Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.36
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

Smith College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Rachael Wein
Assistant Director of Sustainability
CEEDS
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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 Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:

Eco-Reps, House Residents, and Student Government Association sustainability leaders design campus engagement programs, peer learning events, climate grief and action events and so on each semester. Programs reach almost all students and are executed in unique and enticing campus locations such as the greenhouse of the bontanic gardens, the art museum, and unity houses.


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:

Environmental Science and Policy major and capstone semester-long projects consistently enable applied student learning in relation to public engagement. A few examples from the past three years include: developing climate resilience action plans for four neighboring rural towns; developing a carbon mitigation plan for nearby industrial city; developing a carbon footprint for a local food bank facility and then mapping which available incentives and rebates could assist with reducing footprint and operation costs.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Air & Climate:

A semester-long internship where a student worked on a before and after carbon footprint of a local dairy operation that installed a biodigester and co-generation facility.

A student research project took geophysical test results from pilot demonstration of geothermal system to study land formation in our geographic region.


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:

Three independent special studies completed a series of connected projects about building energy consumption. The first project modeled building heating loads for unmetered buildings. The second took findings and experimentally modeled them after meters were installed. The final project used the previous information to model total heating load reduction associated with capital project improvements over next 20 years.


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:

Eight different special studies on aspects of the college's district energy plan, including sewage heat exchange and hydro-electric potential of our pond, all contributing to the final plan delivered in December 2019. In addition, multiple courses were modified during 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 to investigate thermodynamics, heat mass transfer, advanced thermodynamics, as well as photovoltaic and fuel cell systems to contribute to the design of the plan.


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:

In the fall of 2017, students in ENX 301 capstone developed the reusable meal containers for grab-and-go dining. Students receive a token that can be given to dining hall coordinators in exchange for a container. After each use, containers must be returned to vending machines in the Campus Center, Tyler or Scales in exchange for a token for a freshly washed container for the next meal. In fall 2018, the Student Government Association's sustainability committee partnered with dining services to conduct a waste audit. They weighed food waste at three of the largest dining halls for a week to determine if the majority of food waste came from front or back of house.

In the summer of 2019 three students designed a program in collaboration with dining services to serve climate conscious foods for major events on campus.


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:

Every year 3-5 interns work directly with our field station manager to cut hiking trails, propogate trees, develop signage, and manage invasive species. In 2019 two students completed special studies about the main campus landscape investigating how to bring forward the indigenous heritage of the land on which Smith exists and how the college could manifest universal design principles and have educational learning objectives for our landscape.


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:

In 2018/19 there were two successive ENV 312 capstone projects to develop a carbon footprint of the college's supply change (scope 3 emissions) and then to identify the hotspots in the footprint. It was discovered that our air travel, food, and construction contribute the most to our footprint.


IIs 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:

A group special studies looked into the possibility of performing energy demand response using car batteries as storage systems for peak shaving while charging at EV stations.


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:

One student completed two semesters of special studies to analyze move-out waste programs at similar institutions and the problems that exist at our institution, and then developed and executed a comprehensive move-out waste collection and re-distribution program that kept 14 tons of waste from the landfill.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:
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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 Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:

In 2017 a full course designed and executed the community engagement supporting the college President's Study Group on Climate Change which charted a path of action around climate change. The report from the course is online.


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 president hosts an innovation challenge each year to promote and fund student-designed and led solutions to concerns and problems around diversity and affordability. Winner's projects are funded and institutionally supported.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:

In 2017 a student investment club was established to invest $100,000 as a model for how the college might invest money it has divested from fossil fuels. The club is supported by the college's entrepreneurial center. In 2017/2018 year-long special studies was completed by a student that design a carbon proxy program and price for the campus. The model was implemented into capital project financing considerations.

Additionally, two students sit on the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, which gives them learning and engagement opportunities, and to put their knowledge and passions into practice with the committee.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

Students design and lead exercise classes, courses that connect their peers to the natural environment, and programs that get students, faculty, and staff to the field station for relaxation, observations of nature, and community building.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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