Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.15
Liaison Joanne Wong
Submission Date May 31, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Mills College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.20 / 4.00 Nicole Gaetjens
Sustainability Coordinator
Campus Facilities
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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?:
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 Air & Climate:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
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 Buildings:
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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:

The Sustainability Committee partnered with a professor in the Sustainability and Business class for several years to provide opportunities for students to take on projects related to furthering campus sustainability. The last time this partnership took place, two students took on energy-related projects. The first student was an undergraduate and took on the project of Power Down Day energy tracking. She monitored and analyzed campus-wide energy data on Power Down Days (days with targeted educational outreach in reduction) vs other days that did not have the targeted outreach. Because the campus was in partnership with the utility company to reduce energy usage on those days, insight into the success of outreach efforts into reduction was extremely helpful. A graduate student took on the coordination, partnership management, and program development of a pilot project in energy management with a company called I'm in Control. This collaboration led to an electricity competition between the two first year residence halls and overall energy monitoring of those buildings. The pilot was successful and led to an ongoing relationship.


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:

Every semester, the Farm Manager teaches a Farming and Food Justice course at the Mills Community Farm. There are also other courses in which the farm is integrated, including environmental policy and plant ecology. Additionally, several students are conducting thesis projects related to the farm.


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:

For many years, a Biology class called "Exploring the World of Plants" included a service learning requirement. Students in the class had to interact with plants and dirt on campus, supporting the Botanic Garden, creek restoration work days, and the initiation of the Urban Farm at Mills College.


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:
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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:

A Masters in Public Policy candidate chose to complete her Masters Policy Report on Mills College transportation policies and how they relate to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An executive summary is as follows:

Mills College seeks to reduce its carbon footprint by encouraging sustainable practices on campus. While efforts have been made to reduce the footprint caused by utility usage, transportation practices have contributed to a considerable portion of the College’s environmental impact but have yet to be addressed. This policy report provides an analysis of current transportation practices by community members through surveys, parking conditions through spatial analysis using geographic information systems, and services provided by the institution, including the ridership and level of service of the Mills Shuttle and a car share program. Following these series of analyses, several constructed goals, based on research and data collection, are evaluated in the context of cost, feasibility and the approach’s ability to meet the environmental and fiscal sustainability goals and objectives of Mills College. Goals consist of immediate, short term, and long term approaches to be implemented chronologically and following satisfactory data collection and further analysis. This report lays the foundation for research, planning, and implementing long-term strategies that will address the number of private vehicles on campus. It is recommended that Mills College incrementally and chronologically implement each of these approaches in order to see the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

A positive outcome is that Mills College is poised to address transportation at large via policies to increase access to the campus and community, while decreasing cost for transportation. This report will inform any new parking programs that come into place.


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:

Each year, Mills College participates in the National RecycleMania Competition. Either through an internship offered through Mills or a class project, for almost every year one or more students audits and analyzes the weight/volume of materials going to landfill, recycling, and compost from each of Mills' buildings.


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:

Professor Kristina Faul's research on “The Role of Small Upstream Reservoirs in Trapping Organic Carbon, Nutrients, and Metals in the San Francisco Bay Area" includes approximately ten students per year over the last three years, who are involved in this directed research class, and every year one of them presents this research at a conference. Directed research includes water quality and soil testing conducted on campus in Lake Aliso. As the data is collected and interpreted, it will help inform operational practices in water management on campus.


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

The Dance department has had a semester-long residency with Oakland's Axis Dance Company. AXIS Dance Company is an acclaimed innovative ensemble of performers with and without disabilities, and has pioneered a modern dance form called physically integrated dance. Students investigate what constitutes dance and who can dance.

The Dance department also participated in the Cunningham Time Capsule by fostering research by faculty Holley Farmer and student Annabel Clarance, sponsoring on-campus and local presentations on Merce Cunningham's use of the computer to make dances--i.e. making distant linkages while staying at home.


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

This past fall, the Introduction to Environmental Science course required each student to research and submit as a final paper an assessment of Mills' sustainability performance in a topic area of the student's choosing, compare Mills' performance to other institutions, and recommend improvements.


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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