Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.58
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date Dec. 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University at Buffalo
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Derek Nichols
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
UB 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:

Engineering Intramurals gives engineering students the opportunity to develop their skills with real-world learning experiences. Students are exposed to industry standards and current problems the University faces. Some examples that are within this category are projects that involve developing plumbing design standards, or a project to create a university wide systems energy map.

In the spring of 2018, an Intramural team created a tool to audit buildings on their energy performance. They assessed Bonner Hall, a standard building with classrooms and some lecture halls and provided a road map on how to use their tool in similar buildings.


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:

A team of students from the Experiential Learning Network developed a smartphone app that would alert users to the energy usage of each building on UB's campus. This was designed by a group of students from diverse majors- marketing, communications, engineering.

http://www.buffalo.edu/eln/stories.host.html/content/shared/www/eln/articles/academic_articles/academic_news41111.detail.html


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:

Campus Dining and Shops hosted “Waste Less” dinner events in February 2018 to bring attention to food waste. Their sustainability Intern helped organize the event, which incorporated the use of “ugly food”. Students from across campus volunteered, and the amount of food waste was measured during dinner hours.

https://myubcard.com/sustainability-blog


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

The final example of an Engineering intramural project falls under this ‘Purchasing’ category. The focus of this project is to reevaluate the receiving and distribution of trade materials across our three campuses. As our campus ages and expands, efficiency of handling and distributing these materials saves costs, decreases our carbon footprint and increase sustainability. The solution was focused on a purchasing and inventory management based in best practices across the country.


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:

A group of engineering students spent the spring semester designing infrastructure improvements at Saint Rita's Lane Bike Path around UB's North Campus. They considered cost, the environmental impact, social involvement, spacial planning and multi-purpose uses in their designs. Their final recommendation was to preserve the old bridge and create a multi-bike pathway with a seating in the middle of it.


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:

Electrical engineering students designed a “smart” recycling tote that city of Buffalo officials lent to the class. Students attached to the underside of the lid electronics that monitor when the tote is full, its location and other information. The electronics then send that data over a wireless network to whomever is in charge of the totes. The technology could be used to improve the efficiency of recycling routes on campus. It also could alert officials that someone’s tote is full, thereby presenting an opportunity to pick up the recyclables a day or two early.

http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/OurStrategy/news-and-events/latest-news.host.html/content/shared/www/sustainability/articles/news-articles/InternetofThings.detail.html


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 the spring and summer of 2018, 50 student volunteers from around campus and the community to help plant more than 200 trees and shrubs and about 260 perennials to stave off erosion, as well as 600 aquatic plants — all native to the area, along the bank of UB's Lake Lasalle.

In addition to the trees and shrubs, volunteers installed a 50-foot-by-150-foot wildflower garden. The garden beckons a plethora of pollinators — from bees and birds, to butterflies — and a host of human visitors admiring the garden’s vibrant bounty of purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, elderberry and cardinal flower, among other native plants.

http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/OurStrategy/news-and-events/latest-news.host.html/content/shared/www/sustainability/articles/news-articles/LakeLasalleSpringstoLife.detail.html


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:

Students in the Architecture and Planning school worked closely with Facilities and Campus Planning in the Fall of 2017 to site the permanent location of the GRoW Home (a completely solar powered house designed by students in 2015). This building will ultimately be erected near the Solar Strand on UB's North Campus. Throughout the winter, spring and summer of 2018, students continued to work on the site and construction plans for its final placement.


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

Facilitated by an assignment in the masters level “Data Analysis for Accountants” course; a team of four School of Management graduates created value- far reaching beyond what was required. The team performed a vendor audit for the University at Buffalo, searching for discrepancies such as duplicates or data-entry errors. The analysis served as a significant step towards the overhaul and implementation of a new university-wide procurement system which will eliminate redundancies and help to streamline the logistics of purchasing supplies on campus.The hands on undertaking for the graduate student class promotes quality education, and contributes to the overall resiliency of the UB information system infrastructure.


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:

A course offered in the School of Architecture and Planning provided students with hands on experience developing and implementing a community-based initiative called Champions of Change. Through this course, students worked with community members to develop projects that would improve their neighborhood in some way by helping them with technical skills, communication skills, leadership training and experience with engaging the public in their projects. The class resulted in many successful community based projects and a core group of engaged community members.

For examples of their projects, view their fun presentation at Buffalo's PechaKucha event in March 2018.
https://www.pechakucha.org/cities/buffalo/presentations/champions-for-change


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:

Dr. John Atkinson, an assistant professor of environmental engineering, engaged students across campus through a project developed in his “Sustainability” class. By setting up weekly challenges to be completed and documented on Twitter using the hashtag, #365Challenge, Dr. Atkinson has been able to get students to think about how their actions impact the environment in and out of the classroom. Some weekly challenges have been #NoMeatWeek, #SpringCleaning (an effort to donate clothes instead of trashing them), and #EmissionLESS (encouraging students to take alternative modes of transportation to campus).


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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Information for all of these topic areas was provided by multiple sources and has been collated and summarized by UB Sustainability Staff.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.