Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.52
Liaison Megan Varnadore
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Sonoma State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jeff Baldwin
Asso
Geography
"---" 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:

The ability to evaluate rooftops for water captures, a creek that runs through campus for sediment loading and a multitude of other attributes available to research along with the creative course development of our professors and there focuses on the importance of sustainability creates a high level of campus engagement.
As a part of the class project, a group of three students worked on "Saving Water & Money by Xeriscaping" the university. Through this project, the students were able to research and identify the annual water consumption and costs involved in maintaining the traditional lawns and were able to present the class with some possible solutions of replacing the campus lawns with Xeriscape gardening.


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 projects described in detail below have a direct hands-on impact on how the university uses the campus as a living laboratory and shares that information extensively in public engagement to both educate and foster ideas for further research in other locations.


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:

Professor. Michelle Goman runs a Conference called PACLIM (paclim.org) which brings in climate scientists from across the Nation to discuss climate science topics. This year the theme was on “Extreme Events”. Keynotes were on flood, drought, wind, fire extremes.
A student intern helped to put together the abstract book and other materials that were provided to conference participants. (Conference was held off-campus, however).
The student also undertook newspaper archival work looking for articles examining the economic impacts of extreme precipitation events in the Russian River Basin (which includes Campus).

In Prof. Jeff Baldwin's class, one of the students worked on the thesis topic of "An Environmental Data Analysis of Extreme Precipitation Frequency and Duration in Sonoma, Napa Lake, and Mendocino Counties 1954-2018". The research involved conducting an environmental data analysis of frequency and duration of severe precipitation days as well as three and five-day events in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino County, located north of San Francisco Bay. The central variable in this analysis is precipitation. The precipitation data was retrieved for the consecutive years 1954 - 2018, measured in millimeters per day. Precipitation data collected at thirteen stations in the aforementioned California Counties are used in this analysis.

As part of the study program, one of the students of Prof. Jeff Baldwin worked on their thesis topic "Anthropological and Environmental factors impacting Climate Change mitigation through Carbon Sequestration: An Evaluation of Elevation, Vegetation, Fire, and Land use,". This paper explores the environmental factors that affect soil organic carbon stocks (SOCS), namely land use, elevation, vegetation, and fire. Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is an extremely important component of soil and ecosystem health, as it is the largest terrestrial carbon sink in the world. By taking samples from grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands of five different elevations, the student was able to better understand environmental factors that determine the SOCS. The locations selected for the samples are Sonoma State University (SSU), Crane Creek Regional Park (CCRP), Coyote Farm (CF), and Fairfield Osborn preserve (FOP).


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:

During Fall 2019, as part of the class project, students from the course Energy, Technology and Society have compiled baseline carbon data as a preliminary step towards a larger Climate Action Plan. They have analyzed the usage of the building's natural gas (Scope 1) and electricity (Scope 2) from the years 2014 to 2017 to calculate their carbon emissions.


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:

For the class projects, the students had the opportunity to look into the prospects of increasing renewable solar energy sources at Sonoma State University. They have conducted a comparison of the amount of current rooftop solar vs the potential amount of rooftop solar and what would the cost of these technologies be. A cost analysis of Solar Roadway and Solar Rooftop on the university was also conducted to project the development of solar use.


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:

A majority of dining services are run by students under the supervision of staff which provides them with different skills as well as exposure to food sustainability issues. A Student Sustainability Co-ordinator coordinates and organizes the Farm to Table Dinner Farm information with marketing for our students. They set up monthly tracking for every year and are currently working on templates to track our Carbon footprint in the future. Students working in dining services are also responsible for composting waste food.


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:

Students have been sampling soil deposits on campus, at Fairfield Osborn Preserve, and Crane Creek to determine the amount of carbon sequestered in them. Students collect and process samples for Total Organic Carbon (TOC). This analysis is providing a baseline for understanding the natural storage of carbon on campus. We have collected sediment cores from wetlands at Fairfield Osborn Preserve. We have dated the deposits using Pb210 analysis. These samples thus provide us with a historical perspective on carbon sequestration. We have found that different types of wetlands store more carbon than soils in grassland and forested environments. This is useful as we can use this information to manage existing natural habitat and also man-made environments to maximize carbon storage.

Geomorphology class has been monitoring the headwater region of Copeland creek as it runs through Fairfield Osborne Preserve. Students undertake a total station survey of the creek to look at channel morphological changes, monitor erosion pins and perform pebble counts. This has been ongoing for most years since 2011. This study is showing the slow lateral movement of the channel through time and provides an estimate of the amount of erosion that is occurring on a yearly basis, which can be tied to streamflow and precipitation.


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

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

NA


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:

Professor. Jeff Baldwin in his paper, "Sustainability Education Through Active-Learning in Large Lecture Settings: Evaluation of four out of class exercises", students were asked to participate in four separate out-of-class activities. Of the four activities, one of them involved students using the Excel spreadsheet designed by the professor to daily track the carbon equivalent emissions produced separately by their transportation.
For the transportation tracker, he had the students enter how many miles they traveled by automobile that day. He chose a mile per gallon coefficient of 20 and entered the CO2e in the spreadsheet calculation. Students had choices of driving singly or riding with 2-4 other people in the car with accordantly lower CO2e emissions. The spreadsheet was designed to show grams of emission in the cell adjacent to their entry. In an effort to increase interest in and reward none motorized forms of transportation he designed the tracker to give carbon credits for minutes spent bicycle riding, skateboarding, or walking, specifically instead of driving, i.e. for trips that they would otherwise drive.

A group of four students from GEP 373 class had the opportunity to research Transportation. Their research looks into the question of how many gallons of gasoline are avoided for every dollar the university invests in on-campus housing. They conducted a student and vehicle surveys to determine the average driving distance, vehicle gas mileage and also interviewed the Sonoma State housing coordinator to determine the construction and maintenance costs of student housing. The results indicate that the University could potentially avoid an enormous amount of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by reducing transportation to campus by building more on-campus housing.


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:

There is an increasing amount of paper wastage by generating bills and receipts. Students had the opportunity to conduct a data-based analysis of the problem using the root cause analysis for the project "Paper Receipt Waste in California". The project used available data from the state to calculate a per capita generation rate. It then identified the negative environmental impacts including waste generation (the receipts are generally too small for recycling), potential litter, and human exposure to BPA. The evaluation process seeks to identify which policy instrument could eliminate or reduce the generation of paper receipts by evaluation cost, unintended consequences, privacy concerns (paper v. email receipt) feasibility, and reduction in risk to human health. The student found that the best policy approach would be to provide paper receipts only upon request.


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:

In 2017-2018 two students undertook monitoring and modeled creek flow at Copeland Creek and Crane Creek as a thesis writing. These studies are helpful in determining maximum streamflow and impacts on communities and infrastructure.

A team of students researched on the topic, "Can rooftop rainwater harvesting be a potentially viable method for a successful drip irrigation system in Sonoma County ?”. The research included examining the benefits and viability of the planned implementation of rainwater collection for irrigation at the Environmental Technology Center (ETC) on Sonoma State’s campus. Using historical climate data and the actual irrigation needs of the current garden, an estimated realistic total of expected gallons of collected water has been acquired. In addition to this, the estimated minimum expected collected amount of water per square foot of
rooftop has been extrapolated into residential rooftop collection settings. The total water collection effectiveness from different standard-sized residential roofs was then applied to maximum areas of lawn able to maintain, or other common garden options used in California, such as drought-tolerant natives.


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:

The campus preserves, main campus buildings, creek on camps and relationship to the surrounding communities, both human and animal are all key contributors to help students understand how critical sustainability is in coordination and planning.

Sonoma State’s Center for Sustainable Communities is a research and community service center within the Department of Geography, Environment, and Planning. The CSC is staffed by teams of faculty, senior consultants, and student assistants. Senior consultants are drawn from “encore career” planning professionals who have recently retired from leadership positions in the region and serve as mentors to the CSC’s student researchers.
The CSC works with a mix of government agencies to develop policy documents and implementation programs. Its activities are focused on an array of sustainability topics, such as:
• Local and regional government approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change
• Land use planning and public health, including comprehensive planning documents
• Integrating water resources and land use planning

Some of the recent projects can be found here:
http://envisionrp.com/images/docs/prd_whitepapers_march2019/rpgpu_prd-ej_2019-03-26_reduced.pdf
http://envisionrp.com/images/docs/prd_whitepapers_march2019/rpgpu_prd-climatechange_2019-03-26_reduced.pdf
http://propelvallejo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Vallejo%20General%20Plan%202040_FINAL_Amended%20171107_reduced.pdf


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:

Campus as a living laboratory provides wonderful opportunities for demonstrating the critical importance of diversity & affordability. In all aspects, the ability for different approaches as well and simple to complex solutions all contribute to successful solutions in improving sustainability.

Prof Elisa from the Psychology department along with her students worked on a thesis project " Why do Racial Microaggressions matter for racial minority Students' Academic Success?" which identifies and addresses the racial microaggressions experienced in the classroom and their impact on the academic success and psychological well-being of Black/African American college students. By conducting a survey of staff, professors and student clubs, they have provided some recommendations to enhance the classroom experience and promote students' academic and personal success.


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:

A group of professors from the School of Business & Economics researched and published a paper titled "An Exploratory Study of Strategic Preparedness in the U.S. Wine Industry". The paper highlights how the employees, trade associations, retail groups, and customers of the wine industries should be prepared for the rising natural disasters and proactively follow a plan to overcome the disaster. The paper also explains some of the best practices that fall under four primary categories: communication, operational preparation, organizational trust, and community resilience. The professors spent a year around Sonoma and Napa counties researching the strategic preparedness of the wine industry in the face of human-created crises and natural disasters.


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:
---

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

All the data on the projects can be provided as per the request.

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.