Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.64
Liaison Yolanda Cieters
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Seattle University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Phillip Thompson
Director
CEJS
"---" 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:

(1) Each academic year, 2-3 SU undergraduate student interns dedicate their time at SU’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) to collect, calculate, and analyze data for Seattle University’s GHG emissions inventory.

(2) Several Faculty members at SU offer experiential learning opportunities involving students in actively studying air and climate. Examples:
a. Essentials of Geology class (EVST 2150; Dr. Brian Whiting): students go on field trips to explore how the geological record proves earth’s changing climate systems over time. Students learn how these physical records reflect a drastic rise in global temperatures following the industrial revolution and how climate change could affect coastal cities and human survival.
b. Dr. Jonathan Pierce (Assistant Professor, Public Affairs) works with a team of undergraduate and graduate students to measure “the persuasiveness of various forms of strategic communication about climate change to see if they were more persuasive among conservatives and liberals than scientific statements.” After surveying over 2,500 respondents and analyzing the data, the nine person team is currently in the process of distributing their report to various local environmental advocacy organizations. For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/ejs-research-at-su/cejs-fellowships/past-faculty-fellows/2016-2017-faculty/
c. In spring 2017, a team of professional MBA program candidates composed a “Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality” for Seattle University as part of their MBA Sustainable Business Consulting class (Professor April Atwood). Their report encapsulated an analysis of the university’s current state of operations as they relate to carbon neutrality and actionable recommendations for implementing carbon offsets in the future to support Seattle University reach its Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal of moving towards climate neutrality. For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/cejs/files/content/what-su-is-doing/Roadmap-to-Carbon-Neutrality.pdf


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:

(1) The Bullitt Center, the world’s greenest commercial building built to meet the criteria of the Living Building Challenge (http://living-future.org/lbc), was the location of Seattle University’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) from Winter 2013 until Fall 2017. Students in a variety of courses visit the center to take a tour and explore the various features of the building, such as the composting toilets and greywater system. The tours are provided by SU student interns and staff at CEJS (on average 4-5 tours per quarter are offered).
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/su-campus--bullitt-center-tours/#BULLITT

(2) All new SU buildings are designed to achieve LEED Gold standards. Currently, this includes 4 buildings: the Admissions & Alumni Building, School of Law Annex, Lemieux Library & McGoldrick Learning Commons, and the Eisiminger Fitness Center. This demonstrates to students that buildings serving a variety of functions can be designed with sustainable building practices. SU’s Facilities Department staff provide tours of the LEED gold buildings to SU students. The tour of the Seattle University Lemieux Library & McGoldrick Learning Commons features a rain garden, a chilled beam that cools the computer lab, a raised floor supplying warm air near occupants’ feet, sustainable materials and water efficient fixtures.
For more information:
https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/buildings/


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:

(1) SU’s Facilities Operations and Resource Conservation Manager engages 1-2 SU student interns annually in research, analysis, and data collection for energy and water conservation projects on campus as well as the calculation of Seattle University’s energy consumption for GHG data input (among other assignments).
Examples of internship projects:
a. Creation of a signage pilot program at Residence Halls to inform residents about their energy and water consumption and educate about conservation efforts
b. Research project on energy consumption of vending machines and cost analysis of installation of VendingMisers on vending machines.

(2) Members of Seattle University's Electrical and Computer Engineering department have founded the non-profit organization KiloWatts for Humanity to help bring power to rural villages around the world. In Filibaba, Zambia, the organization has installed microgrids that power energy kiosks using solar panels The kiosks will give community members the ability to charge their appliances and light sources and bring electricity into their homes through these electronics. The students also designed a microgrid for a small village in Kenya, illuminating a town that had been without power for years. By engineering these tools and starting a non-profit, students were able to apply their learning and research in a real-world setting.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/ejs-research-at-su/energy/kilowatts-for-humanity/


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:

(1) All of the schools pre-packaged meals and to-go containers are compostable, as well as all utensils, cups, and straws. The school has an onsite composting facility that processes all non-dairy pre-consumer food waste from campus kitchens. Tours of the composting facility are provided by the Recycling Manager/Composting Technician to SU students (for a variety of courses). A positive outcome associated with this is the engagement of students in being able to see exactly how their waste can be treated when compostable items are compared to those that are non-compostable.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/compost/

(2) Throughout campus, there are a variety of ‘edible gardens’ that provide fresh produce and herbs that students are welcome and encouraged to take for themselves. Maps of the various campus edible gardens are available online. Tours of the gardens are provided to students (for a variety of classes) by Grounds staff or students from the student club Food with Spirit. A positive impact of this is that students are able to not only work in the gardens to develop their own agricultural skills, but also to realize that being in an urban environment does not make vegetable gardens out of reach.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/grounds/the-edible-campus/
Campus Edibles map: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/grounds-and-landscaping/edible-map.pdf
Food with Spirit: https://www.facebook.com/FoodWithSpirit/

(3) As the first Fair Trade University in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle University has had numerous opportunities for students to be involved with ensuring that the sourcing of the school’s food is ethical and sustainable. One positive outcome of this is the collaboration of students, faculty, and staff in partnering with UCA Managua and farmers in Nicaragua in developing a new brand of ethically sourced, Fair Trade coffee: MotMot Coffee.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/fair-trade/

(4) In spring, 2017, Dr. Mark Cohan's university core class, Sociology of Food, partnered with Seattle-based Northwest Harvest, a non-profit food bank distributor, to help them promote a conference they planned to host. Through research and personal interviews, the students helped create a video to help promote a national conference, "Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity."
https://www.seattleu.edu/artsci/departments/assw/


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:

(1) In 2015 the Seattle University Grounds department established an ongoing internship that facilitates learning about urban agriculture: the Edible Campus Ambassadors Internship provides opportunities for students to engage in growing, planting, tending, harvesting produce on campus and in the university greenhouse. In keeping with the mission of the university most of the harvested produce is donated to local soup kitchens. The Food With Spirit student club are regular participants in general for the edible campus urban agriculture program.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/grounds/the-edible-campus/

(2) Natural History class (EVST 2100) regularly uses the campus for investigations of flora, fauna, and their interactions. The class studies bird and animal uses of places around campus. Students typically choose a site on campus for ongoing research into natural processes for their term projects, creating maps and outlining organism activities in each location.

(3) The Vi Hilbert Ethno Botanical garden, which highlights indigenous plants and the Lushootseed language that was preserved by elder Vi Hilbert, along with multiple other themed gardens on campus, provide an outdoor classroom for students to enjoy and interact with daily.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/grounds/campus-gardens/

(4) The landscape of the university is a designated Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary that allows students to see a diverse collection of birds, insects, and plants despite being in a city. In April 2017, a university core biology class partnered with Grounds to replace diseased cherry trees with a variety of pollinator-friendly species on the campus quad.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/grounds/wildlife-sanctuary/


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

(1) As the first Fair Trade University in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle University has had numerous opportunities for students to be involved with ensuring that the sourcing of the school’s food is ethical and sustainable. One positive outcome of this is the collaboration of students and faculty in partnering with UCA Managua and farmers in Nicaragua in developing a new brand of ethically sourced, Fair Trade coffee: MotMot Coffee.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/fair-trade/

(2) In December 2016 Seattle University hosted its first Fair Trade Fair, welcoming 24 vendors and over 450 community members to learn about Fair Trade and find ethically-sourced holiday gifts. The Fair was organized by a CEJS student intern and several vendors were SU students.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/fair-trade/


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:

(1) In Fall 2016, SU conducted a campus-wide Commuting Survey. The survey was an initiative by CEJS (Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability) who engaged two student interns in creating the survey, analyzing the results, and writing the survey’s report. The students were able to learn about commuting habits by SU's community; and measure and analyze the carbon impact of transportation.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/presidents-committee-for-sustainability/pcs-fy17-progress/commuting-survey/

(2) Two EVST (Environmental Studies) students have focused their senior synthesis (2017) on sustainable transportation strategies for Seattle U, specifically on making the campus more bicycle friendly. One of their goals is to obtain the “Bicycle Friendly University” recognition for institutions of higher education from the League of American Bicyclists. Through their research, these Environmental Studies students can make a positive impact on campus wellness and livability.


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:

(1) The Recycling Program, consisting of faculty, student employees, and student interns, facilitates waste diversion education on campus by organizing an annual community recycling day where community members can drop off difficult-to-recycle objects on campus. The program also provides recycling trainings and compost facility tours to SU students, as well as public waste-sorts on campus to promote awareness around recycling, composting, and waste reduction.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/what-su-is-doing/recycling/


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:

Several Faculty members have engaged SU students in water-related research:
(1) As part of the CEJS student fellowship program, a team of Environmental Engineering students researched and produced a reassessment of Seattle University stormwater infrastructure incorporating green infrastructure designs in 2015. For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/cejs/files/content/fellowships/2014-2015students/SU-Stormwater-Team-Mid-Year-Report.pdf
(2) In a project spanning 2012-2016, a team of bilingual Seattle University faculty and students convened in Nicaragua with UCA faculty/students and a local coffee cooperative (CECOSEMAC) to initiate a design project for treating coffee processing wastewater. The goal of this project was to optimize a previous design and create an effective solution to benefit small coffee farmers. UCA students tested wastewater characteristics, Seattle University students designed an appropriate treatment system, and the combined groups of students tested and implemented the treatment systems on Nicaraguan coffee farms. To facilitate knowledge transfer and sustainability, two UCA students came to Seattle University for a week during summer 2013 to study water quality and water filtration system testing in our campus labs. Finally, funds were raised and a contingent of professors, staff, students, and alumni traveled to a farm outside Matagalpa and completed the installation in March 2015. For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/nicamigos/
(3) Seattle University students prepared water filtration materials for the installation of a much needed drinking water treatment system in Nepal (by Dr. Marsolek, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering).
(4) CEJS Director Phillip Thompson and a team of four students worked with a local Thai nonprofit, Faith International, to provide drinking water treatment systems in a rural medical clinic in Thailand. While the systems were installed in 2010, the team returned in 2015 to continue their work with the clinic, and students learned from the experience the benefits and challenges of working on water system projects in rural areas.


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:

(1) An SU graduate student in the Masters in Sport Administration and Leadership and Certificate in Sport Sustainability Leadership programs is (as part of his study program) working with the Special Olympics USA Games Sustainability team to develop a sustainability strategic plan for the 2018 Games which will take place in Seattle; their goal is to become the first carbon neutral Special Olympics USA Games in history!

(2) Seattle University’s CEJS works every other year on the submission of the STARS report, engaging 2-3 student interns to collect and analyze data and assist in writing the report. The STARS report is a vital tool to guide our university’s sustainable development efforts and support the integration of sustainability into the institution’s planning.

(3) The Socially Responsible Investments Working Group consists of faculty, staff, and students and serves as the liaison between the campus community and Seattle University’s Investment Committee. It provides information and recommendations to the Committee on socially responsible investment issues that can be taken into account when making decisions on investments, policies and practices for Seattle University. SU members who join the Working Group get a chance to research socially responsible investment and contribute to sustainable planning for the university.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/finance-and-business-affairs/sri/

(4) The Student Government of Seattle University (SGSU) allows students to work with administration or start petitions on various topics, such as the paper towel composting petition in Fall 2017. As a student government, it acknowledges that “the most threatening environmental effects are present in communities that are least able to cope with them, and that environmental justice should be fought most by those who are environmentally privileged, including the staff, students, and faculty of Seattle University.” With this in mind, SGSU supports full divestment of the University from fossil fuels, the most pertinent agent in the global climate change crisis.
For more information:
https://www.seattleu.edu/sgsu/appropriations/

(5) The President’s Committee for Sustainability consists of students, staff, and faculty. The PCS oversees the implementation of Seattle University’s Climate Action Plan and the integration of sustainability initiatives across the SU community.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/presidents-committee-for-sustainability/


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:

(1) Seattle University offers dozens of campus programs throughout the year focused on questions of intercultural understanding, complex identity, and various forms of social justice. The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Office of Institutional Inclusion, Center for the Study of Justice in Society, International Student Center, and others on campus offer such programs regularly. Experiential programs include year-long cohort programs, co-curricular campus programming, and retreat opportunities for minoritized students. OMA hosts an annual Faculty and Staff of Color retreat, and the Office of Institutional Inclusion hosts a wide variety of trainings, workshops, dialogues, and other events for faculty and staff to explore diversity and inclusion and support each other in their work.

(2) In the Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies course 2020 “Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms,” students explore education in urban schools. Students develop an understanding of the importance of quality teaching with an introduction to culturally relevant pedagogy, learning theories, learning disabilities, inclusive practice, and immigrant education. Practical strategies for improving reading and math comprehension will also be addressed. Multicultural education provides the framework for this course, and thus the commitment to social justice and educational equity guide course reflection, actions, and analysis. Class meetings are at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, the focal point of the Seattle University Youth Initiative. Service learning is required at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School (or Washington Middle School).

(3) In spring, 2017, Dr. Mark Cohan's university core class, Sociology of Food, partnered with Seattle-based Northwest Harvest, a non-profit food bank distributor, to help them promote a conference they planned to host. Through research and personal interviews, the students helped create a video to help promote a national conference, "Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity."
https://www.seattleu.edu/artsci/departments/assw/

(4) Professor Rob Efird enlisted the aid of student Taylor Burmer to prepare an exhibit about the unique aspects of the Danny Woo Community Garden for the Wing Luke Museum. The garden in Seattle’s historic Chinatown-International District has welcomed immigrants from Asia for more than 40 years, and the exhibit ran through March 2017. For more information:
https://www.seattleu.edu/artsci/departments/assw/faculty-student-research-danny-woo-garden/

(5) As part of Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service, the Project on Family Homelessness uses journalism, art and storytelling projects to help engage the community to make family homelessness rare, brief and one time only in Washington state. The oldest continuous homelessness advocacy project at Seattle University, the project was established in 2009 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project was recently awarded a seventh grant from the Gates Foundation to continue its communications and advocacy work through 2018 including serving local partners in homelessness and housing advocacy.


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

(1) The Socially Responsible Investments Working Group consists of faculty, staff, and students and serves as the liaison between the campus community and Seattle University’s Investment Committee. The SRI Working Group provides information and recommendations to the Committee on socially responsible investment issues that can be taken into account when making decisions on investments, policies and practices for Seattle University. SU members who join the Working Group get a chance to research socially responsible investment and contribute to sustainable planning for the university.
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/finance-and-business-affairs/sri/

(2) In January 2017, Seattle University’s Fair Trade Team registered SU's Fair Trade coffee “Café Ambiental” as a social enterprise with the State of Washington. Officially re-branded as "MotMot coffee," the fair trade coffee project is a great example of a micro-entrepreneurship endeavor by students and faculty of SU’s Albers School of Business and Economics. According to Professor Quan Le, one team lead and researcher, “this unique combination of educational focus, fulfilling community needs, and the empowerment of students has created a successful model that has transferrable potential to other educational institutions.”
For more information: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/cejs/files/content/fellowships/2016-2017-faculty/QuanLe_The-Case-of-Cafe%C3%8C%C2%81-Ambiental_CEJS.pdf


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:

(1) Seattle University focuses on community investment and engagement. Many classes encompass “service-learning” into them where students serve the community by working at locations such as local elementary and high schools, recovery homes, food banks, soup kitchens, and more. 44% of students partake in at least one service-learning class before they graduate.
For more information, see https://www.seattleu.edu/cce/

(2) As part of Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service, the Project on Family Homelessness uses journalism, art and storytelling projects to help engage the community to make family homelessness rare, brief and one time only in Washington state. The oldest continuous homelessness advocacy project at Seattle University, the project was established in 2009 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project was recently awarded a seventh grant from the Gates Foundation to continue its communications and advocacy work through 2018 including serving local partners in homelessness and housing advocacy.


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:

(1) Every Winter, the campus-wide Wellness Challenge (organized by the student peer health educator Health and Wellness Crew—HAWC) invites students to set personal goals and make changes in personal habits to work towards better health.
(2) The Sport and Exercise Science internship, SPEX course 4950, provides an opportunity for students to develop their professional skills during a supervised practical experience in selected non-profit, business or governmental agency or institution. Professional skills acquired from the SPEX curriculum include applying the principles and concepts of biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and physiology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, nutrition and exercise psychology to the study of the human body's responses and adaptions to acute and chronic bouts of physical activity and exercise.


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:

(1) Numerous majors, including but not limited to Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, and Civil and Environmental Engineering provide students with the opportunities to gain hands on experience with a variety of organizations working towards conservation, restoration, and alternative development.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.