Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.26
Liaison Jennifer deHart
Submission Date March 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Unity College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jennifer deHart
Chief Sustainability Officer
President's Office
"---" 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:

In Spring 2018 a student meticulously researched the impact of all student travel to and from campus (not commuting) and recommended a small fee to cover carbon offsets. ("Carbon Footprint and Offset Program for Unity College Student’s Travel To and From Home") In Fall 2017, a student project compiled emissions data on all cars registered by Public Safety to drivers (students and employees) in order to create a baseline of the amount of emissions being produced as a college community. ("Unity College Registered Cars Emission Production")


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:

In 2016, students investigated the feasibility for multiple "tiny homes" on campus to use as residence halls in an effort to reduce materials used and energy use. ("Tiny House Viability")


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:

In Spring 2018, a group of students evaluated the feasibility and price of switching oil boilers to wood pellet boilers in one of our older residence halls. ("Maplewood Alternative Fuel") In Spring 2017 students looked at the energy use of common area refrigerators in our residence halls and whether students used them and they were worth the cost of the energy they draw each year. ("Common Area Refrigerator Use and Use by Students")


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:

In Spring 2018 a student project conducted a complete financial and logistical feasibility study of growing seasonal crops on our campus farm and using passive storage as a way to extend the harvest. ("Growing McKay Farm: A sustainable enterprise based on root cellar vegetables") In Spring 2017, two student groups evaluated local and sustainable food options on campus. One group investigated if it was feasible for the college to produce our own chickens at a competitive price. ("Poultry Production at McKay Farm") The other group investigated whether students would be open to eating rabbit meat and where the college could source it from, which could be sourced locally and has a lower impact than beef or pork. ("Meat Sustainability and Rabbit Meat, a Study of Unity College")


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:

In Spring 2018, a student group investigated what would be required to obtain Bee Campus USA recognition. Another student group researched the impact of research activities on the campus wood lot and recommended using biodegradable flagging. ("Harmful Pollutants Have Invaded The Unity College Woodlot: An Analysis and Transdisciplinary Approach to Solving this Problem") In Fall 2017 two student groups worked on elements of obtaining a Tree Campus designation. In Spring 2017, a student group in Environmental Scenarios and Solutions evaluated different sites on campus that could benefit from rain gardens. They recommended plants that could both benefit the rain garden design and were also pollinator friendly and would increase on campus biodiversity. ("Rain and Pollinator Gardens: Increasing Biodiversity on the Unity College Campus")


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:

In Fall 2017, a student group won the Student Conference award in Sustainability for their project that took a deep dive into the life cycle sustainability of several items in a typical student room; they created an interactive web site to educate their peers on sustainable alternatives when buying items for their rooms. ("Green Dorm Living") https://essdormroom.wixsite.com/green
In Fall 2016, a student group created a sustainable dining policy draft. This document was one of many that influenced the subsequent writing of a full sustainable dining policy that is currently waiting for final senior staff approval.


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:

In Spring 2018, a student group attempted to quantify the impact of and alternatives to ultrashort driving on campus such as between classes. ("Extraneous Driving on Campus") In Fall 2017, one student group identified what would be required to become a Bicycle League campus ("Unity Bike League"); and another group identified sustainable transportation for varsity sports ("Sustainable Transportation for Varsity Sports at Unity College").


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:

In Spring 2018, a student group surveyed students on what barriers exist to collecting organics in their residence hall rooms. ("Organics Collection in Residence Hall Rooms") In Fall 2016, multiple student groups researched different aspects of expanding our organic waste program into the residence halls on campus. The organic waste collection system only existed in our dining halls and students wanted to see if other students would utilize it, how much waste could be diverted and if it was feasible from a labor aspect. Due to the results of the various projects we launched a pilot program in one of our residence halls in the following semester.


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:

In Spring 2018 a student group quantified potential savings from changing toilet fixtures. ("Water use at Unity College: The assessment of toilet models and the potential of changing to low-flow toilets") In Spring 2017 a student researched what the salinity and turbidity of the water that was run off on campus. Unity's campus is situated on a hill and the student looked at salinity and turbidity at the top of campus and at the bottom of campus before it entered the run off reservoir. ("Investigation of Salinity and Turbidity in Runoff from Unity College")


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 Fall 2017 a student group again looked at food insecurity on campus and stigma-free ways to provide free food to students in need. ("The CommUnity Kitchen.") In Fall 2016, a student group looked at combating food waste and food insecurity on campus. The group looked at what food could be recovered on campus, where it could be served to food insecure students and how they could get the word out about this. This led the Sustainability Office to hire a student assistant to help recover food from catered events on campus and then provide the food back to students on campus. ("The Unity CommUnity")


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:

In Spring 2018 a student evaluated the holdings of the Unity College investments and encouraged investing in companies that are focused on sustainability and improving the conditions of the earth. ("Unity College Endowment Fund")


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:

In Fall 2017 an art major presented her senior thesis/portfolio of 100% recycled objects reimagined as natural forms. ("Remnants Reborn – Rethinking what is left behind") In Spring 2016 a student identified the solar PV potential of roof on homes in the surrounding community. ("Solar Suitability for Residential and Business Roofs in Unity, Maine") In Fall 2016, two students investigated local sustainability organizations to see what made each of them successful and if there were common themes or lessons that other local organizations could employ. Their work earned them an invitation to present to a conference in Atlanta regarding local sustainability. ("Leading Local Sustainability")


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:

In Spring 2018 the first ever student project in this category quantified the risks associated with work on campus in relation to lost work claims, and produced a brochure and recommendations for reducing safety hazards and college work claims. ("Accessing Safety at Unity College")


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:

Several student art projects have intentionally used found or upcycled materials for raw materials.


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

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