Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 59.69
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date July 31, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
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 Air & Climate:
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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:

RVCC has committed to building LEED Silver or better. We are planning to build a new dorm, and a student is surveying other schools with LEED Silver and Gold dorms to find out which credits they earned and what benefits (financial or otherwise) they see from each feature. She will use this information to help inform our building design.


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 Environmental Control Technology program regular does energy projects on campus as part of their coursework. 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.


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:

Three faculty members worked with students to create a food pantry to help food-insecure students and staff. It is estimated that 7.3% of Somerset County residents are food insecure, with the average meal costing $3.33. The expenses of tuition and transportation paired with the worry of how much their next meal will cost are beyond stressful for a college student. The pantry is stocked with a variety of snacks and canned goods, and students and staff are “encouraged” to benefit from the pantry. The pantry also accepts donations from students and faculty, and those with the ability to do so are encouraged to drop off small food items to the pantry.


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:

One student's independent study was to create a green roof vegetable 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. One independent study student obtained a grant for planting native trees and shrubs in a riparian zone and organized student volunteers to help with planting.


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:

One student is piloting a campus rideshare program for students.


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:

One student organized new recycling bins and signs on campus, including in-office recycling bins with small "bin buddies" for waste that do not use plastic liners. The ENVI101 Intro to Environmental Studies class conducts campus clean-ups twice a year. We also usually have a RecycleMania intern that collects recycling data, and in 2018 the intern wrote an award application describing the bin project mentioned above along with the improved recycling data.


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:

The campus has been recertified as "River Friendly" by the NJ Water Supply Authority, and Ecology students contributed to this by conducting stream assessments on campus. One independent study student obtained a grant for planting native trees and shrubs in a riparian zone and organized student volunteers to help with planting. Another independent study student tested water from all of the campus water fountains.


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:

RVCC has committed to building LEED Silver or better. We are planning to build a new dorm, and a student is surveying other schools with LEED Silver and Gold dorms to find out which credits they earned and what benefits (financial or otherwise) they see from each feature. She will use this information to help inform our building design.


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:

Students just organized a "Stomp Out Stigma" event for student clubs to host tables with information about applicable stigmas (cultural, racial, financial, religious, etc) and how to address them. They also had a performance artists give a presentation to students on this topic and tied it in to climate change ("everything's connected").


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:

Students in ENVI102 work in the community, building and maintaining rain gardens. Faculty and students also host a "Little Scientists" night once or twice a year, inviting elementary school students to learn about STEM subjects, including composting, planting in pots they make from newspaper, and making birdhouses.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
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 Wellbeing & Work:

Three faculty members worked with students to create a food pantry to help food-insecure students and staff. It is estimated that 7.3% of Somerset County residents are food insecure, with the average meal costing $3.33. The expenses of tuition and transportation paired with the worry of how much their next meal will cost are beyond stressful for a college student. The pantry is stocked with a variety of snacks and canned goods, and students and staff are “encouraged” to benefit from the pantry. The pantry also accepts donations from students and faculty, and those with the ability to do so are encouraged to drop off small food items to the pantry.


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)?:
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 other areas:

A student SGA rep organized a "Trashion Show" for clothing altered to include objects that may have otherwise been thrown away, and tied it in to a "What Were You Wearing" (rape awareness) theme. They donated the clothes.


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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