Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.62
Liaison Michelle Perez
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Michelle Perez
Energy and Sustainability Manager
Utilities and 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:

One of the many student organizations at UC San Diego dedicated to sustainability and campus engagement is the Urban Changemakers Club. The Urban Changemakers Club is a project-based, placemaking club that aims to 1) foster a greater sense of community and inclusiveness between all UC San Diego students, faculty, and staff and 2) use community data and engagement to improve the function and quality of campus spaces. Its mission is to create a more vibrant, inclusive, welcoming, equitable, sustainable and biophilic campus and society. Furthermore, UC San Diego Sustainable Program Office/Utilities & Sustainability/EHS have advised several Academic Internship Program and Senior Capstone projects that have involved campus engagement. https://csp.ucsd.edu/our-program/past-capstone-projects/


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:

Students in 2019 recieved the Lemelson-MIT award for their research in bionenergy using campus food waste, and then educating the community on composting and benefits to the environment. https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/putting-a-dent-in-food-waste. Students are also active presenters and participants at the annual California Higher Education and Sustainability Conference (CHESC). Finally, UC San Diego students are actively involved in a variety of sustainability and social innovation research projects, from just over the border in Mexico to Africa and beyond. Many students participate in the annual Climate Global Initiative conference and have received UC San Diego social innovation grants to conduct this research both on and off campus.https://changemaker.ucsd.edu/students/social-innovation/highlights.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:

Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Fellowships
Since 2014, UC San Diego has been awarded 4 fellowships per year to students to engage them in research related to carbon neutrality, including projects on green walls in buildings, anaerobic digestion, improving lighting sensors, green concrete, exhaust flume mitigation, and understanding the impacts of climate change on the carbon uptake of coastal plants.

USGBC LEED Classroom
Staff work with students to engage them in learning about LEED (New Construction, Commercial Interiors and Operations & Maintenance), including having the students assist with LEED paperwork and tracking. In February 2018, UC San Diego worked with the US Green Building Council and Energize Colleges to kickoff an official LEED classroom class co-taught by staff in Capital Program Management and Sustainability. It was then offered again, but as a USP course in 2019.

Green Fuel Cell
Founded in Spring of 2010, Engineers for a Sustainable World at UC San Diego is a group of passionate students striving to make a difference in the world through sustainable projects including renewable energy. Exanples of projects include Green Fuel Cell and vertical axis wind turbine. https://eswtritons.wordpress.com/about-us/

Sky Imagers
UC San Diego students worked with Professor Jan Kleissl from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering to build and deploy Sky Imagers, a ground-based short term solar forecasting system that provides solar plant operators and electric system operators with information about upcoming adjustments to power output. Clouds are tracked through the sky and shadows are projected to the ground where the fluctuating solar power output may impact voltage regulation equipment. This technology helps anticipate and mitigate such impacts and facilitates the expansion of solar power. UC San Diego’s undergraduate and graduate engineering students oversaw the instrumentation development from concept to a pre-commercial device with deployments at UC San Diego, LA, Maui and, potentially, Spain. UC San Diego Rady School of Management MBA students joined this living laboratory by supporting the commercialization of university research. They solicited feedback from customers and worked with scientists and engineers to develop plans for commercialization of their research. The Sky Imager has already received accolades and has won a US Department of Energy award.


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:

The U.S. Green Building Council at UCSD has worked with UC San Diego to green buildings on campus. Using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, students have helped certify buildings on campus, including the Mission Bay Aquatics Center, the Sustainability Resource Center, and the Recreation, Intramural, and Athletics Complex (RIMAC) building. Students have also helped to develop a LEED OM Master Site, along with helping with the LEED paperwork for the new North Torrey Pines Living Learning Neighborhood. Recently, students as part of their senior capstone projects have performed research and participated in working groups to develop UCSD's first-ever Sustainable Buildings Policy/Guidelines. Finally, students have held educational sessions to prepare members to take the LEED Green Associate Exam, while also participating in the Green Assistance Program, hosted by the San Diego Green Building Council, to certify Balboa Park under LEED for Communities.


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

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

Faculty and staff collaborate often with students to study and campus environment and use it as a living lab to test new innovations in sustainability. For example:

Students work with the Sustainability Program Office to help labs save energy under our Green Labs Program and help offices save energy under our Green Office Certification program. Students also work with Facilities Management staff on energy efficiency and conservation projects across campus. This included a senior MAE design project for fume hood sash monitors.

Additional projects include students working with professors and researchers to develop innovative ways to save energy on campus:

- Genie is a project of the MESL/Synergy Lab at UCSD. Genie assists occupants of the Computer Science and Engineering building to improve their environment. Occupants can use it to change their temperature settings, set their schedule and turn HVAC on/off when then need. They can also view history of sensor measurements, and send the project team feedback using their interface. The goal of this project is to make HVAC energy efficient while meeting the comfort requirements of the occupant. https://genie.ucsd.edu/about

-Dr. Shirley Meng of the Nanonengineering Department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering runs the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion (LESC); http://smeng.ucsd.edu/. She and her team of students do innovative battery storage research that contributes greatly to our our knowledge as we expand our own on-campus solar and micogrid-connected battery storage network: https://rmp.ucsd.edu/strategic-energy/storage.html


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:

Student employees and interns work with UC San Diego Housing and Dining on a variety of sustainability projects, including measuring and assessing waste through trash sorts and analyzing waste purchases and services. The students have helped increase the number of reusable mugs used to purchase coffee and have proposed ways to mitigate plastic from dining services procurement and their waste stream. Students have also made recommendations and managed Fair Trade Policies and marketing for campus dining services. Students also own and operate a vegetarian food co-op called the Food Co-Op. In 2018, Dining launched a new Food Ambassadors program in which they hire students to learn about sustainable food and what Dining is doing to become more sustainable so that they can teach other students.

Since 2014, UC San Diego each year has awarded four students at UC Global Food Initiative Fellowship to work with Dr. Keith Pezzoli and his team on a variety of on and off-campus food system, urban agriculture and food insecurity related research, including conducting research in on-campus student-run gardens.

University Centers, which houses several national franchise restaurants, has a student focused solely on sustainability, including helping restaurants become Green Restaurant Association certified. Their first restaurant, Santorini Grill, was certified in 2016.


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:

UC San Diego has 5 on-campus gardens in which students work with staff and/or faculty to grow native plants, trees, and produce. Students also worked with Facilities Management, the Sustainability Program Office, and an outside consultant on a LEED OM Master Site for the University, including drafting IPM and Site Management policies.


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

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

Students worked on the following Green Lab projects in partnership with the Corporate Responsibility Analyst in Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions and Campus Energy Engineer: ChemCycle program, researching and organizing chemicals that could be added to a Minimally Used Chemical program for redistribution on campus, sustainable laboratory gloves that could be recycled, and energy efficient freezer purchasing program.


IIs the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

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

Students have actively worked with staff to develop a bicycle master plan for campus that has resulted in several new permanent bike paths and are a part of the Campus Community Planning Committee. Students also helped to create a UC San Diego Transportation Advisory Committee to find alternative ways for students to commute to campus such biking, busing, and carpooling.


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:

Facilities Management and the Sustainability Program Office have a student employee working on all things zero waste, including assisting in analyzing data needed to update the University's zero waste plan and in creating recycling signage for on-campus residence halls and off-campus apartments. Students installed a small scale anaerobic digestor for campus and research cost-effective ways to improve diversion rates during spring student moveout. Finally, students work with several departments on campus -- from Housing/Dining/Hospitality to Sustainability -- to test and refine new outreach and behavior change strategies around waste minimization, recycling and composting. Efforts include clothing swaps, RecycleMania, and more.


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:

Students work with faculty and staff at UC San Diego to update the university's water action plan and implement several water conservation strategies underneath it, from testing new faucet aerators in laboratories to designing and installing water efficient irrigation or timer based irrigation in student gardens.


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:

Undergraduate and graduate students actively participate on a number of UC San Diego sustainability-focused committees, including the Sustainability Advisory Council. Students have also conducted research on how to improve the effectiveness of groups like the UC-wide Faculty Education and Engagement Pillar of the UC Global Climate Leadership Council.


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:

TThe Associated Students Associate Vice President of Diversity and team interns focus on campus diversity and affordability. Some of their goals are to establish active communication between Associated Students and the greater UC San Diego and San Diego communities; organize campaigns on a variety of issues to increase diversity awareness and social justice to promote a more cohesive campus community; collaborate with the Campus Community Centers, International Center, and Office for Students with Disabilities on events; and promote SPACES, OASIS, AS Alliance Commission, and AS Women's Commission. These resources have been created and can be utilized by students on campus.


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

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

UC San Diego Rady School of Management's Center for Social Innovation and Impact extends Rady’s unique combination of rigorous business thinking and entrepreneurial spirit to address the big issues and big challenges our society is facing. To best reach its objectives, the CSII works closely with schools, divisions and student organizations across the UC San Diego campus. They strongly believe that a true, interdisciplinary collaboration would enhance the impact UCSD can have on pressing social issues. CSII promote and support a large variety of various social venturing initiatives, with a focus on education, health, and sustainability.

Their approach to social impact builds on the following principles:

Understanding of the Problem: The most impactful non-profits and social ventures behave like successful businesses — investing in infrastructure, developing sustainable models not solely dependent on philanthropy. The tools and practices used by successful businesses are applicable to – and important for - the social arena.

Data-Driven Solutions: Data and evidence matter in social endeavors as in business; good intentions are not sufficient.

Unified Impact Assessment: Today’s social impact landscape features a plethora of criteria and tools to measure impact for a given problem. In San Diego, 30 different non-profits are working on hunger, each looking at different ways of measuring value and impact. In order to assess impact and relative impact at the societal level, we need to move towards unified approaches for measuring success.


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

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

Students working at The Zone, a student lounge that encourages health and well-being, have been promoting a healthy student community. They host events that promote student development for a healthy lifestyle and introduce well-being resources to other students. Some events include yoga, stress relief techniques, and meditation sessions. They also help students connect environmental and human health through events during Earth Week. Students interns work at The Zone to educate the campus community.

Students are also actively involved in research and programs to foster health and wellness, food security, and the meeting of basic student needs on campus through programs like the Global Food Initiative, the Healthy Campus Network, and the Triton Food Pantry on campus (which students helped to launch and run).

http://www.ucop.edu/global-food-initiative/student-involvement/index.html

https://basicneeds.ucsd.edu/triton-food-pantry/


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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Other contacts: Jennifer Bowser

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.