Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.79
Liaison Ryan Chabot
Submission Date April 23, 2024

STARS v2.2

University of Central Florida
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Ryan Chabot
Sustainability Coordinator
Arboretum and Sustainability Initiatives
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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:
Students performed capstone project called "Improving UCF's Sustainability Rating: Student Engagement,” where students identified what we are already doing in Student Engagement that is not included in our current STARS score and what we could do in the future to improve our score. Students also explore how we could do a better job of keeping track of our efforts. Finally, students looked into other cost effective programs that could be implemented.

Students also completed capstone project titled "Webcourses Content on Sustainability at UCF for Student Government,” where they helped work to develop content for a Webcourses module that students could work through to become more familiar with key aspects of sustainability, how those aspects are being addressed at UCF, and how students can participate in that.

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 completed project called "Green Actioneers Project: Building a Social Media Presence" where they generated a marketing plan regarding major social media management through various outlets (e.g., Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Clubhouse, Zoom conferences) and implemented that plan by generating consistent content that will increase the online visibility of Green Actioneers. The Green Actioneers is book that serves as a vital resource for families that want to save money and "go green."

Students performed capstone project called "Farm to Trunk, Sustainable Food Education" where they helped market and increase public awareness and partnerships for Farm To Trunk (F2T) who reduce and redirect food loss and waste.

Students also completed capstone project titled "Citizen's Climate Lobby" where they worked with Citizen's Climate Lobby which is a nonpartisan organization focused on building support of Congress for addressing climate change. Students researched and compared the most efficient and effective and achievable ways for reducing emissions: Cap and Trade, Carbon tax, Carbon Capture and Renewables. Based on this information, students prepared a paper for use by CCL chapter that summarizes the various methods-description and pros and cons, and they designed a handout to explain the problem of climate change and the CCL proposal for a solution tailored to young adults.

Students carried out capstone project titled "Solar/Wind Feasibility at Orlando/Sanford International Airport" where students studied the footprint of the terminal and surrounding structures to install wind and or solar power producing equipment.

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 the class Urban Ecological Field Studies, students completed project titled “Carbon Dynamics of Longleaf Pine Ecosystems in UCF’s Arboretum Conservation Area.” In which they conducted a study to examine the amount of carbon sequestered by the Longleaf Pine (LLP) species on UCF’s Natural Lands area.

Students in the same class also completed a project titled “Carbon Sequestration of Longleaf Pines Across Three Ecosystems” in which they determined which longleaf pine ecosystem in the UCF Arboretum provides the highest level of carbon sequestration.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Buildings?:
No

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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
An engineering senior design project called “Light Saver” Pedestrian Safety Smart Sign To improve pedestrian safety at high traffic intersections, the smart sign identifies and detects pedestrians crossing the road, and alerts vehicles to their presence. It works with cameras and sensors that use realtime data from crosswalks, and warns vehicles using audible and visual alerts. Combines live data from multiple sources to provide better functionality. Solar-powered and environmentally friendly.

Students completed engineering senior design project called "Portable Solar Tracking Charging Station," where the main purpose and goal of this project was to achieve a high level of clean energy, while maintaining portability with a large solar tracking system. With the use of portable tracking systems, it may be possible to prevent scooters from dying due to low battery energy during peak periods. As soon as peak hour begins, this system could supply energy to these scooters to keep them fully charged and ready for customers to use.

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:
There are several different teams at the UCF Arboretum that deal with the topic of food, such as the Pollinators and Farm team. Each semester the Arboretum has interns who work specifically in our organic vegetable garden learning the importance of growing organically and how to properly maintain a vegetable garden to provide the food grown for free to our student body. The Pollinator Team alongside Dr. Bolin produce organic honey that is then available for purchase at the Arboretum. Internships focusing on bees and honey are also provided by the Arboretum, and students have completed projects within these internships looking at proper honey harvesting methods and sales, along with bee diseases that can contribute to the lack of honey production.

Students completed capstone project called "Fair Trade Campaign, UCF" where they held Fair Trade Events on campus and documented UCF's efforts to support Fair Trade products. The students organized campus events and updated information on Fair Trade offerings in UCF stores.

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:
Students in the class Urban Ecological Field Studies completed a project titled “Pollinator Abundance and Diversity in Natural Lands and Urban Landscapes.” They studied the difference between pollinator abundance and diversity in natural and urbanized landscapes. They selected six study sites on campus and found how manicured landscapes can be improved to better support pollinators.

Students in the same class completed a project titled “Pest Management: A Concentration on Imperiled Butterfly Conservation,” in which their objective was to (1) reevaluate the University of Central Florida’s in-place Integrated Pest Management plan and to (2) survey the distribution of the Atala butterfly’s host-plant, Coontie, across UCF’s main campus.

Another project in the same class was “Designing a Restoration Plan for the UCF Arboretum Boardwalk to Enhance Biological Functionality and Community Engagement with Nature.”

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 completed capstone project called "Fair Trade Campaign, UCF" where they held Fair Trade Events on campus and documented UCF's efforts to support Fair Trade products. The students organized campus events and updated information on Fair Trade offerings in UCF stores.

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:
Students completed capstone project on "UCF Bike-Friendly Campus Certification" where students researched and explored criteria for silver certification and make recommendations for cost-effective ways to meet those criteria. Students made recommendations for a Silver designation and researched current bike-friendly programs (e.g., UCF's Bike 'N Gold bikeshare program) as well as programs on other campuses in order to make specific recommendations.

Students also completed engineering senior design project called "Karpool" where students worked on creating a carpooling application to aim to create opportunities for transportation accessibility, but also aims to diffuse the day-to-day environmental pollution associated with the sheer number of vehicles on the road.

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:
Students completed capstone project titled "Reducing Food Waste at UCF." They developed and delivered outreach on ways to reduce the production of food waste (e.g., tips for shopping and managing one's food to avoid waste). They also focused on promoting composting on campus in conjunction with O-Town Compost.

Student Government in association with multiple capstone courses has worked to provide composting drop-off events to students on a weekly basis while also providing educational materials to teach students how to properly compost, and what materials they can drop off.

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:
In the class Urban Ecological Field Studies, students completed a project titled “Comparing Emergent vs. Free-Floating Aquatic Plants and their Ability to Remove Nutrients from Stormwater” where they compared nutrient removal rates of various emergent and free-floating aquatic plants to apply these results to the University of Central Florida’s retention ponds to improve water quality.

In the same class, students completed a project titled “Invasive VS Native Emergent Plants: Comparing Which Plant Type Absorbs the Most Nutrient Pollutants,” in which they studied plants gathered from the arboretum on campus.

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:
Student interns as part of the Learning by Leading program gathered and analyzed data for a sustainability report and STARS submission.

Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:
Students completed capstone project titled "UCF Student Government Association--Green Fund," where students contacted staff/faculty working on sustainability and interviewed them about current projects and concerns regarding campus sustainability. They also tabled on campus and surveyed students about their concerns regarding sustainability. This information will be combined to help prioritize what programs or modifications should be prioritized in the context of a green fund.

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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Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.