Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.78
Liaison Lisa Mitten
Submission Date March 8, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

State University of New York at New Paltz
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lisa Mitten
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Campus Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
No

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:
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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:

Mechanical Engineering student Julian Chipkin analyzed building temperatures and building-level thermal energy use in Capen Hall and corresponded these trends to outdoor air temperature from December 2016 to April 2017. He analyzed trends to identify overheated spaces and to enable the campus to assess where thermal energy is being wasted. The campus is in the process of upgrading heating controls in Capen Hall. Following the controls upgrade, we will monitor building temperatures and energy usage to determine if the project led to reduced energy use intensity as well as increased comfort in spaces. The campus is using ultrasonic meters to measure thermal energy flows in Capen Hall.


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:

During the summer of 2016, mechanical engineering students Megan Gangewere and Kristen O'Sullivan conducted a building energy analysis of Resnick Engineering Hall. The students were guided by mechanical engineering professor Kevin Shanley. The students used a model that the Department of Energy produced and maintains the open source software Energy PLUS. This software is used to analyze the energy needs of new and existing buildings. Energy usage outputs can be manipulated by altering building conditions (e.g. lighting types, windows, multiple zones, etc.). REH is seeing increasing use in the summer months as the Division of Engineering Programs grows. This puts added burden on the HVAC for the building. Energy PLUS can help to optimize HVAC usage so the building can operate in a more sustainable fashion. This work will focus on summer occupancy, but may help to inform decisions year-round.


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:

Sodexo, Campus Auxiliary Services, the Office of Campus Sustainability and students developed a campus definition of sustainable food and beverages in the spring of 2016. This group has been conducting sustainable food and beverage spending analysis every six months. From time to time, they compare costs and benefits of specific items.


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:

During the summer of 2014, Professor Emerita Carol Rietsma and Assistant Professor Eric Keeling conducted a campus tree survey with students, inventorying all trees on campus. The database will be made available to all campus users, including facilities staff, students, and faculty, especially in the biology department. Professor Keeling uses it to improve a tree identification activity in his undergraduate Ecology course by designing a tour through campus highlighting important native species. The trees became important “teaching trees,” allowing handy comparison between the subtle characteristics of species that are difficult to differentiate. In his Plant Ecophysiology course (BIO425), he plans to use the database in a similar manner to locate important tree species for phenological observations. The database will be valuable more generally for identifying and cataloging “trees of special value” on campus that would include “teaching trees” as mentioned above, but also other notable specimens, such as particularly large or old trees. Additionally, the database may be used to inform decisions about future plantings on campus, in order to fill gaps in the campus collection of living trees. This tree survey is now an ongoing project and is continually updated.


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:

Student Ryan O'Hara conducted a study of printer infrastructure and paper and ink usage on campus for the VP of Administration and Finance. The purpose of this study was to reduce overall costs of printers as well as to reduce consumption of printing resources including paper and ink.


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:

Erica Wagner, member of Board of Directors for a local organization called UlsterCorps has two students working with her as Associate Board Members. One student was working on a transportation project. Her goal was to research and then map out directions for students to travel to volunteer sites in the region using public transportation. It is now hosted on a mobile website where students are able to click on the location they would like to visit and they will be presented with information about how to get there using public transportation from campus. This was launched in 2015.
http://ulstercorps.org/ucways/


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:

During the spring of 2016, Sustainability Ambassadors employed the by Office of Campus Sustainability conducted waste audits in three residence halls collecting data on 24-hours of waste. They found that the actual data regarding landfill and recycling rates are much lower than what our waste/recycling hauler is reporting to us. They also found that significant amounts of recycled material are being put into the landfill bins. These lessons learned are being communicated to on campus residents via email and posters. This data is informing our zero waste student engagement efforts on campus for the 2017-18 academic year.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
No

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:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
No

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:
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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:

In the fall of 2017, President Christian initiating a community dialogue about names of the Hasbrouck Dining Hall and residence halls in that complex. Some view these building names as perpetuating the legacy of slavery, and the College is aware that some students, particularly students of color, have expressed their discomfort about living in halls with these names. The Diversity and Inclusion Council is facilitating a campus-wide discussion about the names of buildings in the Hasbrouck Complex.


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:

The faculty-student-led Green Revolving Fund invests in projects that advance sustainability and reduce operating expenses, especially energy use, on the SUNY New Paltz campus to create a perpetually renewable source of capital to fund new projects, create valuable educational opportunities, and achieve long term energy efficiency. To date, the fund has about $9000 and the committee will be meeting this academic year to review the first batch of proposed projects. In addition, the management of the fund creates an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to work together to create a more sustainable, energy efficient campus community.


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:

Andrea Frank (Photography) was awarded a SUNY Network of Excellence Arts And Humanities Grant to fund a trans-disciplinary multi-campus project to engage in sustainability related research and community engagement. We focused on designing a town square in the place of a re-designed inefficient parking lot to create a foundation for community, improve green infrastructure, create a hub for information exchange (digital display possibly) in relation to sustainability, trees, seating, bike racks, possibly solar charging station, etc. Student assistants were involved in design, photography, videography, and general assistance.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

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:
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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:

Professor Kara Belinsky has installed a network of bird feeders and bird nest boxes across the campus that she uses for student research and for research projects in her Ornithology and Animal Behavior courses. Research students have recently completed a study using sixteen bird feeders to compare bird diversity and community composition at locations varying in land covers such as natural forest, lawn, plantings, pavement, and buildings in 2016. The students observed birds at all feeder stations over three seasons and used mist-nets to capture and band birds during the summer. In 2017, they reduced the number of bird feeders to nine, and began color-banding individual birds at the feeders in order to observe how these birds use the mix of habitats with different landscaping across our campus. Students are currently using video cameras to record how often birds use each feeder. Kara Belinsky presented her bird research to staff in Facilities Management in the fall of 2017. The Office of Design and Construction is partnering with Kara to develop an innovation LEED credit based on promoting bird biodiversity in the areas surrounding Deyo Hall, which is scheduled to undergo a major renovation and is currently in the design phase.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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