Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Brandon Trelstad
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Brandon Trelstad
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" 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 ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment ---
Public Engagement ---
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:

Campuses Take Charge is run by students who receive internship credit for their efforts to help the university and surrounding communities take charge of their carbon emissions by pledging to take three carbon-reducing actions for a month. Students gain experience in marketing, outreach and visual arts; information technologies, social sciences, environmental sciences and other areas by being involved for a least a quarter in CTC planning and implementation.


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:

The Oregon BEST Green Building Materials Laboratory includes research activities from the Schools of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering and Civil and Construction Engineering and the Department of Wood Science and Engineering. Equipment housed in this Oregon BEST Signature Laboratory will allow OSU researchers to characterize, develop and test high performance sustainable materials for a wide variety of applications including buildings and transportation infrastructure. The GBML interfaces with the Capital Planning and Development civil engineering group to examine best practices within campus infrastructure.

Numerous courses have conducted survey-based projects during pre- and post-occupancy period for new and renovated buildings.

Additionally, student workers in Capital Planning and Development gain real work experience with increasing questions about sustainability in the built environment.


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:

Students enrolled in the Food in Culture and Social Justice Graduate Minor began collaborating with University Housing and Dining Services staff in Spring and Fall 2012. Two students began the process of mining paper and electronic invoices determine a starting point for the first round of food assessments. They determined that a 2-month comparative snapshot of a single dining hall was most manageable given their workloads.

They synthesized and calculated the food purchasing data for Marketplace West, one of the largest volume dining halls, for the months of October 2011 and May 2012. In the Spring and Fall terms of 2013, two undergraduate students worked with a graduate student on advancing the baseline survey. Since this initial work, conversations have continued. There has been substantial faculty and staff support, as well as student interest in furthering the project. The Student Sustainability Initiative is funding through its wage grant program a student to continue the food assessment and integrate Real Food Challenge concepts. Dining Services has made changes in the last year in response to these efforts and conversations.


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:

The OSU Energy Efficiency Center and Industrial Assessment Center, both part of the school of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, use student labor to offer Rural Energy Audits, industrial and campus facility assessments, and other customized energy analysis. The center focuses on mentored energy efficiency training, performs related research, data accumulation and analysis and offers other related services.

The EEC has the goal of developing and sharing a knowledge base of new and common efficiency opportunities in a range of sectors, including industrial, agricultural, municipal, institutional, commercial and residential. The center is built on student management with faculty mentorship and oversight.


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:

The Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture is a six acre site on OSU's main campus. It's easily accessible to students and an excellent learning laboratory for sustainable horticultural practices in both rural and periurban landscapes. Current projects include a mushroom log fence, annual trials, green roof research, a student-run organic garden, permaculture and restoration of Oak Creek.

Oak Creek restoration has been an ongoing point of student learning on campus. The Oak Creek Riparian area has been the focus of numerous studies and restoration efforts over the past decades. One significant outcome was a restoration document created by students participating in the ecological restoration class FOR-FW 445/545.


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:

Each year, civil engineering professor Kate Hunter-Zaworski dedicates at least one full course to analyzing and making recommendations for alternative transportation systems/transportation options on and surrounding the Corvallis campus. In most years, the focus of the Public Transportation Class is OSU transportation options. Students gain practical, applied experience with OSU systems and make presentations to OSU administrators each year.

A major focal point of these recurring studies has been the OSU shuttle, known as the Beaver Bus, in which students can interact in the most direct way through system analysis and providing recommendations to Transportation Services about shuttle route, timing, safely and other considerations.


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:

In the FY14 performance year, Campus Recycling supervised two student employees who led a new recycling pilot program and produced a report to summarize findings and recommendations. The goal of the pilot program was to test out a waste collection system in classroom buildings (called All in the Hall - http://fa.oregonstate.edu/recycling/services/all-hall-program).

The Student Program Assistant put together a data collection plan to test the efficacy of the new model and then coordinated all data collection for one term. The Student Outreach Assistant analyzed the pilot data and drafted a report that is hosted online (http://fa.oregonstate.edu/files/aith_pilot_program_report.docx) and was sent to partnering departments, which summarized findings and recommended that the model be expanded into more buildings on campus.

Neither student employee earned academic credit, but gained experience in designing experiments, collecting and tracking data, analyzing data, and writing reports.

The pilot did in fact demonstrate that the new waste collection system increased waste diversion: after implementation, the recycling rate for those classrooms was an average of 61% - higher than the university's overall recycling rate - and the amount of recyclable material found in trash cans dropped from a range of 32-59% to 0.8-2.0% in the four buildings piloted. Based on these results and the report, the various campus partners agreed to expand the program, which is being implemented in FY15.


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:

Biological and ecological engineering students continue to work with a group of campus and community water experts to look at stormwater flowing through campus. They designed a water model to show the water moving through different storm watersheds, which allows for the model to be used with any set of parameters. Another project designed a wetland/bioswale project for OSU discharges onto City of Corvallis property and streams. The group is awaiting City funding to implement the project.

More info on these and other water projects can be found at http://oregonstate.edu/sustainability/blog/2013/09/corvallis-sustainability-coalitions-three-waters-project/


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:
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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:

Many students in the College Student Services Administration program are using OSU's Division of Student Affairs to examine diversity and diversity-related issues. Many work within Diversity Development, Intercultural Student Services, a part of Student Affairs.

In fall 2013, a Transgender Lives course complied a resource list for transgender students at OSU. An internship is currently underway cataloging every campus restroom to inventory gender neutral restrooms and will create an interactive map.

Finally, OSU's women, gender and sexuality studies graduate program requires students to complete project or thesis.


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:

We have several students receiving credit for work related to our healthy campus. Most recently related to Smoke Free evaluation, research and programming. With the Healthy Eating team interns provide counseling & support campus events. In addition, we've had several practicum students from exercise and sports science/college of public health and human sciences involved in a variety of projects.


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:

OSU Divest is a campaign to have the Oregon State University Foundation sell off its investments in fossil fuels industries and replace these with investments in socially responsible stock holdings. At least one student leader is writing a thesis based on the work with OSU Divest and its associated campaign, meetings, and community action, but this level of work may not directly result in positive outcomes. This item is marked as "unknown" above for that reason.


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:
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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.