Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.57
Liaison Brandon Trelstad
Submission Date Dec. 20, 2019
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
https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/users/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 allows 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:

Food Security is a student-led and student-fee funded program focused on creating a space for food system transformation through education, engagement and advocacy for a sustainable and equitable OSU community food system. It 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.
https://studentlife.oregonstate.edu/node/2361/


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?:
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:

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?:
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 Waste:
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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.

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 FY19, the OSU Sustainability Office participated in the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on the OSU Carbon Commitment to advance OSU towards the goal of carbon neutrality. The goals of the committee are:
1. Conduct an annual assessment of the current status at OSU of meeting the goals of the American College and University Presidents’ Carbon Commitment (the OSU Carbon Commitment).
2. Seek and gather data, in collaboration with the OSU Sustainability Office, relating to the state of progress towards the goals of the OSU Carbon Commitment.
3. Support the OSU Sustainability Office in advancing towards the objectives of the OSU Carbon Commitment.
4. Develop recommendations for advancing the objectives of the OSU Carbon Commitment at OSU.
5. Inform the OSU community of OSU’s carbon neutral status

The Coordinator of Environmental Affairs from the Executive Branch of the Associated Students of Oregon State University, as well as a graduate student from the Coalition of Graduate Employees are voting members of this committee.


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.

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.

https://guides.library.oregonstate.edu/humanlibrary


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?:
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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