Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.50
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date May 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

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 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:

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).


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:

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 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.

https://www.buffalo.edu/innovate/all-resources1.host.html/content/shared/www/innovate/resources/blackstone/champions-for-change.detail.html


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:

In SSN 601 Sustainability Professional Skills Capstone grad students in the MSL program have to take this course for their capstone requirement. However, the grad students collectively did meaningful work all centered around putting a price on pollution and localizing carbon offsets. The grad students in this course worked closely with a faculty member to analyze and propose solutions to a real-world environmental problem. Each project requires both individual analysis and reporting as well as interdisciplinary analysis conducted by the group. Capstone projects provide an integrated team-focused experience that approximates the working world. As part of the capstone project, at least one presentation of the findings to an interdisciplinary panel of faculty and local sustainability professionals is required. The group is also responsible for completing a written document that will be submitted to a client.

The reports of the carbon offsets and carbon reduction will serve as a catalyst to further the university’s climate action work.

http://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2021/06/rajkovich-sustainability-seminar.html


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:

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 2019, an Intramural team expanded on 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 infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Energy?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
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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 Food & Dining?:
Yes

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

Professor Kim Vanderlinden’s class, SSC 235 Intro to Non-profits, had students work with UB Blue Table at the University. UB Blue Table is an on campus food bank and an organization made with the intention of addressing food inequity on campus. The students involved were able to learn about how a non-profit works, but also how to address food inequity in a community.


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:

In Wildlife Management offered in the department of environments and sustainability, students engaged in a class project to assess and test biodiversity in Letchworth Woods on UB's North Campus. They performed a Shannon Index utilizing the data they gathered to assesses the biodiversity of the woods on campus and its capabilities of supporting life. In Field Ecology, students are tasked with making field journals to catalog the different species they came across on campus. For more see: https://arts-sciences.buffalo.edu/environment-sustainability/outreach/letchworth.html


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:

Dr. Susan Clark's introduction to Sustainability class conducted a waste audit to assess the effectiveness of waste diversion in local dumpsters. The calculated the percentage of material that could have been recycled or composted rather than sent to the landfill.


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 wastewater testing for COVID on campus advanced SDG 3 and 6 and was an applied research project that leveraged numerous faculty and students in our operations. Ian Bradley with Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering was the project PI. The project advisory group also consisted of several faculty including Tom Russo (School of Med) , John Tomaszewski (Co-Chair, School of Med), Jean Wactawski-Wende (Co-Chair, Public Health), Greg Wilding (Public Health), and Yinyin Ye (Env Engineering). Several other groups with faculty representatives weighed in on the project and tracked the activities including the Health Guidelines Committee. Several students of Dr. Bradley’s assisted in the collection of initial samples and the data analysis.


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 University at Buffalo has played a crucial role in advancing the University Global Coalition’s SDG 13 Decade of Action, alongside the University of Waterloo and the Universidad Carlos III Madrid. As part of this leadership initiative, UB senior Netra Mittal joined an international plenary panel detailing a new study the working group commissioned. The working group set out to map global higher education networks to consolidate efforts to combat climate change based on their nature of work. Addressing this gap by systematically characterizing and mapping these networks, the interplanetary panel presented opportunities to diversify networks.

https://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/news/latest-news.host.html/content/shared/www/sustainability/articles/news-articles/FamilyMedicineResidentsProvideCareatNewClinic12.detail.html


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

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

In June 2020, President Tripathi convened the President’s Advisory Council on Race (PACOR) to guide the university’s collective conversations and actions regarding racism and systemic inequality to ensure that UB is equitable in its policies, programs, activities and traditions. In March 2021, the Council presented its university-wide assessment and recommendations in four key focus areas: Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Hiring and Retention; Student Recruitment and Retention; Curriculum and Teaching; and Community. The President's Advisory Council on Race engages students in two advisory committees for undergraduates and graduates. They provide input to the PACOR steering committee and actively assited in the development of policy and advancing diversity at UB.

https://www.buffalo.edu/provost/pacor-implementation/implementation-structure.html


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