and buy packaging for their products. Land Grant Goods students are immersed in the entrepreneurial sustainable business practice, and are required to report to an advisory board of faculty annually. 


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 Electrical and Computer Engineering 480 designed a device to combat the danger of silent electric cars on the road, which can threaten a pedestrian, especially in high foot-traffic areas like the MSU campus. General Motors challenged students at MSU to solve this issue, by developing a new kind of sound-emitting device that notifies pedestrians of the approaching car. The team developed a piezoelectric speaker array that emits a frequency modulated ultrasonic tone consisting of an audio signal and a carrier signal. When the sound waves hit an object, the signals mix and deconstruct into an audio-band signal that can be heard.
Five civil and environmental engineering teams spent a semester on a proposed trail planning project: a five-mile pathway linking the MSU campus to Lake Lansing. Designs were inspired by a project currently under development in Meridian Township, east of campus. The first phase of the project is a river trail extension from the east limit of Michigan State’s campus (Shaw Lane at Hagadorn Road) about 1.1 miles along the north side of the Red Cedar River to Park Lake Road. The project will include a new pedestrian bridge crossing the Red Cedar River, as well as two separate boardwalk locations.
Students in Applied Engineering assembled a team to perform market research on the demand for Electric Vehicle charging stations and derive a recommendation for how many new charging stations should be installed as well as where to install them. They should be located in places where it is both convenient for users to access as well as be compatible with the current infrastructure of campus, specifically in terms of electrical power draw capability and potential remote monitoring capabilities. This recommendation will also be dependent on projections of expected use of EV/Plug-In Hybrid vehicles among drivers at MSU.


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:

Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) hosts an annual fall semester waste diversion event called Clean Plates at State. This program is made up of three months of food waste weighing at the Brody Dining Hall on campus. Volunteers speak with every patron of the dining call for a three hour period and weigh the waste left on plates at the conclusion of each person's meal to demonstrate the waste accumulation of leftover food. Students are involved in the program through formal agreements with their courses and professors, and the hours they spend at clean plates count towards their curriculum credit. Classes involved include those in nutrition and dietetics, sustainability introductory courses, and several agriculture classes. All collected food is composted.
MSU Land Management operates an anaerobic digester. Effluent is drained from the digester daily and it is stored in a holding tank. A few times a year the holding tank is drained for application on agricultural lands. However, not all of this effluent can be land applied due to run off potential and odor. Remaining effluent must be exported at a high cost. A faculty team was assembled and has designed a system to separate some of the liquid from the effluent so that it can be better managed. The remaining nutrients can be land applied for plant growth.


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:

Danny Jacques, a landscape services staff member, prepared a presentation for one of MSU’s Institute of Agricultural Technologies (IAT) lab courses. The IAT is a statewide and national highly respected certificate program, where students learn and develop skills through classroom instruction and field laboratories. Every year, IAT 2-year Horticulture Program Coordinator, Marcus Duck, works with Landscape Services to facilitate hands-on informative labs for his students to experience. Danny educated the students at the Molecular Plant Sciences Building about materials and procedures used by Landscape Services to maintain the campus irrigation systems that operates from mid-April to November.
MSU holds a permit for the Phase II Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. MI0059342. The permit allows for discharges from a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). MSU is working to meet its permit requirements by implementing campus-based stormwater management activities and collaborative activities with other communities within the Greater Lansing urbanized area. Best management practices, updated campus stormwater information, and interaction with MSU staff who carry out such practices are all embedded in the curriculum of CSUS 354, Water
Resources Management and CSUS 200, Introduction to Sustainability.
WATER MOVES MSU: Water moves was  a year long program in the academic year 2016-2017, with diverse activities including art, film, music, performances, lectures, events, and exhibits. By inviting guest speakers on water to the MSU campus – including artists, scholars, authors, musicians, filmmakers, lawmakers and government officials – MSU aimed to educate to empower community action, inspire creativity, and instill a sense of urgency to respect and appreciate the most prevalent and precious resource on our planet. The initiative strengthened the university-wide focus on water and cut across multiple strategic imperatives under Bolder by Design: enriching the student experience, global inclusiveness, and engaging the community.


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 Food Product Marketing (FIM 220), students conduct community studies and focus groups. These studies gauge interest in sustainability topics and gather ideas to create improvement or implementation plans for sustainability practices in MSU departments. In one class, students from Food Industry Management, Agri-Business Management, and Environmental Economics and Management did a focus group project involving MSU Residence and Hospitality Services (RHS). The group focused on reusable containers for the campus combo exchange program. They met with students, RHS, Culinary Services, and Sparty’s to get their thoughts on a program. Through this research the students learned more about each area's sustainability practices, what can be improved, and formed ideas on what the program could look like. Results from the focus groups are being used at RHS Sustainability.


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:

Students in Mechanical Engineering 481 worked with MSU’s Adaptive Sports & Recreation Club and the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to upgrade wheelchairs for student-athletes with disabilities. The mechanical engineering students worked closely with the athletes and created several different wheelchairs. The project was for students with disabilities that impact function in the upper limbs, in order to better accommodate a wider range of students with disabilities.
A graduate student in MSU Kinesiology asked students in Mechanical Engineering 481 to modify a walker for more aggressive training. The graduate student, who has cerebral palsy, worked with the team to create a safe, durable and ergonomic posterior posture walker that easily moves with the user during sports activities. The team designed a walker for use on track, turf, and basketball court surfaces. The device is intended to be used by persons with partial control over their lower limbs. The design incorporated ergonomic handgrips, a foot shield for the back wheels, and a switch to lock/unlock the front wheels. The sponsor of the project is the MSU Adaptive Sports & Recreation Club.


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:

MSU Land Management operates an anaerobic digester. Effluent is drained from the digester daily and it is stored in a holding tank. A few times a year the holding tank is drained for application on agricultural lands. However, not all of this effluent can be land applied due to run off potential and odor. Remaining effluent must be exported at a high cost. A faculty team was assembled and has designed a system to separate some of the liquid from the effluent so that it can be better managed. The remaining nutrients can be land applied for plant growth. This process allows MSU to create a closed-loop system from waste to an application product; because the digester would be running regardless, the nutrient-rich by-product is free and is a great example of a circular economy practice. 


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:

Courses in the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism take students out of the classroom and into neighboring communities, and sometimes abroad. Classes such as JRN 472 take students to nearby cities to learn about climate injustices and water issues. Instructors lead studies in focused studies around concepts related to the environment; the idea is to study and report on environmental issues that transcend international boundaries.


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:

"In coordination with MSU Infrastructure and Planning Facilities (IPF), Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS), and students across campus, a designated area for hammocking was created for students. This area is intended to help students relax and it serves as a restful and social space for students who wish to hammock on campus. The students involved in the project worked with IPF and RHS to map out the locations and number of hammock poles. Students worked with IPF in purchasing the poles and equipment needed to create the space, which cost $1,200 including a 10% contingency.
RISE has a student team dedication to health and wellness. The team hosts a series of workshops throughout the year to provide their peers with skills such as yoga, mindfulness, time-management, and a variety of therapeutic crafts."


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 enroll in a course called Snares to Wares; an experiential, interdisciplinary, and entrepreneurial problem-based class. The course explores issues concerning the conservation of wildlife and preservation of human well-being in East Africa. The course ties to the Snares to Wares initiative in East Africa. Robert Montgomery, Assistant Professor in MSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Tutilo Mudumba, a doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, began the program. Snares to Wares removes wire snares set to trap animals in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park. Wires are confiscated and cleaned, and locals create sculptures from them. Students in the Snares to Wares course work in four teams: content development, digital strategy, sustainability, and value chain. Each team has its own objectives and is made up of students from different disciplines. Students work to brainstorm solutions to trapping wild animals, bettering communities in East Africa, and creating valuable products with a sustainable business model.  
MBA students from the Eli Broad College of Business are working in partnership with General motors to build an autonomous vehicle over three years. The competition, called CANVAS, is against seven other universities, with the aim of educating young engineers in creating autonomous vehicles in their future careers. MSU students began the project in 2016, and it's completion is planned for 2019.
Students in the Biosystems capstone class designed a wearable phototherapy device for Jaundice treatment.


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

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