Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 38.98
Liaison Ann Drevno
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Saint Mary's College of California
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.20 / 4.00 Steve Woolpert
Dean
School of Liberal Arts
"---" 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 Yes
Buildings No
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste No
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No
Public Engagement No
Other Yes

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:

Environmental Chemistry labs and Urban Environmental Issues labs place an ambient NO2 diffusion tube on campus for air quality monitoring, as a benchmark with which to compare alternative sites located near a highway. This helps student understand the impact of different environments and anthropogenic activities on air quality.


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:

N/A


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:

Sociology 101 (Sociological Imagination) is an upper division course required of all sociology majors. The major assignment for the course involves the book Slim's Table (based on ethnographic research of a restaurant in Chicago) After reading the book students must conduct their own ethnography in the dining hall and/or on-campus coffee shop. Students develop detailed ethnographic field notes to answer the exploratory question: What are the social dynamics in the Saint Mary's dining hall and/or Cafe Louis? Inspired by the research done in Café Valois in Slim’s Table, this class is challenged to ask, “How do members of the Saint Mary’s College community interact with each other in the Sodexo dining hall and/or Café Louis?”

This inductive research uses participant observation in at least 6 sessions to look for social patterns and generate hypotheses to be tested further.

They take note of how different social categories (age, gender, athletic status, race, etc.) help to explain different behaviors in the dining hall (where people sit, whether they clean up after themselves, how social they are, etc.)


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:

A group of students participating in Project Green envisioned building a windmill that could harness excess wind coming over the hill framing the campus Legacy Garden in order to deliver some of the garden's electrical needs.

The windmill was constructed in 2013, and charges a 12-volt car battery in a waterproof case. This in turn powers lights for the garden for about 18 hours, even with no wind.

For more information: http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/windmill-brings-renewable-energy-to-legacy-garden


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:

Saint Mary’s campus hosts a seasonal, freshwater wetland forest, which is a valuable research and educational resource. It is a unique environment in the East San Francisco Bay region with its extensive stand of red willow. Wetland class (EES 75) is a community engagement class that collects samples from the SMC swamp water and soil at the inflow and outflow areas, analyzes the samples and reports results to Environmental and occupational Health and Safety Manager on campus.

Through this process students learn how to measure wetland parameters; develop an awareness of the aspects and values of wetlands; observe and understand the function of wetland habitats in California and learn to analyze wetland conservation problems from multiple perspectives.


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:

N/A


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:

N/A


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:

N/A


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 a native plant garden that is used as a resource for students in Biology 142 Californa Flora and Communities. It demonstrates the drought-tolerant properties of native plants.


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:

The Campus Sustainability Committee had a student intern who received academic credit as a "web concierge". She developed and implemented digital communication activities to raise campus awareness of and interest in sustainability plans.


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:

As part of CILSA's Community Based Research courses, Saint Mary's Intercultural Center is used as one focus group for assessing diversity and creating conversations around the challenges, impacts and processes for improving diversity in society.


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:

N/A


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:

N/A


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:

N/A


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:

Molecular biology courses use the campus as a material source for several of their genotyping labs. Students collect plants from around the campus and dry the leaves in a special kits they have created. Then, the students extract DNA from the leaves. They use the technique of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the DNA. The PCR focuses on special regions of the DNA called "barcode loci" to identify the plant genus and species using the sequence of the DNA in the barcode loci. This has been a very successful lab for students.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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