Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.13
Liaison Bridget Flynn
Submission Date March 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Bridget Flynn
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" 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 Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

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:

Student research conducting greenhouse gas inventories.


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:

John Scofield in Physics does research on green buildings. This research began with the on-campus green building, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) and went on to analyze LEED and Energy Star-certified buildings.


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:

The Experimental College (ExCo) is both a student organization and a department of the college that sponsors for-credit courses taught by Oberlin students, administrators, townspeople, and faculty. ExCo exists to give students, faculty and community members the opportunity to learn to teach and to push the boundaries of teaching in innovative ways. It also allows students to learn underrepresented and nontraditional materials, giving them a chance to broaden their horizons past the typical college academic experience. ExCo offers almost always include content related to food - like "history of tea," "Coffee 101," "Food science ExCo," "Baking ExCo" and more.
Co-ops: The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association provides living, working, eating, and learning opportunities to it's members. Co-opers can live, live and dine, and/or visit co-ops. The co-ops are student-run, which includes purchasing food, preparing meals, cleaning meals, and active participation in how the co-op is run (which includes purchses and bans).
CDS Recyclers: The CDS Recyclers work with Campus Dining Services on the sustainability of dining operations. CDS Recyclers are paid student workers; however, there are other students who join to participate in projects on a more temporary basis. The reusable coffee mug program, composting efforts, food rescue, Real Food Challenge, and many other programs and projects are thanks to this group and it's affiliates.


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:

Oberlin's Environmental Dashboard project collects and archives real time data about electricity use in all campus dorms, and various other buildings in town and on campus, including the Oberlin Public schools and the public library. These data are publicly available and are used by various groups, including students of Oberlin's Environment and Society class, to analyze trends in dorm energy use and devise strategies to encourage conservation.


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:

In the fall of 2013, three students in John Petersen’s Systems Ecology class studied the college-owned forest north of the solar array to determine its contribution to the college’s carbon budget. Claire Hoffman ‘15, Annika Nelson ‘15 and Griff Radulski ‘14 measured the diameters of dozens of trees in sample plots to estimate the total elemental carbon stored in the half-century-old forest.


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:

Students have been involved in Purchasing decisions in quite a few arenas.

For years there was a student-run anti-sweatshop committee where students analyzes college apparel purchases. Following this a socially responsible purchasing committee was formed with faculty, staff, and students in attempts to ensure that Oberlin College purchases were supporting fair wages and good working conditions as best as possible.

Real Food Challenge on campus aims to increase the food on campus that is local, sustainable, humane, and fair. This includes analyzing food purchases and product shifting. This work is undertaken by students in conjunction with dining staff.


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:

Given that Oberlin is situated in a semi-rural area, transportation is always of concern for students. Student Senate formed a Transportation Working Group to look at transportation issues in the Oberlin area. There are often ENVS 101 projects dealing with transportation (often supported by community partners). Past examples include work on: Complete Streets, microtransit, walking signs, and biking signs.
The student-run bike co-op also gives students practical experience working on bicycling issues, including fixing bikes, running the physical co-op, helping others fix their bikes, and advocating for bicycling. The co-op is sponsored by a faculty sponsor who sometimes explores other projects and ideas that co-op could support or be a part of.


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:

The Campus Dining Services Recyclers are a group of students who work to reduce waste from the dining halls. The CDS Recyclers conduct waste audits, and use information about the composition of dining hall waste to educate students and staff about reducing resource use in particular through reducing food and packaging waste.


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:

AJLC Operators conducts water quality testing and running of the Living Machine, a biological waste water treatment facility in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.

OSWAMP previously worked with Grounds staff to install rain gardens on campus and deal with runoff and water issues in Oberlin (https://oswamp.wordpress.com/).


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:

Students write policy, serve on committees, and govern much on their own.

co-ops
task forces


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:

OSCA includes Third-World Co-op which oversees the multi-cultural programming fund.

Oberlin Multi-cultural Resource Center (MRC) serves and supports historically disenfranchised students (including but not limited to: students of color, LGBTQ students, international students, first generation college students, low-income students,
DACA/Undocumented students, students with disabilities), faculty, staff, alumni, and local community members The work that the MRC engages in varies, but generally includes:
One-on-one and group student advising
Community building and social events
Conference and colloquia coordination and organization
Crisis and trauma intervention for students
Workshops and trainings
Collaboration with students to support the ongoing success of student-led social justice programming
The MRC supports students, including student projects and ideas for on and off-campus organizing.


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:

Student Smoking Campaign involved students working with faculty, staff, and administrators to understand smoking on campus and its effects. After a year of efforts, there is a smoking ban on campus beginning July 2016.

The Oberlin Sexual Information Center (SIC) on campus offers confidential client-centered counseling to anyone who seeks it. SIC is equipped to give a wealth of information on contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections, and a wide range of topics under the umbrella of human sexuality. Furthermore, staffers are trained to counsel those involved in sexualized violence. SIC also runs SexCo a long-standing sexual education course that focuses on sex positivity. Throughout the year, SIC runs workshops and majigs such as Safer Sex 101, Talking about Asexuality: How to be an Ally, A Guide to Contraceptives, Threesomes, foresomes, and moresomes, Kinky Crafts, BDSM 101, Sex and Sustainability, and many more!

Many courses and research projects on campus deal with health and well-being issues. In addition to the above there is the peer-support center supported by the Dean of Students, meditation club, and many more.


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:

Courses on campus in economics occasionally include hands on campus components. Beyond that, there is a Oberlin College Finance & Investment Club run by students with assets under their management: http://www.oberlinfinanceandinvestment.org/about-us/.

LaunchU is an incubator and accelerator of entrepreneurial ventures:
http://oclaunchu.com/project/about-launchu/


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:

The Bonner Center for Service and Learning helps students to align their academic, career, and extracurricular interests through community service and engagement. The Center connects students, faculty, staff, and community partners to respond to needs identified by the community. Opportunities include ongoing projects with community partners, winter-term projects, and community-engaged research.


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:
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The Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) was designed as a living-learning laboratory.

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