Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.49
Liaison Angela Oberg
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2023

STARS v2.2

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Campus
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Katie Parrish
Program Coordinator
Office of Climate Action
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
An undergraduate research methods course (11:374:201 Research Methods in Human Ecology) created a survey to measure Rutgers students’ perceptions and understanding of composting. The survey will be used at a campus dining hall to assess the impact of a composting pilot project.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:
The Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability worked with community residents to test the lead contamination of their soil. The findings from the work were used to develop and share best practices for local gardeners.

https://cues.rutgers.edu/new-brunswick-gardening/

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Air & Climate?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Buildings:
The Rutgers Center for Green Building researches occupant behavior and habits versus adaptive responses at the building that houses the Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. One way they do this is through occupant counters on the doors of the Bloustein building.

http://rcgb.rutgers.edu/a-living-lab-at-rutgers-to-optimize-future-open-plan-work-spaces/

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
The Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering has 2 living lab spaces where students can research sustainable practices and principles in energy of the LEED Gold certified building.
https://soe.rutgers.edu/richardweekshall

Each semester, an Office of Climate Action intern is placed with the Director of Sustainability and Energy, Mike Kornitas, to work on research projects using university energy data.
https://climateaction.rutgers.edu/about/interns

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:
On the Cook/Douglass campus, Rutgers Dining Facilities have a partnership with the Nutritional Sciences Department. Their facilities are used for the Quality Food Production course and a Bryne Seminar. Various student groups and classes also tour the Dining facilities and talk to Dining staff.
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html

The New Brunswick Community Farmer’s Market and community gardens in New Brunswick are used by NJAES as teaching opportunities and living learning environments for food education and food access. Nutrition students have the opportunity to table and educate residents about nutrition.
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html
http://www.nbcfarmersmarket.com/

The Cook Organic Garden is an opportunity for students and the larger Rutgers community to learn organic gardening on campus. It has also been used by the Weedy Plants Bryne Seminar.
https://sites.google.com/site/cookorganicgardenclub/home

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Grounds:
Horticultural Farm II is a living lab for turfgrass research and education. Many turfgrass classes utilize the farm. Research in turfgrass pathology, entomology, management practice, breeding and more occur onsite.
http://turf.rutgers.edu/

The Chrysler Herbarium is used for research and educational purposes. A few professors use the Herbarium for class.
More information can be found at http://herbarium.rutgers.edu/index.html.

The Landscape Architecture Department frequently uses the space behind Blake Hall for construction projects for studios, Construction, and Material Tectonic classes. Entomology also uses the space for construction.
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html

Landscape Architecture studios sometimes use areas on campus as project locations. A few examples include:
Bettenbender Plaza - Fall 2012 Intro to Environmental Design studio
New Gibbons Courtyards - Fall 2012 Intro to Environmental Design studio
Nichol Avenue - Spring 2014 Praxis Studio
Helyar House - Fall 2013 Intro to Environmental Design studio
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Purchasing:
A student intern in the Office of Climate Action is working with the Associate Director, Supplier Diversity & Sustainability to analyze Rutgers procurement data and develop sustainability metrics.

https://climateaction.rutgers.edu/about/interns

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:
The Rutgers Transportation Climate Action Group is researching the greenhouse gas impact of faculty, staff and student travel and the effects of the hybrid work schedule pilot program on emissions.

https://climateaction.rutgers.edu/transportation

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Waste:
In fall 2022, a student intern with the Office of Climate Action measured and analyzed baseline food waste data at the Nielson Dining Hall with Rutgers EcoComplex Director Serpil Guran. The results will inform a commercial-scale composting pilot project at the dining hall. Once the composter is in use, students will continue to study the dining hall’s food waste and the composter.

https://climateaction.rutgers.edu/about/interns

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:
Rutgers New Brunswick spans both sides of the Raritan River. Several classes currently use the Raritan River. Parasite Ecology collects samples out on the river, and if funding is available, a Bryne seminar on NJ and NY Waterways will go out on a boat and collect river data. The Human Interactions with the Coastal Ocean course also uses the Raritan. There are opportunities for student internships with organizations and agencies in the Raritan River basin through the Raritan Scholars course.
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html
http://raritan.rutgers.edu/

Passion Puddle, a pond on campus, is used for sampling and sampling demonstrations and by general biology classes and Marine and Coastal Sciences.
http://livinglabs.rutgers.edu/existing_cookdouglass.html

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:
Several student research interns in the Rutgers Office of Climate Action gathered and analyzed data for a sustainability report and this STARS submission.

https://climateaction.rutgers.edu/about/interns

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
The Environmental History Class in the Department of Human Ecology spent the Spring 2022 semester investigating the history of divestment at Rutgers. A student from the class is continuing this research for an honors thesis project that analyzes fossil fuel divestment at universities using Rutgers as a case study.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.