Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.82
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date March 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Irvine
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jessica Debats Garrison
Administrating Director
UCI Environment Collaboration
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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:

UCI's "Campus as a Living Lab" (CLL) internship program offers a unique opportunity for students to become sustainability leaders on campus, while preparing for the green sector careers of the future. CLL pairs students with UCI staff working to improve the sustainability of campus operations and systems. Students participate in a year-long internship, along with a year-long class that introduces sustainability concepts and theories and how they can be applied to our most pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges. Within the past three academic years, interns have worked with a variety of campus partners to address a range of different sustainability challenges.

For instance, interns have worked with UCI Facilities Management to monitor energy usage by UCI's seven LEED-certified buildings and research and evaluate possible strategies to improve their energy efficiency according to the US Green Building Council's guidelines.


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:

As described above, within the past three academic years, the CLL program has included internship projects such as monitoring energy usage by UCI's seven LEED-certified buildings and researching and evaluating possible strategies to improve their energy efficiency according to the USGBC guidelines.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI Housing and Dining to identify and address obstacles to achieving Zero Waste (95% or higher solid waste diversion) in retail food courts on the UCI campus. Interns have worked as "Trash Talkers" (i.e., community ambassadors who stand by dining hall trash bins and explain how to separate waste, recyclables, and compost), conducted "waste audits" by separating and measuring the amount of waste disposed of correctly vs. incorrectly in trash, recycling, and compost bins; and analyzed the resulting data to monitor progress towards UCI's zero waste goals.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI Housing to draft sustainable purchasing guides to encourage the campus community and its suppliers to lower their environmental impact. Interns have engaged in community outreach to spread awareness of the UC Sustainable Practices Policy; researched the sustainability credentials of potential suppliers to identify preferred vendors, products, and programs; and worked with campus partners to devise efficient and economical purchasing procedures.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI Transportation to develop and implement an education and outreach curriculum related to bicycle transportation for first-year undergraduates. This included developing outreach materials such as PowerPoint presentations, participating in on-campus bicycle training, assisting with campus biking events, and analyzing data on first-year students' use of different transportation modes.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI Dining and Housing to improve waste diversion in the dorms and dining halls. Students have worked on educational programs for professional staff and dorm residents. For example, CLL interns served as "Trash Talkers," and conducted campus events, hall programming, and community competitions to educate the campus community on how they can reduce resource consumption and waste generation and increase waste diversion through personal behavioral change. In addition, interns developed programming resources for use by housing student staff such as Resident Advisors. These resources included PowerPoints, presentation scripts, videos, activities, and other items to both educate and engage student residents. CLL interns also conducted pre- and post-programming testing and analysis interventions to evaluate the effectiveness of different outreach approaches. In addition, interns have worked with UCI Facilities Management to conduct quarterly "waste audits" to measure residential communities' waste diversion rates.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI Facilities Management to support water conservation by assessing water usage in campus buildings and analyzing the information using to spot water usage spikes. Interns also conducted inspections, placed work orders aimed at correcting water issues, and researched best practices for reducing campus water use through awareness campaigns and conservation efforts.


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:

A CLL intern worked on the "Anteater Fresh Focus" project, which laid the groundwork for the coordination and promotion of a monthly fresh produce campus distribution via a Mobile Food Pantry. The intern researched the regulations that would govern such as food pantry and prepared a brief resource guide to eating fresh fruits and vegetables on a budget.


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

CLL interns have worked with UCI NATURE to engage the public on conservation and restoration of protected areas adjacent to campus that are managed by UCI. Interns have developed communication materials for the campus community, including signage, interpretive walks, website and social media content, and a docent training program. In addition, another intern researched the history of local land use changes and their effects on the composition and ecosystem functions of the UCI San Joaquin Marsh, particularly with respect to water use. This included scanning and re-creating aerial photos and maps, conducting interviews, and writing a summary document to inform future research, land use planning, and management of the marsh, and educate the campus community.


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:

Three CLL interns worked on projects that contributed to student wellbeing by expanding and maintaining a sustainable, organic community garden in the Arroyo Vista undergraduate student housing community. One intern designed, planted, and maintained a new community orchard to produce free organic fruit for student residents. Another student designed, installed, and managed a new greenhouse for starting seedlings to supply the community garden with organic produce. The third student developed outreach and education events both in and outside the Arroyo Vista garden in order to engage students in community gardening and build a support network that would ensure the garden's long-term success.


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:

CLL interns have worked with UCI's Office of Environmental Planning & Sustainability to develop and implement UCI's new "Green Labs" certification program. This new program provides guidance to help labs run as sustainably as possible and document their reduced environmental impact. Interns have assisted labs in completing assessments, connected them with specific campus contacts to begin sustainability projects (e.g., low flow aerator installation on faucets), collected and analyzed data, incorporated lab feedback to improve assessment criteria, created education and outreach materials for website and emails, and identified and recruited potential labs for future assessment and certification.


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