Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.77
Liaison Andrew Porter
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Cincinnati
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
4.00 / 4.00 Erin LeFever
Asst Sustainability Coordinator
Planning + Design + Construction
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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:

The Environmental Studies Capstone Class ( EVST 5011) is an experiential, service-learning course where students work in interdisciplinary teams to address a specific local issue or project. This requires the application and integration of principles from the various fields that contribute to modern environmental problem-solving. In addition to the service component of this class, students will followup on the professional development aspects of their training that were initiated in the earlier course, Environmental Research and Careers. This capstone course utilizes campus infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for sustainability through having students work on campus-specific issues, including on ways to raise awareness of issues like resource depletion and climate change shift behavior by UC students, staff and faculty when it comes to energy use, waste generation, and purchasing decisions.

In another example of the use of the campus as a living lab for engagement around sustainability issues, students Ashley Conway and Kayla Ferdelman, both fourth-year environmental studies students minoring in biology who also lead UC’s ornithology club, have conducted outreach to educate the campus community about avian mortality, as part of their research on the issue working with Dr. Ronald Canterbury, associate academic director of biological sciences The students have created a ""hotline"" that they ask UC community members to call to report bird deaths. See https://www.newsrecord.org/news/uc-students-track-hundreds-of-bird-deaths-from-window-collisions/article_58f0ff46-ee78-11e9-a5e5-832b259c38d3.html"


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 interdisciplinary course series titled a New Green Uptown, aims to build understanding and create solutions for a more collaborative and sustainable future on campus, local neighborhoods and across the region.The series is a collaboration between the departments of English, environmental studies, geography and planning. It includes classes on environmental writing, an environmental studies capstone, a course on Greater Cincinnati and Tristate regional geography and a sustainable development workshop. As such, a theme of the series that students are asked to explore is how community members around UC and in Cincinnati have traditionally been and are currently being engaged, and to consider the ways in which traditionally marginalized and/or vulnerable stakeholders are, or could better be, given a voice in decisions that affect them.


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 School of Planning in the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati is has hosted a workshop-focused class for the past three years entitled "DAAP Sustainability" that focuses on hands on workshops aimed at having students come up with creative solutions to creating a more sustainable environment in DAAP itself. This class acts as a living laboratory by providing students with co-curricular learning that enhances the effectiveness of their education. The course examines issues in Waste, GHGs, Water, Landscape, and Quality of Life, culminating in exhibitions and implementation of student work during Earth Week.


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:

Arch 7057 - Living Architecture, is an introduction to the benefits, design, construction, and maintenance of vegetated roofs and walls. In an effort to support experiential learning and work to use the University as a living laboratory, the University provides hands on opportunities for students to understand sustainability as it relates to buildings, and the installation of a living wall on Langsam library provides the opportunity for students in this class to get first hand exposure in doing so.

The University installed a living wall on the exterior facade of Langsam Library--which can now be used as a case study for the class in the future. Living Walls are a form of green infrastructure that provide multi-functional benefits, as they work to reduce the urban heat island effect, cleanse the air of pollutants, provide enhanced insulation to buildings, reduce stormwater runoff, and provide aesthetic beauty and biophilic connections to nature. The living wall came to fruition thanks to the advocacy and interest of passionate students and with the help of UC Libraries, Urban Blooms, the Department of Planning + Design + Construction, and the Office of Sustainability.


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:

Three examples among many: 1) Students are currently working with assistant professor Amanda Webb to support UC's participation in the Cincinnati 2030 District, with the goal of reducing campus energy use and emissions by half. Webb and her students are compiling building energy data from UC and other buildings across Cincinnati to compile into a research report to deliver to the city and to campus decision makers. 2) Every semester some UC engineering students do their required "Co-Ops" working for UC Facilities in UC's central co-generation plant, and work on projects related to energy and utility efficiency and clean energy. 3) The Environmental Studies program also offers the class Sustainable Energy, which often uses UC's energy and utility systems for case studies. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the important topic of sustainable energy production and usage in our society. A variety of topics on sustainable energy are be discussed from the science, engineering, economy and society perspectives. Topics such as solar energy conversion, hydrogen economy, CO2 reduction, and next-generation rechargeable batteries are studied and discussed as small group projects.


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:

The UC Forward class series titled Inquiry to Innovation: Zero Hunger / Zero Waste "PD2030-001" contributes to understanding sustainability in relation to food and dining as it promotes students to develop real world solutions to intractable problems related to food, waste, and the environment. In this course, students partner with the Kroger "Zero Hunger/Zero Waste" initiative to develop approaches to this vexing problem in local neighborhoods. Project applications will range from broad food systems strategy and smart systems to tactical community-based solutions like food hubs and urban agriculture, in and around UC.


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:

The Permaculture Design Course, parts 1 and 2, offered through the College if Design, Art, Architecture and Planning has students do final projects, some of which deal with improving air quality and climate through landscape design projects on campus. This course lays the foundations of the Permaculture Design philosophy. The Permaculture Design Course, parts 1 and 2, offered through the College if Design, Art, Architecture and Planning has students do final projects, some of which deal with improving air quality and climate through landscape design projects on campus. This course lays the foundations of the Permaculture Design philosophy. It will teach students how and why ecological thinking and philosophies like Permaculture are fundamental to the future on various levels, be it in farming, building, energy, or ecological systems. The student will learn the Principles and Ethics of Permaculture and how to use and implement Permaculture Design methods and practices on a small, residential scale. We will also explore how these principles can be used to create resilient and regenerative human systems and how they are applied in various situations.


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:

The Sustainable Fashion Initiative (SFI) is a student-centered effort to cultivate a zero-waste (circular) culture within the fashion program at the Myron E. Ullman Jr. School of Design. Much of the effort from SFI revolves around the importance of sustainable sourcing of material and advocating for more ethical and environmentally just material procurement on an institutional level.

The Environmental Studies Capstone Class ( EVST 5011) is an experiential, service-learning course where students work in interdisciplinary teams to address a specific local issue or project. This requires the application and integration of principles from the various fields that contribute to modern environmental problem-solving. In addition to the service component of this class, students will followup on the professional development aspects of their training that were initiated in the earlier course, Environmental Research and Careers. This capstone course utilizes campus infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for sustainability through having students work on campus specific issues, some of which deal with procurement and sourcing of material and how the University can expand on its sustainable purchasing options.


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:

In the School of Planning a Transportation Course is taught "PLAN 5158". This course introduces urban transportation planning and provides an overview of transportation system evaluation. Topics covered include current federal legislation, multi-modal transportation, history of public transportation funding, legislative process, transportation improvement program, and long-range and short-range transit planning and programming. Some of the work of the class involves looking at multi-modal transportation on campus and how it might best be improved.


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:

The University has a diversity of examples of how the campus is being used as a living laboratory in relation to waste, in particular, the head of UC's Environmental Engineering Department, with the support of students, has done research related to quantifying food waste from UC's campus and other institutions in the Uptown Cincinnati area, in order to study the feasibility of how practical it would be to develop an anaerobic digestion facility in the region.


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:

The Society of Enviornmental Engineers, a student organization, has been participating in the EPA's rainworks challenge, in the pursuit of using the campus as a living lab for how green infrastructure might be best utilized to solve stormwater issues. Additionaly, in our College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), a graduate level class entitled Green Cities embarked on the challenge of seeking grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency for the Rainworks challenge. Three student groups collaborated with the Department of Planning + Design + Construction and the Office of Sustainability to decipher what would be the most advantageous place on campus to harvest rainwater, mitigate runoff, and create a more ecologically sustainable built environment for dealing with water.
The Permaculture Design Course, parts 1 and 2, offered through the College if Design, Art, Architecture and Planning has students do final projects, some of which deal with improving air quality and climate through landscape design projects on campus. This course lays the foundations of the Permaculture Design philosophy. It will teach students how and why ecological thinking and philosophies like Permaculture are fundamental to the future on various levels, be it in farming, building, energy, or ecological systems. The student will learn the Principles and Ethics of Permaculture and how to use and implement Permaculture Design methods and practices on a small, residential scale. We will also explore how these principles can be used to create resilient and regenerative human systems and how they are applied in various situations.


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:

Through interdisciplinary, experiential courses such as the School of Plannings studio classes, as well classes such as the UC Forward Class series and the Environmental Studies Capstone projects, students are given real world examples of problems that exist on campus with the intention of educating students on how to be pragmatic in working with a diversity of stakeholders to solve issues.


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?:
No

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

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

Located in the 1819 Innovation Hub on the UC campus, the Live Well Collaborative works with industry leaders and University of Cincinnati students and faculty to form multidisciplinary design project teams. Over the course of a semester the project team uses our design thinking process, which incorporates three main steps: in-depth user focused research, ideation of products and services, and concept refinement. Live Well Collaborative’s design-led approach, delivers innovative solutions across the lifespan, for example for local area hospitals to which UC has connections. https://livewellcollaborative.org/


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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