Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.70
Liaison Kevin Kirsche
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Nate Shear
Sustainability Metrics Intern
Office of 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:

Campus as a Living Laboratory (CLL) at the University of Georgia creates partnership to use the natural, social and built environments of the campus and community for multidisciplinary learning and applied research to advance sustainability and to test and model innovative practices. The program connects faculty and students with University staff and administrators to create experiential learning opportunities and address real campus challenges. UGA staff benefit from high quality research and class projects that target campus plans, and students gain real world problem solving skills through self-directed, place based, solutions oriented projects.

There are numerous initiatives at UGA that facilitate CLL These include specific projects such as a new Trash Trap installed as a partnership with the New Materials Research Institute: https://newmaterials.uga.edu/ https://sustainability.uga.edu/stories/protecting-our-waterways/ and used by Dr. Rassumussen in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources (https://www.warnell.uga.edu/people/faculty/todd-c-rasmussen) in Water Resources courses.

CLL efforts at UGA also include large interdisciplinary initiatives such as:

The Campus Arboretum: https://sustainability.uga.edu/community-engagement/campus-arboretum/
The Campus Pollinator Project:https://sustainability.uga.edu/community-engagement/pollinators/
Watershed UGA:https://rivercenter.uga.edu/water-resources/watershed-uga/
Foodshed UGA: https://sustainability.uga.edu/community-engagement/foodshed/

All of these projects include academic, research, service and outreach paired with on the ground sustainability efforts. More details on the weblinks.


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:

There are numerous projects that engage both campus and community in sustainability including those mentioned in the overarching description (Watershed UGA, Foodshed UGA, Campus Pollinator Project, Campus Arboretum). They all serve to connect faculty, staff, and students on campus and member of the Athens Clarke County Community with specific sustainability initiatives.


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:

Students completing their Sustainability Certificate Capstone in spring 2021 are currently working with UGA Facilities Management Division to develop an LED Lighting Retrofit program to reduce carbon emissions. This follows up on the work of an Environmental Engineering course that also evaluated potential lighting upgrades.


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:

Green Building and LEED courses taught in College of Engineering and College of Environment & Design identify and evaluate green building strategies in campus buildings including energy modeling and audits, user surveys, etc. Information generated has led to direct operational change, such as steam system repairs, and utility cost savings.
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The Jackson Street Building is a sustainably rehabilitated facility for CED’s administrative office, Owens Library, Circle Gallery and the bachelor of landscape architecture program. The College of Environment and Design is home to one of the oldest and largest schools of landscape architecture in the U.S. and offers degrees in landscape architecture, historic preservation and environmental planning and design, as well as a certificate in environmental ethics. The college worked with the UGA Office of Sustainability on the building’s sustainable rehabilitations, which included the installation of solar panels on its roof. Dubbed by UGA the Solar Demonstration Project, it’s estimated the panels will provide almost 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year—approximately enough energy to power 90 fluorescent T8 lights for 10 hours a day or 189 laptops for eight hours a day for an entire year.


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:

The 1MW UGA Solar Tracking and Demonstration Project was developed in partnership with the College of Engineering to provide research and experiential learning opportunities, specifically including monitoring effectiveness of four different solar tracking mechanisms.


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:

UGA Faculty, researchers, students and operational staff at UGA Dining and the UGA Health Center are actively engaged in using the campus as a living laboratory through Foodshed UGA.
UGArden, the student run farm on campus includes areas for courses and research projects related to urban and organic food production. UGArden produce is then donated to Campus Kitchen which provides meals to those in need in the community, and distributed through mobile markets in low income areas.
Campus Kitchen which operates out of UGArden engages numerous students through internships and volunteer opportunities in collecting unused food and preparing and distributing meals to grandparents raising children in the community through the Athens Area Community Council on Aging.


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:

Watershed UGA engages multidisciplinary faculty and students in sustainability through our watersheds, much of this work focuses on our campus grounds and stream systems. Examples include design and installation of bioretention areas, stormwater quality monitoring, prescribed grazing research, invasive plant removal, community engaged art projects, communication campaigns, etc.
In addition, an Office of Sustainability Intern has spent the past 8 months evaluating rainwater harvesting infrastructure at UGA and making recommendations for improvement.

The Campus Pollinator Project is a collaboration of faculty, staff, students, and outreach personnel at UGA to enhance pollinator habitat on campus, engage students in experiential learning, facilitate collaborative research, and provide outreach activities and information to the public.


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:

Student interns at the Office of Sustainability have worked with UGA's Purchasing Staff to research and make recommendations for improving the sustainability of purchasing at UGA. In addition, in spring 2020, a team of Sustainability Certificate Capstone Students created a Sustainable Purchasing Guide for UGA.


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 conceived of the reCYCLE program, which refurbishes abandoned bikes collected from campus bike racks and provides them for free to students and employees who need affordable transportation options.

College of Engineering students analyzed data for UGA's new Electric Bus fleet and identified solar infrastructure that could support this program.


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:

Interns at the Office of Sustainability engage in a number of initiatives to improve waste and recycling on campus and increase composting. In the past several years they have converted all the in-building waste and recycling bins to a paired system and expanded our department compost program which is student led and run. The Office of Sustainability Interns have also created community engaged art projects around waste and creatively reusing waste materials on campus and in the community.

Two Office of Sustainability Interns are current Fellows with the Post Action Landfill Network (PLAN) conducting Phase 1 of the ATLAS Project to evaluate current waste management practices at UGA.


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:

Watershed UGA is a town-and-gown stream restoration and protection initiative spearheaded by the Odum School of Ecology and the Office of Sustainability with funding from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The goal of Watershed UGA is to exponentially increase campus and community awareness of and involvement in stream restoration, while creating a social infrastructure that facilitates the use of the UGA campus as a living laboratory and promotes experiential learning, research, and public service and outreach. To date over 100 classes have incorporated watershed UGA, which has lead to numerous on the ground projects, outreach activities, and monitoring data.

UGA Also restored Lake Herrick, a local resource here on campus with the help of faculty, staff and students. This area continues to be used by numerous courses in Ecology and Environmental Health.


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 at the Office of Sustainability oversee the collection and reporting of data to STARS, which relates to many of the institutional planning and coordination efforts underway. Likewise, the Student Government Association have been active proponents of the Office of Sustainability, voting twice for green fees to support the office.


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:

The Office of Sustainability student interns participate in a Diversity Training session with a staff member from the Office of Institutional Diversity in a weekly meeting. Students engage in conversations reflecting on their own identities of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, culture, ethnicity, and more. Students think critically about their place in the world in relation to others, and examine their personal privilege. The training concludes with a charge to these student leaders to keep these perspectives in mind as they continue to work across campus and in the community.

The UGA Office of Sustainability is currently surveying the student body to enhance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in programs and other offerings.


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:

The UGA Terry College of Business MBA program runs a B-Corp Clinic to assist Georgia Businesses in obtaining B-Corporation status. These positive experiences led to formalization of this program in collaboration with the UGA Office of Sustainability, Certificate in Sustainability, and local business partners. MBA students, along with undergraduate students enrolled in the Certificate of Sustainability, receive academic credit while working collaboratively with local businesses committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.


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:

The UGA Student Health Advisory Committee provides a student voice in health center operations, promotes a positive and open channel of communication between the UHC staff and the student body, and contributes additional awareness of student issues to the health center administration.

The UGA Healthy Dawg Ambassadors are a group of select students chosen to officially represent the health center. Ambassadors serve in multiple capacities promoting UHC’s mission and vision to students, faculty/staff, parents and other visitors.

The UGA Peer Nutrition Educator Program is coordinated by the Registered Dietitians in University Food Services and the University Health Center in cooperation with the Food and Nutrition Department. Peer Nutrition Educators (PNEs) must successfully complete a summer course designed to translate scientific nutrition principles into practical food and nutrition applications for University of Georgia students. Throughout the course the PNEs improve their skills in researching topics, developing programs, and in presenting this information to an audience. PNEs also assess their personal health behaviors and examine processes involved in health behavior change. The Peer Educator program provides students the opportunity to educate their peers about health issues and to model health enhancing behaviors. Peer educators demonstrate and encourage commitment to health through their ongoing participation in the community. Peers also act as a communication channel between students and health educators.

Other student engagement in Wellbeing and Work at UGA include Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Peer Educators, Safer Sex Ambassadors, Be Well Peer Educators, Peer Nutrition Educators (receive academic credit), and engagement with the UGA Work Life Balance office.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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.