Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.23
Liaison Brandon Trelstad
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Leticia Cavazos
Sustainability Program Specialist
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

Student teams led by OSU assistant professor Chad Higgins of Biological and Ecological Engineering have for two years conducted research into solar panel impacts on field crop production, grazing and other productivity factors. Chad has been using space at OSU's 6 acre 35th Street solar array. Initial findings from the research indicate that shading of growing area actually increases grazing crop productivity and nutrition, because of water limitations late in the growing season, and NOT the sunlight limitations early in the season.

Research and student activity will continue, and Chad is working with the Sustainability Office to offer students a wide variety of short and longer term academic experiences at the site. These include:

1) Weed management, 1 day, can reoccur
2) Cultivation and planting, 1-5 days, would be in the late winter early spring
3) Plant sample collection, 1 day, can reoccur as desired
4) Plant sample analytics, multiple weeks (because it would require some training)
5) Ecological observation (monitoring pest and plant disease outbreak (weekly)
6) Data collection (physical), 1 quarter commitment can do for research credit if students wish to also write a report on what they have done, can extend to multiple terms, possibility of hourly wage in summer
7) Modelling: 1 quarter commitment, likely research credit or research project
8) There are at least an additional 6 research topics/hypotheses, these would each require 1 full growing season of commitment (May-september) Possibility of hourly wage in summer/research credits.
9) Multi-year projects also possible
http://newag.bee.oregonstate.edu/chad-higgins


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:

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 OSU buildings.

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


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 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 analyses. 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.


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 Eco2Go is a program from University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS) that provides customers with reusable take-out containers. The goal of this program is to prevent plastic and other types of food container waste from reaching the landfill. A student was hired by the Student Sustainability Initiative Wage Grant program to outreach at the three main campus dining centers to educate our campus community on the new Eco2GO process. The student coordinator conducted presentations to Residence Hall Association groups to encourage the Eco2Go return rate within residence halls. Additionally, the student worked collectively with the UHDS marketing team to find strategies to better advocate for the use and sale of local foods, including devising identifiable icons to indicate to customers which menu items include local ingredients.
http://sli.oregonstate.edu/ssi/pastwagegrants

Growing Food Security (GFS) is a student-led and student-fee funded organization focused on creating a space for food system transformation through education, engagement and advocacy for a sustainable and equitable OSU community food system. GFS strives to increase OSU student’s access to locally, sustainably and organically grown foods as well as provide ample opportunities for the OSU community to become engaged with all parts of the food production and distribution system.
http://sli.oregonstate.edu/ssi/foodsecurity


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:

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.


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:

In FY16, interns with the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) started pursuing Fair Trade University certification, working with campus vendors to increase the amount of Fair Trade products available on campus and drafting a Fair Trade resolution.


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:

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.


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:

In the FY16 performance year, Campus Recycling supervised a student employee who coordinated the creation and approval of a standard operating procedure for the "All in the Hall" program, which in FY17 became part of campus construction standards. The program focuses on removing all trash receptacles from classrooms and instead placing multi-bin units - that offer recycling along with trash - in adjacent hallways (info at http://fa.oregonstate.edu/recycling/services/all-hall-program).

The student employee was the primary coordinator of the project, with support from a staff member. Her duties included gathering information from past project implementation, reviewing other standard operating procedures documents for reference, drafting the full procedure, soliciting feedback from various campus partners, and working with the appropriate department to determine how to incorporate the procedure into construction standards.

The student employee did not earn academic credit, but gained an understanding of technical writing, operations for recycling programs, and gathering stakeholder feedback. The resulting standard operating procedure became part of campus construction standards in 2017, advancing sustainability by making this proven model the standard for all new construction and major classroom building renovation projects on campus. The student’s learning was assessed through quarterly performance evaluations, which included an evaluation of the work and also goal-setting for the student.


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:

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 recently, this same community/campus partnership looked at the toxicity of components in the storm water outflow of the Corvallis Campus. http://cbee.oregonstate.edu/sites/cbee.oregonstate.edu/files/sites/cbee.oregonstate.edu/Documents/StudentProjects/2015/expoliteposter_osu_stormwater_assessment_tracie_tran.pdf

More info on these and other water projects can be found at http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/ecologue/?cat=340


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 FY17, the OSU Sustainability Office started working with academic colleges and administrative divisions to create college and division (unit) level carbon plans that reduce carbon emissions and integrate sustainability and climate change education across curriculum and research efforts. The goal was to increase and standardize practices that help reach OSU's aggressive carbon emissions reduction goals and support OSU's Strategic Plan.

The Digital Media and Programming Student Outreach Assistant for the Sustainability Office supports this carbon planning process in the areas of marketing, outreach and document management. Additionally, the Student Sustainability Initiative's Climate Neutral 2025 Coordinator Students are managing the carbon planning process for the Department of Student Leadership & Involvement.


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:

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 & Cultural Engagement, a part of Student Affairs. CSSA GTAs also working with Human Services Resource Center to run the OSU Food Pantry.

FY16 was the first year the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) hired a Social and Environmental Justice Coordinator to more fully integrate economic and social justice into all their programming. SSI hosted the annual Earth Justice Mural during Earth Week and held a panel discussion with campus faculty and staff to discuss the complexities of making holistically sustainable choices when environmental benefits are at odds with social and/or economic factors, focusing on the OSU solar panels that were produced by prison laborers making $0.73/hour.

Some of the campus initiatives to advance and promote diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice at Oregon State University include:

The OSU Campus Coalition Builders group was formed in 1999 in response to the Division of Student Affairs Campus Compact Diversity Initiative. Team members include students, staff and faculty from a variety of backgrounds and workstations within the Division and throughout the campus community. They are committed to work together to make a positive difference in the community, and to eliminate the negative effects of oppression for all people. By listening to every voice, seeking to understand others, and engaging in transformational learning and teaching, they build strong relationships and lasting alliances with those with whom they work and live.

A Human Library functions similarly to a regular library, however, the Books are real human beings, who teach others about themselves and their experiences through interpersonal dialogue. Experiencing a discussion with a human Book creates an opportunity for constructive interpersonal dialogue and learning between people who may normally not interact. People who volunteer to participate as Books in Human Libraries represent various cultures and identities, may have experienced or witnessed social exclusion or indifference at some time in their lives, or are those who have participated in unique life experiences. The Human Library offers a comfortable environment for diverse people to meet, ask questions, and learn from each other.

http://leadership.oregonstate.edu/diversity/diversity-oregon-state/partners-and-programs


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:

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 "no" above for that reason.


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:

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) was established at OSU in 2008 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to facilitate the development of marine renewable energy technologies via research, education, and outreach. Public engagement and K-12 education are a significant part of NNMREC's mission.

NNMREC hosts weekly educational forums on campus, has developed hands-on educational materials for K-12 (accessible through all Oregon STEM centers), and is assisting in the development of two college-level courses on renewable energy technology. Last year, NNMREC hosted several presentations at OSU on marine renewable energy through Marine Forum and engaged over 60 K-12 students in build-it-yourself wave energy converter activities.


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)?:
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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:
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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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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.