Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.80
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Breeana Sylvas
Assistant Director
Sustainability
"---" 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:

The President’s Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship/Internship (CNI Fellow) was established by the University of California (UC) Office of the President to support the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. The UC Merced Carbon Neutrality Fellows focused on projects that have included but are not limited to, (1) reducing the ever-increasing pre-consumer and post-consumer waste from vendors that partner with UC Merced, and evaluating the GHG emission savings through the elimination of waste at the source. (2) Evaluating emissions associated with campus sourced products and reducing emissions through sustainable purchasing practices and products.(3) Carbon Sequestration and registry compliance requirements with The Climate Registry (TCR) and other emissions reporting tools.


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:

UC Merced established the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Lab, which is a multidisciplinary immersion course that focuses on preparing students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused citizens. The course, which spans two semesters involves the process of students certifying UC Merced buildings according to LEED for Existing Building:Operations & Maintenance.

The UC President's Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship/Internship and the campus Energize Colleges Program have provided students with opportunities to assess costs associated university buildings that have included, (1) evaluating design vs. actual building performance. Other internships have included (2) recommissioning and retro-commissioning of 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:

The campus Energize Colleges program has provided student opportunities that have included, (1) energy efficiency internships, (2) developing and improving record keeping systems for utilities, (3) preparing energy and utility reports. Students have also worked with faculty at the University of California Solar Institute (UC Solar) on research and design for energy generation technologies.


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:

The UC Office of the President established the Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellowship program. UC Merced efforts have been geared toward food security, health, and sustainability. Student projects have included (1) improving campus data management and tracking for sustainable food purchases, (2) advancing sustainable food availability through the UC Merced Campus Community Garden.


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:

Through the UC President's Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Fellowship program student projects have included, (1) evaluating the intersections between emissions and sustainable procurement practices, (2) research on sustainable products for campus operations and vendor use, to reduce waste generation.


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:

The Energize Colleges program has provided students with internships that have included (1) working with the City of Merced on sustainable transportation, (2) identifying and developing smart growth strategies around transportation for the university.


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:

Interns within UC Merced Waste Management team have worked to identify ways to support the campus zero waste initiative. Efforts have included (1) campus waste audits and analysis, (2) experimentation around student behavior, and (3) improving campus operational efficiency.


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:

The Energize Colleges Program has included interns that have worked to reduce water and energy consumption on campus. Specific projects have included (1) water conservation initiative to reduce water usage in housing units and (2) measuring and tracking water usage in residence halls.


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:

The Student Sustainability Council under the Associated Students, in the Office of Student Life is responsible for planning, governance, coordination, and oversight of student organizations participation in sustainability initiatives. The group has worked with campus stakeholders to support and inform coordination efforts for active student engagement in sustainability initiatives and campus wide events.


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?:
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:

The Global Food Initiative Engagement Fellows role and project incorporates identifying how to increase student and public awareness on food security, health, and sustainability. The role draws on perspectives toward open dialogue within the UC Merced campus, as well as other UC campuses. The Carbon Neutrality Engagement Fellows role is to work with their campus sustainability office and staff to communicate UC‐wide sustainability goals and programs and to engage undergraduate and graduate students in programming efforts. The Carbon Neutrality Fellow's efforts should enable and empower students to provide feedback about campus and UC‐wide sustainability programs.


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:

A UC Global Food Initiative Engagement Fellow intern supported the UC Merced Healthy Campus Network (HCN) steering committee. The intern worked to support the development of a inventory on health and wellness programs offered by the campus for students, faculty, and staff.


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)?:
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 other areas:
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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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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.