Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Raritan Valley Community College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" 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 No
Buildings No
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing No
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
+ Date Revised: May 19, 2015
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---
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:
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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:
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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 Environmental Field studies class had a project evaluating the cafeteria and recommending changes that would reduce waste. The class produced a list of items sold that have packaging that cannot be recycled or composted, and a list of recommendations, and this was shared with the Facilities department. This year dining services had its first zero-waste events (three of them).


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:

An Environmental Studies student did a project on evaluating vampire energy waste in computer labs, and shared his report with MIS, which implemented energy-saving measures. A student intern in the Facilities department programmed the HVAC control system so that the conference center was optimally scheduled. The intern also evaluated the lighting in our new student center and developed an application for a state-run lighting incentive program. As a result, the college received a financial incentive for installing energy efficient lighting. Another student intern is working on a wind turbine project, which will be used as an educational tool in ENVI102 starting Spring 2015. The Facilities Department regularly gives tours of the cogeneration (combined heat and power) plant on campus. The cogen plant and solar panels are stops in the campus eco-tour.


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:

One student's independent study was to create a 600 square foot green roof on campus. Another student intern is working on an enabling garden. The Environmental Club has an organic garden on campus where they grow organic fruits and vegetables and students can work in the garden for credit for some Environmental Studies classes. The Childcare Center has butterfly gardens that support increasing butterfly populations. Envioronmental Studies students conducted a flora and fauna inventory of campus, for River Friendly Certification. The Geographic Information Systems class maps out environmental points of interest on campus.


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:

The college has two electric car charging stations and offers the electricity for free. Electric cars and the car charging stations have been demonstrated for Environmental Studies classes. For Earth Week, we held an electric car show which drew approximately 100 people. There are currently three cars that regularly vie for charging space.

RVCC funded Prof. Jay Kelly to do a transportation study of the college to determine the feasibility and benefits of carpooling and public transportation for students, faculty, and staff. His report "A Geographical Analysis of Transportation Demand at Raritan Valley Community College: Towards Sustainable Parking and Transportation Planning at RVCC" was completed in March 2012.


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:

Environmental Field Studies students manned the cafeteria trash bins to show students how to compost. They also recommended that the college purchase better compost/recycle/trash bin units, and the college did purchase them. The Environmental Club and the ENVI101 Intro to Environmental Studies class conduct campus clean-ups twice a year.


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:

The campus has been certified as "River Friendly" by the NJ Water Supply Authority, and Ecology students contributed to this by conducting stream assessments on campus.


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:

In 2009, a student in the Environmental Club advocated strongly for RVCC to join the President's Climate Commitment. The student advocated for this in a Science Seminar presentation for the Honors Science program. RVCC investigated and found this impractical. Instead, RVCC opted to enter a broad environmental stewardship agreement with the EPA. This agreement has guided RVCC's environmental efforts since 2009.


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:
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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:
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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:
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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 college funded Prof. Angela Bodino to write a paper detailing her experience teaching "English II: Focus on Nature". Her paper is titled "Risk, Doubt, Denial and Belief in the Climate Change Debate: Blending the Humanities and Science to Change Minds". The paper assesses whether "this interdisciplinary blend can serve as a means of countering the doubt and denial that is undermining scientific certainty regarding the risk of climate change, distracting us from the urgency needed to limit its impact since we have already reached a point of no return. The hope is that this power of literature to open minds and the evidence of science to convince can be the foundation of a diffusion of innovative courses that can encourage activism in a millennial generation."


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:

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.