Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.01
Liaison Connie Norton
Submission Date Oct. 29, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Simon Fraser University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.20 / 4.00 Erica Lay
Sustainability Planning and Development Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" 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 Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy ---
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
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:
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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:

The Hand Dryers project was initiated through the 2012 Change Lab program.

The Hand Dryers project was designed to persuade Facilities Services Staff that Dyson Airblade Handdryers were a more environmentally-considerate and energy-efficient choice for SFU, and to try to have all paper hand-towels and hand dryers replaced on campus. After leaving Change Lab, this student submitted their project idea to SFU’s annual Kill-A-Watt Contest, and was selected as a winning entry. When the bathroom renovations were undertaken on the Southwest AQ bathrooms in the fall at SFU, Dyson Airblade Hand-dryers were installed. Upon following up with Facilities Services about the effect of this student’s work on the choice to install the specific hand-dryer model recommended by this student, the following excerpts were reported to us via email by a staff member at Facilities Services:

"I think it would be fair to say that the student's advocacy played a significant role in moving into action what previous proposals had failed to do, likely because the student actually engaged in discussion with facilities staff."

"Implementing any change is definitely challenging! I believe that when students lobby for the change in a thoughtful way backed by research and case studies, it can be very powerful to drive action [and] staff use the student request as justification for the change."


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:

In 2013, through Change Lab, two students investigated the barriers to adoption of the Green Container Exchange program, which allows students to have meals at SFU food-vendor locations to be served in re-usable containers. These containers can then be returned to be washed through the Exchange program. This report (file:///Users/ela37/Downloads/GGCE_FinalReport.pdf) clearly identifies the barriers to adoption and recommendations on how to overcome these barriers.

A number of these recommendations have been put into place since then, including:
-Adding all the GoGreen Container Exchange logo to all digital signage in Mackenzie Cafe.
-Re-trained front-of-staff on the program so that they were better equipped to answer questions.
-Setting up tables outside of the main food vendor, Mackenzie Cafe, several times per semester to answer questions about the program and to sign people up for the Container Exchange.


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:
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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:

The Environmental Science course EVSC 205: Methods in Environmental Science integrates student learning on environmental field techniques with community interest in and conservation of the Stoney Creek Watershed. In this course students use the local Stoney Creek Watershed to gain experience in (i) using field instruments for measuring environmental variables, such as stream flow and ionic concentrations in water, (ii) identifying and assessing abundances of invertebrate and plant species, and (iii) conducting stream surveys.

The course culminates in each student completing a group project that utilizes the skills developed over the course to tackle a project based on the data and research interests expressed by the Stoney Creek Environment Committee to the instructor. In 2013, students completed projects on:
-invasive species
-salinity and conductivity
-erosion
-impacts of communities
-water quality

The results and recommendations developed by the students in these projects were submitted to the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee. This is a 200 level course which is an introduction to fieldwork with a limited amount of fieldwork and data for the final projects. Given this scope, the results of the work done in the Methods in Environmental Science course provided information that enabled the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee to identify which of the potential watershed problems they had identified are of real concern in this watershed.


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:

In Spring 2014, Institutional Research and Planning and Facilities Services conducted an extensive commuter survey with staff, faculty and students at SFU. The intent of this survey was three-fold: to capture a more accurate inventory of emissions related to commuter travel to and from SFU’s campus, to produce a rich dataset for researchers and classes interested in working on transportation issues, and to develop a data set for program and land-use planning topics.

The Survey was designed in conjunction with Facilities Services and the Geography department, in order to pose questions in the survey that would meet the objectives of the project. The data has been processed and will be used in the Geography, Urban Studies and Health programs. Students will use this data in the GIS lab for GIS analysis, as well as to create a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory on commuting at SFU.


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:

Research and course-work at the university has supported the new Zero Waste Initiative in several ways. In Spring 2014, a business class developed and ran a Zero Waste event on campus to engage with the community, educate them and get feedback on the program. The event had over 150 attendees and over 100 pieces of feedback - which has been subsequently been used to inform changes and updates to the Zero Waste program.

Addressing the proliferation of individual serving coffee-makers in offices on campus,
two groups of students in a communications class carried out research/communication projects for Zero Waste. One of them produced a storyboard telling the story of the impact of the use of K-cups - which will be used to campaign against the use of them on campus.

The other group designed a reusable mug campaign, is currently being piloted by SFU's sustainability ambassadors, and will launching across campus in the winter - to educate and create behaviour change around the disposable coffee cup culture.


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:
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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:
---

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:
---

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:

Students have supported and learned from recent involvement in the classroom renewal committee. Through the university's health promotion staff, SFU students conducted pre- and post-renovation surveys on the Images Theatre Entrance Renewal project. Communicated through the SFU Health Promotion Staff representative on the Classroom Renewal committee, the data gathered by these students impacted the design of the Theatre renewal. This engagement around the role of physical spaces has impacted the space renovation-renovation outside of Images Theatre.
The role that the students played in engaging with other students is crucial in helping to inform health promotion staff of student reactions.


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:

In what might be considered a Campus as a Living Lab role-reversal, the series of SFU 2065 Change Lab lab videos (and YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PmDPSYV8aA) which articulated student visions of SFU at it's 100th anniversary has emphasized the value and importance of longer-term visioning to the university. These videos were presented to the university Administrators' Group Meeting, attended by some university Vice Presidents, and were used to engage senior decision makers on visioning for SFU's sustainable future.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 5, 2015

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:

Experiential Education Dialogues: Academic
The EE Dialogues were a project designed by a project team of 6 of the students, through the Change Lab program, which aimed to:

• promote the joy of learning and teaching within the SFU community by getting students excited about and engaged in their education;

• help build student-professor relationships that address and reimagine conventional power dynamics;

• prepare students for a world that demands ecological consciousness and dynamic problem solving skills;

• promote, share, and connect with existing opportunities in EE while envisioning new possibilities for SFU.

In total, 21 faculty members, 19 staff and administrators and 45 students attended the two Dialogue sessions, participating in a combined 3 hours of dialogue and activities.

The Dialogues generated a number of meaningful recommendations, which were synthesized as part of the data informing the Final Summary Report of the Experiential Education Project.

In regards to their impact, the project team concluded that: “The Experiential Education Dialogues were envisioned as a first step towards revitalizing and revolutionizing learning at SFU. By connecting interested members of the SFU community and engaging students to take a more active role in their education, we aimed to foster a network of students, staff, administration, and professors dedicated to the promotion of EE. The dialogues made great strides towards this end, bringing together a diverse set of actors for an inspiring two sessions, and highlighting once again that the climate is right for continued action and progress in the area of EE at SFU. Moving forward, the recommendations that came out of the dialogues represent the next steps in creating, promoting, and strengthening experiential education at SFU. Importantly, we must remember that the change we are seeking is a process and one likely to be gradual. As such, perspectives that acknowledge longer timelines in relation to the transitory nature of the student population are crucial to ensure the success of what can only be regarded as the next great step in the evolution of post-secondary education,”.


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.