Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.89
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Gabriel Durham
Graduate assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

In the Office of Sustainability, students under the supervision of the program manager actively engage campus through social media, outreach, the attending of meetings and events, and partner with local organizations. Positive outcomes are manifold including donating produce to food pantries located in food deserts, a sustainability blog, a monthly sustainability newsletter, and project collaborations with Houston sustainability organizations.

http://www.uh.edu/af-university-services/sustainability/news/


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:

University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design students Caleb Matheson and Darci McGee recently received the Merit Award from the AIA Fort Worth Excellence in Architecture Student Design Awards for their project, Lewis Center, a tribute to the life and work of the late congressman John Lewis.

The project was born from Professor Emily Moore's studio assignment to design a social justice center that would revitalize a community. The Lewis Center orients itself towards serving surrounding communities of the Sweet Auburn Historic District in Atlanta, Georgia – a significant historical region containing markers and monuments from the Civil Rights Movement.

Matheson and McGee sought to create a space celebrating John Lewis and perpetuating his mission of getting into "good trouble" for the sake of social justice. The word "dreams" as a metaphor, packed with imagery and having significance within the civil rights movement, was the Lewis Center's inspiration.
https://uh.edu/architecture/newsroom/news-articles/3-2021-fort-worth-merit/


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 have been measuring ozone levels around campus, getting a real-life lesson in collecting and analyzing data for a class in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The project offers students a look at how dramatically ozone levels can vary and an understanding of Houston’s ozone’s composition.

http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2018/october-2018/10032018talbot-ozone-meters.php


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:

Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design Professor Dijana Handanovic and seven undergraduate Architecture students joined forces with Houston’s Awty International School and non-profit organization Schools for Children of the World (SCW) to raise money and build a new school in a rural Buenos Aires village, fifteen miles from Comayagua, Honduras.

Professor Handanovic and the students – Sarah Neiman, Morgan Mendenhall, Chris Nguyen, Sarah White, Andrew Medina, Edgar Castillo, and Steven Griffin – built a physical model of the Honduras school building envisioned by SCW. The students also produced several graphic representations, which were initially scheduled to be displayed at the annual Awty International Festival before the event’s cancelation due to COVID-19.
https://www.uh.edu/architecture/newsroom/news-articles/hines-college-students-help-build-school-in-honduras.php


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:

Yan Yao, an University of Houston associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and his lab discovered a new material that has proven an effective anode for acid and alkaline batteries, including emerging aqueous metal-ion batteries, offering the promise of safe, long-lasting batteries that work across a range of temperatures. Their use of quinones are inexpensive, earth-abundant and easily recyclable material. These batteries are effective for the use of energy storage which can help progress electric cars, wind and solar power along with other clean energy technologies. Yao continues his work mentoring students on new projects related to aqueous batteries.
https://uh.edu/news-events/stories/2021/january-2021/01112021shan-seawater.php


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:

Food insecurity, or the inability to afford enough nutritious food to fuel a regularly healthy lifestyle, is a growing concern on college campuses nationwide. In an effort to address this significant barrier to student success, the University of Houston has opened the Cougar Cupboard in partnership with the Houston Food Bank’s Food for Change market network. The cupboard is available to all enrolled undergraduate or graduate students who may need access to additional food. Student volunteers also rotate stock from the pantry and compose any past good produce.

The Cougar Cupboard is located on the first floor of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, in UH Wellness, suite 1038 (4500 University Dr.) and is stocked full of fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen and refrigerated foods, and dry goods. Students can receive up to 30 lbs. of free groceries every week from Cougar Cupboard or one of the other 14 Food for Change markets in Houston. To utilize the Cougar Cupboard, students must attend a one-time market orientation hosted by Cougar Cupboard staff and complete a short application for the Houston Food Bank’s Food Scholarship Program.
https://uh.edu/dsaes/cougarcupboard/


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:

Classes taught at the UH Coastal Center (UHCC) include courses in ecology, environmental sciences, geophysics and architecture. See the News & Events “Events” tab for recent and upcoming courses.

Students in any UH campus can register for a limited number of courses at other campuses. This allows students from any campus to take summer courses at the UHCC. See http://uhsystem.edu/students/student-pathways/.

UHCC scientists like Chelse Prather are active in promoting “pocket prairies” that help students of all ages experience the prairie wherever they might live. See a short video from Texas Parks & Wildlife that features Chelse at https://youtu.be/rMYvhJ_AZMs/.
http://www.eih.uh.edu/education/


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:

Professor Funda Sahin has been studying the often overlooked benefits of purchasing sustainable products. The results of her research were highlighted in Bauer Business News along with her work with students on this topic. http://bauerticker.uh.edu/bbf/benefits-of-sustainable-products/


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 under the supervision and guidance of the Office of Sustainability staff generated the campus' first interactive sustainability map which was the first map detailing all bike share stations, bus stops, and bike repair stations on campus.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1fRZfUbA1V9BIOppa5IT1LwMDUuXABswY&hl=en&ll=29.718750869497473%2C-95.33851970000003&z=16


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 under the supervision and guidance of the Office of Sustainability staff generated the campus' first interactive sustainability map which was the first map detailing all recycling stations on campus. Since, recycling rates have improved on campus.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1fRZfUbA1V9BIOppa5IT1LwMDUuXABswY&hl=en&ll=29.718750869497473%2C-95.33851970000003&z=16


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:

A group of University of Houston students enrolled in Energy & Sustainability with similar interests in water conservation investigated a potential water-saving solution for the University of Houston with the guidance of their professor. Their research project evaluates the structure, costs and laws of the current on-campus water management system and analyzes sound technical methodologies and water conservation strategies that could be implemented within the campus. A website was published that reviews their findings: https://uhwater.weebly.com/


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:

In March, the C. T. Bauer College of Business partnered with a startup hackathon to virtually host an event that challenged college students from across the United States to create a sustainability startup in just a few days.

Bauer College’s nationally ranked Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship partnered with 4 Day Founder (4DF) for the inaugural event, which was open to any college student identifying as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC), designed to build a safe community for future founders of color to innovate.

Over the four-day virtual hackathon, 11 teams developed startup ideas promoting sustainability. The randomized teams each brainstormed an idea, created a logo, presented an elevator pitch, researched the market, drafted a one-pager and competed in a pitch competition. The hackathon was supplemented by panel discussions with BIPOC entrepreneurs on “Being an Effective Leader,” “Financing Your Million Dollar Idea,” and “Diversity in Business.” Students attended sessions about the business model canvas, public speaking, and how to make a startup pitch deck.

https://www.bauer.uh.edu/news/2021/bauer-college-co-hosts-climate-focused-hackathon/


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 Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) REACH program promotes the University's commitment to diversity and the creation of a global learning community. They help bring individuals and groups of students together to engage with and learn from one another. REACH peer educators have multiple opportunities to develop foundational leadership skills and refine personal and professional strengths. After attending a three-hour learning intensive orientation, ambassadors are fully prepared to represent the CDI mission of diversity and understanding. A year long appointment, ambassador job responsibilities include attending CDI meetings, representing CDI at other departmental meetings, creating and maintaining a positive and educational social media presence, and educating the campus about diversity and inclusion values.

Positive outcomes include general office and intercultural experience training for CDI ambassadors, campus networking, and increased intercultural competence for the campus as a whole. Students can also earn a REACH certification to document their skills and service.

https://www.uh.edu/cdi/student-opportunities/reach/
https://www.uh.edu/cdi/diversity_education/rise/


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:

Learning to lead yourself is just as important as learning to lead others. Through LeadWELL, students will learn the importance of self-care and balance as it relates to leadership. Topics such as time management, stress management, self-care and more will be explored. Development of these skills are crucial to a healthy life and organization.

By participating in LeadWell, participants will be able to:

Understand the role that personal wellness and well-being play in leadership.
Learn the how topics like self-care and balance, healthy communication, time management can impact wellness.
Identify changes they may be able to make in their daily life to increase well-being.

To complete the LeadWell program, students must complete the 2 core courses, 2 elective courses, and a capstone reflection paper.
https://uh.edu/csi/leaduh/leadwell/


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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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.