Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.09
Liaison DeLayne Miller
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Tennessee Technological University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Maci Arms
Student Worker
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
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 Air & Climate:

The Center for Energy Systems Research is an Accomplished Center of Excellence at Tennessee Technological University. Faculty members are from various academic departments including Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical and Bio Molecular Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering. Faculty and students perform research on solar energy, energy storage, smart grid power systems, power electronics, wind energy, distributed power plant performance improvement, cement, concrete, bridge and structure health monitoring, flood flow modeling, advanced communications and cyber security. Graduate students and visiting scholars from around the world work on these projects. The major objectives of the center are to provide solutions to problems faced by energy producers and consumers, to expand opportunities for advanced training in these fields to Tennessee students, and to provide trained man power to solve present and future problems of the energy industry.

https://www.tntech.edu/engineering/research/cesr/index.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
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 Buildings:
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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:

TTU faculty and students at the graduate and undergraduate levels conduct research concerning the Food-Water-Energy Nexus. This research includes professors and students from multiple campus departments, including Environmental Engineering, Agriculture, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. The research spans across different themes, but has a connected purpose of conserving energy.

Additionally, Tech's Center for Energy Systems Research is an interdisciplinary center that performs research on solar energy, energy storage, smart grid power systems, power electronics, wind energy, distributed power plant performance improvement, cement, concrete, bridge and structure health monitoring, flood flow modeling, advanced communications and cyber security. The major objectives of the center are to provide solutions to problems faced by energy producers and consumers, to expand opportunities for advanced training in these fields to Tennessee students, and to provide trained man power to solve present and future problems of the energy industry.

https://www.tntech.edu/research/centersandfacilities/wrc/water-energy-food-nexus.php

https://www.tntech.edu/engineering/research/cesr/about-cesr/


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:

The College of Human Ecology hosts a Friday Cafe once a week where students are in charge of menu creation, food preparation, and food service for the cafe. This opportunity is offered through the Quantity Food Production course and is supervised by a faculty member.

https://www.tntech.edu/cahe/hec/friday_cafe/index.php

Additionally, students from all campus departments as well as campus faculty and staff members are given the opportunity to participate in free, interactive programs hosted by Campus Dining. Their programs focus on providing the necessary information to encourage informed choices on both the food we conserve and the ways we interact with the natural environment.

https://www.dineoncampus.com/ttu/sustainability


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:

Tech's Shipley Farm & Oakley Farm are used by many different groups of students, faculty, and organizations to learn more about green industries, processing, and landscaping. The Agronomy and Soils students work on the Tech Farm to enhance their learning experience. The soils classes maintain flower beds in front of Oakley Hall. Nursery and Landscape Management and Turfgrass Management students work on the Tech Farm. The Biology Department has a greenhouse on campus. Under the Biology Department, several courses use the campus as a living lab. For example, Dendrology (AGHT 4350) surveys and identifies trees on campus and Field Botany (BIOL 3240) utilizes the greenhouse and identifies plants on campus. The Biology Department also began the Native Plant Garden in 2017 with help from the TN Tech Green Fee. This project is a prominent feature on campus that anyone can view, but that Botany courses study and maintain. The Native Plant Garden highlights different habitats within TN and the plants that live in them. Additionally, insect homes were added in 2018 to help promote pollinators (a proposal from the Student Asociation for Plant Sciences). The Paul L. Hollister Herbarium at Tennessee Tech (HTTU) is also involved in research, education, and conservation. The herbarium provides resources for those interested in botany, ecology, floristics, ethnobotany, systematics, and wetland management. It actively participates in locating and documenting state and federal listed threatened and endangered species. In 2018, Tennessee Tech and the School of Agriculture began the Urban Gardening Initiative through a partnership with SeedFork of the Highlands and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The objectives of the program are to educate people on how to grow food and grow food locally on a small scale and then demonstrate the health benefits of growing foods and vegetables with cooking demonstrations. The Urban Gardens Initiative also provides Tech students with the experience of running the garden and collecting information to provide metrics on the impact in the community.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/TTU-Shipley-Farm-153857874626048/

https://www.tntech.edu/cas/biology/greenhouse.php

https://www.tntech.edu/cas/biology/herbarium/

https://www.ucbjournal.com/urban-gardens-producing-good-results/


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:

Mechanical engineering students and faculty work collaboratively alongside the Office of Sustainability using money provided by the Green Fund Program in order to purchase equipment necessary complete their senior research projects focused on sustainability. Research projects include the construction of a solar powered recycling vehicle and Project Regrind a project that utilized plastic water bottles to create filament for 3 D printers.

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/research-projects.php

Furthermore, the Campus Bookstore has a sell back program that encourages all campus students to sell their used textbooks to be reused. The book store also provides a rental option for many textbooks, so the books are reused instead of disposed. It also uses plastic bags that display a message that asks customers to recycle them and features a healthy snack section to encourage students to purchase more nutritious snacks when shopping.

https://tenn-tech.bncollege.com/shop/tenn-tech/page/sell-back-textbooks


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:

TN Tech maintains a student-funded and student-led Bike Share Program. This program allows students to decrease their carbon footprints by offering a free and easily accessible alternative to using a car.

Tech also provides a free campus shuttle program.

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/bikeshare.php

https://www.tntech.edu/parking/shuttles.php


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:

The TN Tech recycling program is run by student workers. These students get hands-on experience dealing with campus waste and waste diversion. With this program in place, the university recycles more than 250 tons of metals, plastic, aluminum cans, wood pallets, yard waste, tires, cardboard, paper, fluorescent tubes and ballasts, and wood each year. For Fiscal Year 2019, the University recycled 22.20% of its total waste produced and aims to recycle 25% by the year 2025.
A bulb crusher has been purchased as well, allowing for the diversion of shipping waste in that bulbs can now be broken down on campus.

The Office of Sustainability began its Recycling Education Campaign, Make a Difference-Purple Pride Going Green, in partnership with Communications and Marketing after receiving a $35,000 grant from TDEC in 2017. The campaign is an all-inclusive multifaceted initiative that aims to continuously educate all of TN Tech's student, faculty and staff & residents of Putnam County about recycling. Since the official launch of this campaign in the fall semester of 2018, ten new recycling stations with comprehensive signage have been placed around campus.

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/untitledrecycling-projects.php

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/recycling-education-and-outreach.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
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 Water:

TN Tech offers water related courses and research within the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. There are projects within this department on campus studying storm water as it flows through and away from campus. In addition to the opportunities offered in the Civil and Environmental Department, the TN Tech Water Center serves as the home grounds for all water-related research (biodiversity,enabling technologies and tools, water-energy-food nexus, and water security and sustainability) and projects on campus.

The Office of Sustainability also hosted its first annual Water Week during the Spring '19 semester in recognition of World Water Day. This week featured an informative film screening, a social media water conservation awareness campaign, and a celebratory tabling event full of university and local water-related groups. The Office chose to partner with the company Cupanion to participate in their Fill it Forward Program. Over 100 Cupanion water bottles were given out to students during this week with a Fill it Forward sticker, allowing students to download an app and donate one cup of water to a family in need around the world with each scanned bottle refill. Over 100 students also signed a pledge to commit to using only reusable water bottles during the month of April.

https://www.tntech.edu/engineering/programs/cee/index.php

https://www.tntech.edu/research/centersandfacilities/wrc/

https://www.facebook.com/TTUSustainableCampusCommittee/posts/1267714593387891


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
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 Coordination & Planning:

The Student Government Association (SGA) serves as the representative for the students of the university and strives to make decisions that improve the university. This governing body created the Green Fee Program in 2004, and since then has banned the use of Styrofoam products on campus and expanded the Green Fee from $8.00 (Bill F05-01) per student to $10.00 (Bill S18-017) per student.

https://www.tntech.edu/sga/


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:

The TN Tech Women's Center celebrated Earth Week in 2018 by hosting an Ecofeminism movie and discussion. The film, "Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth", discussed the intersections of gender, race, and the earth.

https://www.tntech.edu/women/about.php


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 Green Fee was established by the TTU student government association (SGA) in 2004. This fee of $8.00 (Bill F05-01) allowed for the creation of the TTU Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability and the Sustainable Campus Committee, which is a group comprised of students, professors, and faculty members across various departments on campus, oversees the use of this established Green Fee. The fee has been used to fund the campus Bike Share Program, establish solar panels on campus, fund sustainability-focused research projects, and much more. In Spring of 2018, SGA voted to increase the Green Fee to $10.00 (Bill S18-017).

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/index.php


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:

The Office of Sustainability, comprised of a Sustainability manager and student workers, offers students monthly surveys to better expand sustainability knowledge on campus. These surveys are created and taken by students, and include topics such as the Bike Share Program, sustainable eating and shopping, energy, and recycling. They are distributed to the entire campus community by being placed in the Tech Times, TTU's e-newsletter. In addition to the monthly surveys, the Office of Sustainability offers a variety of events from film screenings to cleanups throughout the year to inspire and educate students about living more sustainably. The Office also hosts a Think Tank each semester in order to gather student input on how to improve campus sustainability efforts.

https://www.tntech.edu/sustainability/index.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
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 Wellbeing & Work:

The TN Tech Fitness Center encourages the campus community to get fit while giving back to the earth by exercising in its Green Fitness Room. The Green Fitness Room consists of equipment designed to convert the energy exerted by users into energy used to power the Fitness Center. This room is equipped with upright bikes, ellipticals, and recumbent bikes that all contribute to power generation.

http://www.tntechoracle.com/news/view.php/1033266/Community-keeps-fitness-center-going


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:

In the spring semester of 2018, students of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Department worked with the TTU Appalachian Center for Craft in order to better address the sustainability needs of the satellite campus.

https://www.tntech.edu/cis/pdf/soes/SOESSummer2018NewsletterFINAL.pdf


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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