Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 45.93
Liaison Gabrielle Jette
Submission Date April 13, 2022

STARS v2.2

The Catholic University of America
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00
"---" 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:

Sustainable Living Office: In Spring 2022, students have the opportunity to join the Catholic University Sustainable Living Office, a three-credit independent study in the School of Architecture and Planning offered to students pursuing the Sustainability Minor as well as students generally interested in campus sustainability. Through a guided, hands-on approach, students in the Sustainable Living Office engage the campus community in the university’s sustainability initiatives and help the community live sustainably on a daily basis. This independent study serves as a bridge between the Office of Campus Sustainability, other sustainability and environmental organizations on campus, and the student body, faculty, and staff. It expands upon existing sustainability initiatives and provides students with real world experience designing and implementing sustainability initiatives. Example student-led initiatives in Spring 2022 include: starting a food recovery initiative in campus dining facilities, planning and running a thrift store on campus, and introducing sustainability tours as part of the curriculum for courses in the engineering department, among others.


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:

This summer (May 9-June 24, 2022) the School of Architecture and Planning is hosting a course that links sustenance & sustainability together with public engagement. Students will participate in the operations of the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild. They will focus on gardening, prepping for events, and food distribution for a multi-acre farm that provides produce to local food banks. The students will learn about food insecurity and organizations addressing the problem while meeting with local leaders. They will understand how re-localization and urban agriculture promotes sustainable benefits for people and plant.


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:

LEEDlab: Catholic University offers LEEDlab, an elective course offered within the Master of Science in Sustainable Design program, which is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Architecture and Planning as well as in other schools at Catholic University. Since the LEEDlab course covers many disciplines we welcome students enrolled in other majors. LEEDlab implements the LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating system within existing campus buildings seeking LEED certification for the first time and LEED Certified buildings seeking recertification. Students in the course assess the performance of existing buildings on campus by learning how to meter and track various building systems such as electricity, energy, water, and transportation. By implementing sustainable policies and measures with our administration, Catholic University will achieve a performance-driven sustainable campus through actual third party LEED certification.

In Fall 2020, the LEEDlab class focused on certifying the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center under the rating system. The class focused specifically on the air and indoor air quality credits as the students wanted to highlight the role buildings play in maintaining healthy indoor air for building occupants.


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:

LEEDlab: Catholic University offers LEEDlab, an elective course offered within the Master of Science in Sustainable Design program, which is open to both undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Architecture and Planning as well as in other schools at Catholic University. Since the LEEDlab course covers many disciplines we welcome students enrolled in other majors. LEEDlab implements the LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating system within existing campus buildings seeking LEED certification for the first time and LEED Certified buildings seeking recertification. Students in the course assess the performance of existing buildings on campus by learning how to meter and track various building systems such as electricity, energy, water, and transportation. By implementing sustainable policies and measures with our administration, Catholic University will achieve a performance-driven sustainable campus through actual third party LEED certification.

In Spring and Summer 2022, several students are conducting internships with the general contractor responsible for building a new state-of-the-art nursing school that is pursuing both LEED and WELL certifications. The students will act as project interns reporting to construction project managers.


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:

Busch School of Business Consulting Class 2020: The Busch School of Business runs an annual consulting course during which a group of students tackle a sustainability challenge on campus. In Spring 2020, students explored strategies to reduce campus-wide energy usage on campus. The students evaluated how to cut HVAC needs in large capacity auditoriums and lecture rooms on campus. Students determined that these types of rooms on campus run heating and cooling as if the rooms are occupied 9-5 rather than the few hours needed for class or special events. The students investigated interventions to reduce HVAC in the rooms with the help of energy automated products and pitched their solutions to the Facilities staff on campus.


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:

Community Garden and Cardinal Cupboard: In Spring 2021, students from the Catholic University Student Government Association and Environmental Club, along with staff from the Facilities Planning and Management Division, joined forces to break ground on a campus community garden. The student-led effort established the garden to bolster the campus community’s connection to nature and each other. The community garden features garden liaisons and plot ownership in order to ensure longevity of the effort. The students have developed a network of campus community members to maintain the garden throughout the growing season. Student clubs, academic classes, athletic teams, residence halls, or staff departments can sign up to “own” a raised bed plot to grow their own food. Food grown in the garden is donated to Catholic University's Cardinal Cupboard, the campus food pantry which provides food items to any member of the university that is experiencing food insecurity.


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:

Tree Committee: The Catholic University Tree Committee is composed of students, staff, and faculty that work together to protect and preserve the trees on campus, educate the Catholic U community about our trees, and further tree and ecosystem biodiversity on campus. The committee meets at least quarterly and are open to all interested community members.


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?:
Yes

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

In the 2020-2021 Academic Year, a group of civil engineering students explored transportation patterns and how to make campus safer for the campus community. The main project goals were to improve pedestrian safety, enhance quick and easy vehicle transportation and accessibility to the campus community. The students developed a year-long iterative study to ease congestion at John McCormack Road, a major thoroughfare adjacent to campus.


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:

Busch School of Business Consulting Class 2021: The Busch School of Business runs an annual consulting course during which a group of students tackle a sustainability challenge on campus. In Spring 2021, students worked with Catholic University's Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations (FMO) Division to conduct a study into sustainability initiatives on campus, specifically focused on waste management. Through focus groups, surveys, and interviews with the campus community and industry professionals, the students identified the main barriers to waste reduction on campus and strategies for creating behavior change. Students also determined that 90% of the CUA community is willing to aid in waste reduction efforts on campus. Students used this insight to develop a set of targeted recommendations for FMO to expand waste reduction efforts on campus.


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:

Several civil engineering courses have used the campus as a living lab to investigate stormwater improvement plans on campus. In Spring 2021, the students explored an undeveloped parcel of campus. Their design included residences and academic buildings and an underground parking garage. To accommodate this design the students explored opportunities to limit impervious areas while also controlling for the flow of stormwater on site. The students incorporated bio-retention and stormwater cisterns.


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:

Busch School of Business Consulting Class 2022: The Busch School of Business runs an annual consulting course during which a group of students tackle a sustainability challenge on campus. In Spring 2022, students are working with Catholic University's Facilities, Maintenance, and Operations (FMO) Division to develop a sustainability dashboard to communicate the University's sustainability planning and progress with students, faculty, and staff. The development of the dashboard will consider the types of metrics to highlight (emissions, energy, water, waste, financial, etc.), the visual and operational aspects of the dashboard, and where to display the dashboard so that the information is visible and transparent to all relevant stakeholders.


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?:
Yes

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

Architecture students in the Spring 2021 WELL and Campus buildings class analyzed how to incorporate WELL Rating System best practices into existing buildings and buildings under design. The students created design interventions that boosted health, productivity, and wellness in academic and residential buildings on campus. The students presented their interventions to facilities staff and design contractors.


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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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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.