Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.40
Liaison Robert Sitler
Submission Date July 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Stetson University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Robert Sitler
Prof. of World Languages & Cultures
World Languages & Cultures
"---" 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:

Hatter Harvest garden: HH is a registered student organization on campus (photos can be found on the group's instagram account, @hatterharvest_su). The group meets every Friday evening in the on-campus garden space for garden work and community-building, and they have connected with other community gardens in the area. This garden space is used for the course, "Beginning practicum for sustainable food production" in which the class maintains a plot as a class and harvests together at the end of the semester.

Brown Hall: Stetson's newest building features teaching gardens and a teaching kitchen classroom, which was used for a new special topics course in the spring of 2023.

Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center: The landscape at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center features many native plant and pollinator pocket gardens, which provide regular service-learning opportunities with campus clubs, classes, and other student groups. Stetson's IWER provides gloves to students at these events, and the students can engage with the maintenance of the gardens, like mulching or pulling weeds, while discussing the role and importance of native plants in Florida's sustainable landscapes and environments.


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:

We regularly host classes at the Gillespie Museum grounds and currently are beginning a partnership with the Teacher Education department to train future teachers in hands-on science learning to pass on to in their classes.

Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center: The landscape at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center features many native plant and pollinator pocket gardens, which provide regular service-learning opportunities with the public, in partnership with Volusia County's Volunteer Volusia program. These service-learning style volunteer events are educational opportunities for the public to engage with the maintenance of the gardens, like mulching or pulling weeds, while discussing the role and importance of native plants in Florida's sustainable landscapes and environments.


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:

Stetson's Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience regularly hosts talks surrounding climate, water, and resilience topics at the Sandra Stetson's Aquatic Center's Lakeview room. These talks are typically open to the community as well as students, and are often incentivized for student attendance through the University's cultural credit program. For example, Earth Day 2023 featured a panel discussion lunch-and-learn surrounding climate change, greenhouse gas mitigation, and resilience topics.


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:

The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center's building and site work meets the Green Globe criteria established by the Green Building Institute. The ceiling is made with reclaimed wood, dredged from the bottom of the St. Johns River, symbolic of Stetson's commitment to the environment.


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:

The Environmental Fellows conduct the regularly updated greenhouse gas audit of university operations.


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:

Food Recovery Network/Relationship with Campus Dining: As part of the sustainable food systems curriculum, there is a tour of the CUB kitchen (campus dining) every semester and a discussion of their efforts for more sustainable food sourcing, pulping of food waste, etc. There is also a Stetson chapter of the Food Recovery Network, which packages leftover food from campus events to donate in the community. This organization paused its activities at the start of COVID, but a current senior research student is working on restarting the activities. She is also working with a local hog farmer to donate the pulped food waste from the CUB (student union).


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:

The Volusia Sandhill Teaching Landscape is a 1-acre habitat restoration site with the goal of restoring the habitat on the site to the native ecosystem that was present prior to European colonization. It demonstrates how natural habitats managed with best management practices (minimal herbicide use, no irrigation, strategies to mimic the historic regular disturbance of fire) support biodiversity. The habitat becomes an oasis in an urbanized landscape. It is being actively managed by students, professors, and Gillespie Museum staff – the students are learning best management practices and how to maintain a natural habitat within a developed landscape. Dr. Cindy Bennington and Dr. Peter May have studied insect biodiversity. Student Brandon Evans is doing his senior research on silk grass aster and wire grass competition. The landscaping at the on-campus We regularly host classes at the Gillespie/grounds to augment learning. In 2022, environmental science, marketing, geology, and biology classes all used the site. In progress is a partnership with the education department to train teaching students in hands-on science learning. It will take years to recover the longleaf sandhill ecosystem that once existed here, a dry, sandy slope of the DeLand Ridge, located behind the Rinker Environmental Learning Center and part of the Gillespie Museum grounds. In summer 2011 the restoration began with the planting of 80 trees, mostly longleaf pines but also turkey oaks, persimmons and black cherries which are associated with upland pine forests. Small plots of understory plants have been added by student volunteers, visiting scout groups and other community partners. The site now includes a pollination garden, several wiregrass areas, and plantings of greeneyes, coreopsis, pawpaw, blazing star, gopher apples and other native sandhill species. More than a restoration, this ongoing project is also an outdoor classroom and living museum, offering a unique opportunity for environmental education about a rapidly disappearing ecosystem.

Paths through the landscape feature learning stations and interpretive signs to educate students and visitors about a critical ecosystem that once stretched across the southeastern U.S., with a special focus on DeLand and Central Florida, from the geologic history of its coarse sands and limestone substrata to the flora and fauna that live in it. Already the landscape serves as an extension of the Gillespie Museum's environmental programming, a laboratory for Stetson University faculty and undergraduate research, and the inspiration for sustainable projects — from bee hives to a seed library.

The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center grounds showcase sustainability and innovation through exemplary green infrastructure projects on-site, including a rain garden, stormwater pond plantings, and floating mats, as well as native plant and pollinator pocket gardens. Also planned for the grounds is an innovative freshwater living shoreline restoration project, called Matt's Point, which will also include a boardwalk along Lake Beresford, continuing the site's legacy of facilitating discussions surrounding our region's shared water resources and sustainability in the landscape.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Transportation:
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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 Waste?:
Yes

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

The Stetson recycling program is headed up by the Recycling Coordinator along with help from student employees. Each day varies with a different student and the coordinator running a designated route or section of campus. Generally, the campus is completed in three and a half days, with repeated stops on Thursday and Friday. Paper, paperboard, cardboard, plastic, cans, and glass bottles are the most common items collected. Specialty items such as metal, electronics, batteries, printer cartridges, and small appliances are also collected. A typical day involves collecting and sorting recyclables. We use multiple vendors for pick-up, so it is imperative that we make sure the recyclables are properly sorted. We also make sure that the recyclables are clean and are acceptable for the recycling centers. This is a major challenge, since the idea of “clean” recyclables varies from person to person. Once the route is completed, the coordinator and the student take the recyclables to our Recycling Yard and cardboard baler to separate the materials. Most of the separating happens at the buildings to save time when onloading the trailer. This is not a comprehensive list of all that goes into the program, but it is the bulk of it.


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:

The Florida native landscaping around the Gillespie Museum and the Rinker Environmental Learning Center requires no irrigation or fertilizer. The Teaching Landscape is a place for all to learn about an ancient ecosystem with an unusually diverse understory, a part of Volusia County's natural history as well as to engage in restoring a small version of this ecosystem. It also helps in returning a natural community to a corner of Stetson University's campus and demonstrating how an irrigation-free landscaping can help conserve dwindling water resources.

The native gardens on-site at the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center provide educational opportunities related to water quality and quantity issues, as well as steps individuals can take toward their solutions, such as planting native plants which do not require fertilizer or irrigation.


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 student Environmental Fellows are the primary leaders in coordination of Stetson's environmental efforts. They work to develop a more cognizant and purposeful Stetson community focused on social, economic, and environmental practices. We foster a culture of environmentalism through education and direct involvement within our campus and the greater community.

Mission Statement: To maintain Stetson University as a leader in environmental stewardship through thoughtful communication and activities linking community and planet.

Activities:
1) Conducts an annual campus-wide greenhouse gas audit using SIMAP software
2) Manages and invests an annual Revolving Green Fund of $30,000 into energy
efficiency and renewable energy projects
3) Tracks return on investments made through the Revolving Green Fund using the
GRITS software
4) Creates educational events centered around the environment or sustainability for community events such as Values Day or Earth Day.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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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 Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
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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 Wellbeing & Work?:
No

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