Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.43
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2022

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Ellen Vaughan
Water & Climate Action Manager
Sustainability Office
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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:
For many of these points, please see UCSC's Living Labs Map: https://ucsc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=5d13175cc8364eefa1b9125316008e03 This map outlines Living Labs learning and engaging opportunities around agroecology, design & engineering, environmental education, environmental justice & sustainability, and the UCSC Natural Reserves. Particularly related to campus engagement, we would like to highlight the Common Ground Center: The mission of Kresge College Common Ground Center is to create cultural change for social justice, environmental regeneration, and economic viability. The center acts as a catalyst and facilitator of systemic change through undergraduate action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. Common Ground Center supports a diverse set of Kresge College initiatives for sustainability and social justice.

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:
The student focused, Center for Creative Ecologies researches the intersection of art, culture, and environment. The aim is to develop useful arts-led interdisciplinary research tools to examine how cultural practitioners — filmmakers, new media strategists, photojournalists, architects, writers, activists, and interdisciplinary theorists—critically address and creatively negotiate environmental concerns in the local, regional, and global field. The center hosts public events and salon series, including one on campus sustainability effort which critically examined sustainability challenges at UCSC. https://creativeecologies.ucsc.edu/ Among other student engagement, multiple PhD leadership roles can be found here: https://creativeecologies.ucsc.edu/about/

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:
The UCSC Carbon Fund works towards recreating UCSC as an operationally carbon neutral campus while providing faculty with an opportunity for research and students with the tools they need to move towards a more sustainable future. The fund is managed by a student, faculty, and staff committee. Carbon Fund website: https://sustainability.ucsc.edu/engage/funding/carbon-fund/index.html To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Energy & Climate". Examples include: A student research project: "Carbon Sequestration, Dung Beetles, and Soil Microbes in Pasturelands of Central Coast California" A proposal from the Green Labs student team: "Incubator Replacement Program"

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:
In 2018 & 2019, IDEASS program (Impact Designs: Engineering and Sustainability through Student Service) partnered with the Sustainability Office and Physical Planning, Development and Operations to host a pilot class modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Lab model. The course offers hands-on experience for students to assess the efficiency and operations of select campus buildings, including assessing buildings for future feasibility of LEED-EBOM certification. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Buildings & Facilities". Another example includes a Carbon Fund project: "Pallet Palace" A student and faculty initiative to build a small, affordable house largely out of discarded pallets to serve as a reproducible model for those in need.

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:
1) UCSC's IDEASS Lab: Field-based course designed to advance sustainability education with real-world impact. The course enables students to develop as change agents and make valued contributions to sustainable-design projects that advance new technologies or strategies and bring about societal and environmental change. https://rachelcarson.ucsc.edu/academics/courses/class-schedule.php/course/2202-63986/ideass-lab An example of a past energy project includes: Creating a mobile solar powered charging station for electric grounds equipment. 2) The Carbon Fund works towards recreating UCSC as an operationally carbon-neutral campus while providing faculty with an opportunity for research and students with the tools they need to move towards a more sustainable future. The fund is managed by a student, faculty and staff committee. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Energy & Climate". Examples include: "Solar Picnic Tables" - a successful student proposal to install solar powered picnic tables on campus. "Solar Powered Mobile Recharging Station"- a student project to create a solar recharge station for Grounds electrical equipment.

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:
1) To learn more about individual food related Carbon Fund projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Food". For example: a) "Supporting year-long food justice and science education development in Calabasas Elementary Community Garden." Through the Apprenticeship in Community-Engaged Research Program - a class which assesses learning through grades - students learn to work at community gardens. b) "Program in Community and Agroecology: Increasing Compost Education". Students work to increase compost education and metric results by, "Tangible results will be measured in the number of students reached through workshops and tons of offset GHG emissions through the repurposing of food waste." 2) Utilizing our dining halls as living labs: UCSC Dining has taken the initiative to provide our students with plenty of local and organic foods. Aside from merely incorporating more sustainable food into our menu, staff also make sure to bring customers’ attention to the reasons why we choose these (sometimes more costly) items. They post an array of signage in each of the dining halls to provide this information publicly. One sign highlights 10 reasons to choose organic. Another, larger, poster explains the purpose for choosing the fair trade direct coffee bought from the Community and Agroecology Network. Several fliers are dedicated to addressing the correlation between the distance and production process of foods, and their respective carbon footprints. The halls bring attention to the Real Food Challenge which revolves around incorporating sustainable food systems in higher education and high schools. Lastly, we also encourage students to minimize waste through signage. We help our students recognize the value in preventing food waste by sampling, taking only what will actually be eaten, and recognizing that even though we compost our food scraps, this is still an energy intensive process. All of these outreach efforts are led by our campus Foodies (student staff position in Dining Services), a Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern, a Provost's Sustainability Intern, and interns from the Food Systems Working Group.

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:
UCSC Grounds Services hosts at least one sustainability intern a year. To date, interns have used campus grounds to learn about and develop a weed-management plan, outreach and education materials for habitat restoration of Younger Lagoon and an invasive species management plan. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Land, Habitat, Watershed". Additional projects can be found on the UCSC Living Labs Map under the "UCSC Natural Reserves" and "Agroecology" tab. https://ucsc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=5d13175cc8364eefa1b9125316008e03

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:
UCSC Procurement Services has hosted numerous Provost's Sustainability Interns since 2011. To date, interns have completed a Lifecycle Cost Analysis (LCA) for frequently purchased office supplies, a catalog of environmentally preferred products, and developed a greenwashing education program available to all campus staff through campus training services. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Purchasing". Additionally, a 2021 student led an initiative that resulted in UCSC becoming a Fair Trade Campus: https://news.ucsc.edu/2021/05/fair-trade.html Multiple students will continue this effort throughout the coming years to ensure compliance and market the effort.

Is 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:
Transportation Advisory Committee - four undergraduate, two graduate seats on advisory committee regarding all modes of transportation on campus and policy issues Sustainable Transportation Working Group - student participation has varied over the years Bike Library - student leader coordinates this program each year Bike intern completed the bike friendly award application To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Transportation". Pre & post-COVID-19 - Student intern for Walk to Class Challenge - student led event to promote walking as a viable and sustainable form of transportation.

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:
UCSC sponsors Sustainability Interns to work on waste reduction efforts every year. Examples of past intern projects include: started a compost and recycling program at Student Housing; started waste education pilot programs at several of the residential colleges; created a campus-wide, formalized system for Zero Waste Events that promotes and encourages waste reduction and waste diversion; and completed a waste assessment and education pilot program to bring UCSC’s McHenry Library as close to being a zero waste facility as possible and create a waste reduction intervention that could be duplicated at other buildings on campus. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Waste & Recycling". For example: The student class project/club: " Mycoremediation Pollution Solutions. Formerly known as Toadstool Composting." https://slab.sites.ucsc.edu/toadstool/

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 have used the campus as a laboratory to learn about and practice direct advocacy around water issues including developing Take Back the Tap, a student organization focused on eliminating the sale of single use water bottle at UCSC and Drop Your Own Drip campaign, to educate students about their personal water consumption and motivate them to change their everyday behaviors to reduce their water use. In addition, the Sustainability Office's student Drought Response Team has worked with grounds services to identify leaks and areas for retrofits to reduce waste and to educate the campus about water conservation. To learn more about individual projects visit the Project Clearinghouse at http://projectclearinghouse.ucsc.edu/ and view the Category of "Water". For example: "Aquaponics Pilot" where students are building a water-wise system for growing plants and crayfish in the Thimann Greenhouse and educating the UCSC community about aquaponics

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 Sustainability Laboratory (S-Lab) is a center for student innovation and leadership both on and off campus. Their facilities and mentorship are geared toward fostering student, faculty, and community ingenuity from project conception to deployment, facilitating a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to sustainable design and development. They welcome and support projects situated in the nexus of renewable energy technologies, urban food systems, and water security. S-lab is a makerspace and incubator for student-led projects. They provide functional indoor and outdoor research laboratories, workshops, prototyping and test equipment, meeting rooms and gathering spaces that encourage creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset. Online and hands-on modules are available to facilitate foundational understanding in sustainable technologies, while S-lab fellows are on hand to provide field-specific and professional mentorship. Through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, S-lab links sustainability-focused efforts on the UCSC campus with those in the private sector and with the international community to form an integrated community of practice. The S-Lab is accessible to all students on campus. https://slab.sites.ucsc.edu/ Additionally, the Student Environmental Center regularly engages students from across campus to create the "Blueprint for a Sustainable Campus" The Blueprint outlines visions and actions for how UCSC can become a more just and sustainable campus. Created through conversations with UCSC students, faculty, and staff at Blueprint Breakouts, the Blueprint offers a unique perspective on how the community wants to move towards environmental conservation, social equity, and a better education system. http://enviroslug-sec.org/blueprint

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:
1) The "Environmental Justice & Sustainability" tab of the UCSC Living Labs Map has other opportunities for applied student learning such as the Common Ground Center, Cowell Coffee Shop: For the Peoples, and the People of Color Sustainability Collective. https://ucsc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=5d13175cc8364eefa1b9125316008e03 To elaborate, the mission of Common Ground is to create cultural change for social justice, environmental regeneration, and economic viability. We act as a catalyst and facilitator of systemic change through undergraduate action-education, research, advocacy, and civic engagement. Common Ground Center faculty offer a series of courses at Kresge College. Through these courses student learning is assessed. (https://kresge.ucsc.edu/commonground/about/index.html) 2) The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers internships to students in the Professional Career Development Program. Student interns participate in work that advances the university’s teaching, research and service mission, and commitment to excellence by working collaboratively with others throughout the institution to promote a campus climate that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is free of bias and harassment. Initiatives and activities are designed to cultivate a climate in which all students, staff, and faculty are treated fairly and able to thrive and succeed; and everyone including current affiliates, alumni, supporters, and community members is welcomed. Initiatives ensure that UC Santa Cruz is compliant with nondiscrimination and affirmative action policies and laws for staff and faculty, and all applicants and employees are afforded equal opportunity in employment.

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:
Ongoing: Students are the main managers and make up the majority of the voting committee for UCSC's Carbon Fund. An approximately $160,000 annual granting body to invest in sustainable projects. This fund is open to all students. Multiple classes utilize the fund to advance their class projects and capstones. For example, one class utilized funds to improve the composting of pizza boxes on campus. Ongoing: Multiple student representatives sit on the Athletics & Recreation Reserve Funds committee to determine future project allocations. 2021: Multiple student representatives sit on the Green Building Fee which determines the allocation of reserved funds for student fee buildings. 2017: Students participated in the development of the Climate and Energy Strategy, a business scenario analysis tool designed to help the university make smart investments in projects and efforts to help the campus reach carbon neutrality by 2025.

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:
Sustainable Food, Health & Wellness Initiative: UCSC undergraduate students are invited to apply for Measure 43 funds to support student research and education projects and visiting speakers whose topic is related to food, health, and wellness, and who will engage UCSC students. See Project Clearinghouse Link for examples of projects funded in past years.

Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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