Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Jeannie Matheison
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jeannie L. Matheison
Director
Sustainability Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

The course, Climate Change and Society (SO 404), contributes to student understanding of campus sustainability challenges through student/faculty projects. For example, students create a professional, formal, and well-designed action project that seeks to educate others about an issue related to climate change, aims to help a community group solve a problem related to climate change, or seeks to mitigate climate change in some way.

Examples include: a sharable post on what people can do to cut their carbon footprint, a lobbying campaign to solve a climate-related issue, a high-school lesson plan, a letter to the editor, a proposal to improve transportation on campus, a proposal for/creation of a shared economy group on Facebook, or anything you can envision.

Projects will include the finished product proposed as well as a supplemental essay explaining your project, its benefits and goals, its weaknesses, and why you approached it in the way you did. You will be expected to implement the project with your intended audience.

This project should not be a formal paper. However, it does need to engage with scholarly sources and intellectual processes. You need to use scholarly data to support the arguments you make and the directions you take with your project.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

A Solar Site Assessment for the UI Sustainability Center in partnership with Facilities Management was conducted by a sophomore studying Electrical Engineering and the UI Sustainability Center Solar Specialist, to objectively identify the most suitable locations on campus for a photovoltaic solar array. The process of conducting it took several months to complete and incorporated feedback from numerous university stakeholders and experts. Initially, 15 rooftop and ground locations were identified for analysis, based on the land usage and rooftop age. From there, the locations were further evaluated based on a set of 7 criteria, including, among other metrics, cost efficiency, aesthetic implications, proximity to the campus community, and potential to be a "Zero Net Energy" installation. Upon completion, this process revealed four locations to be ideal: the Campus Bookstore, the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC), the Swim Center, and Shoup Hall.

Moving forward, the assessment and it's methodology will continue to be used in making an informed decision when siting the University of Idaho's first large scale solar array. Next steps include structural engineering assessment of potential rooftops, and funding options.

The culmination of three years of work, the student and staff partnering on this project gained a deep understanding of the challenges in accessing capital and the perseverance and collaborative efforts needed to successfully advance campus sustainability.

A copy of the 2017 Solar Site Assessment is available on the UI Sustainability Center website at: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/resources/reports


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

A number of office buildings and residence halls on campus pre-date the installation of central cooling systems. During the hot summer months, these buildings can become uncomfortable for occupants. To provide a more comfortable working/living environment many departments are installing energy intensive window air conditioners. In an effort to reduce energy use, capture cost and carbon saving, and reduce interior temperatures, the UI Facilities—Resource Conservation Manager has partnered with Architecture Faculty and undergraduate students in 2016-2017 to tackle this problem through applied learning and research.

Students researched energy consumption in the United States by building sector, heating and cooling costs associated with single pane windows, and the cost constraints of replacing single paned windows with energy efficient options. Students used HOBO environmental robots (small data loggers) to gather data from two offices. A control office and a second office with NanoTint applied to the windows. NanoTint is a clear thermal insulation coating developed by Drywired. The coating reportedly blocks 99.9% UV rays, 95% of infrared rays, while maintaining 78% of visible light, which makes it ideal for single-pane glass windows and polycarbonate surfaces. After considering a combination of passive and/or technological solutions, students presented findings to Facilities engineers in 2017.

They concluded, “The most financially conservative solution for the test case, Shoup Hall, would be to simply plant trees in combination with exterior shading devices. A second option, easily adaptable to a variety of architectural building styles on campus, is to apply window NanoTint. Nano tint appears to be the most cost-effective option”. Next steps include gathering additional room temperature data to verify these conclusions.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

The project we think deserves to be highlighted is the full-circle relationship between the Soil Stewards Farm, UI campus Dining and the composting facility at the UI Dairy. Students who work at the Soil Stewards Farm work hard to grow quality produce for UI campus dining. In turn, the students who consume food from campus dining contribute to the compost created at the UI Dairy when they put food scraps in the compost bins. The Soil Steward Farm completes the circle by using this compost on our vegetable crops.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

In 2018, Brian Feldhaus, a graduate student studying Landscape Architecture, was awarded $3000 to transform a portion of the University of Idaho’s golf course into a native xeriscape. In this project, Feldhaus and partners will take a section of the course that is currently filled with gopher holes and weeds and redesign it using sustainable native xeriscaping principles. Converting a traditional landscape that requires inputs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation water into a sustainable landscape composed of native plants which do not necessitate those ‘artificial’ inputs makes sense for our environment and is fiscally responsible. In addition, a properly design sustainable landscape requires a fraction of the manpower of a traditional landscape to maintain (e.g. no mowing, no pruning). Through this grant, Feldhaus will gain experience in landscape architecture while helping the university replant the Palouse prairie with native trees and shrubs that will thrive for years to come. This project was completed May 2019.

This project took place under the supervision of faculty members, and sustainability staff. Feldhaus compiled a final report on the project documenting what he learned.

A brief project description can be found here: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/student-grants/current-grants


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

In 2016, a senior pursuing degrees in Fishery Resources and Spanish, completed work on a $1,900 UI Sustainability Center student-led mini grant entitled “If Everybody Did”. Funding was used to purchase durable, reusable canvass grocery bags with the intention of educating students about the detriment of plastic bags. From there, the canvas bags were distributed at the annual Earth Fest celebration, and they were also used to incentive an Environmental Science Graduate student’s plastics survey. The plastics survey gauged student, staff and faculty support for a community movement to reduce Moscow’s plastic bag use, and assessed attitudes and behaviors regarding plastic packaging. Moving forward, this survey inspired the UI Sustainability Center’s Recycling Coordinator, a senior studying Environmental Science, to launch a Zero Waste Project: a weeklong challenge for students to learn about transitioning from a conventional to a zero waste lifestyle.

A brief summary of the “IF Everybody Did" project is available on the UI Sustainability Center Website, under the 2014-2015 past grants tab: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/student-grants/past-grants


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

As one-step toward meeting the University of Idaho’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, an Environmental Science master’s student with guidance from departmental faculty completed research on UI’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory as applied research in 2018. Upon completion, the master’s student who also held a staff position at the Sustainability Center began work on the third iteration of the university’s greenhouse gas inventory with support provided by faculty advisers in the Environmental Science and Geography departments, UI Sustainability Center, UI Facilities, and UI Accounts Payable.

The UI CAP and GHG Inventories are available on the reports page of the UI Sustainability Center Website: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/resources/reports


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

During the 2017-2018 academic year, Kenneth Sheffler, a junior studying Electrical Engineering, was awarded $1,425 to complete an applied research project that assessed the feasibility of generating biogas energy from campus waste. Currently, the University of Idaho and City of Moscow manage this waste by composting. An alternative method and more efficient use of organic waste is through anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is much like composting except it produces biogas which can be used as a source of renewable energy.

For a short description of the project see: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/student-grants/current-grants


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

In 2016, three Water Resource Graduate Students and an environmental educator respectively, were awarded $2,700 to facilitate a three-day water resource awareness weekend (WAWA) during UI Sustainability Center’s earth fest. As part of their master's research, students facilitated and lead a stream restoration and clean-up event alongside Paradise Creek, coordinated a data visualization workshop, and hosted a youth water conference. By involving undergraduate and graduate students, the UI-WAWA advanced campus shifts towards more sustainable behaviors and attitudes and helped the University of Idaho move towards enhanced resilience in the face of climate change.

A brief summary of the WAWA project is available on the UI Sustainability Center Website, under the 2016-2017 past grants tab: https://www.uidaho.edu/current-students/sustainability-center/student-grants/past-grants


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

In 2017, faculty and graduate students at the McCall field campus of the University of Idaho harnessed the potential of the total solar eclipse to sponsor an environmental education program for low-income, Latino students from southern Idaho. The purpose of the 3-day program was to engage students in solar science and storytelling using a culturally-responsive framework that would help students feel connected to the natural world and science. In addition, as part of this program, graduate students and UI faculty utilized program surveys and qualitative data gathered during the event to analyze the potential for place-based environmental education programs to support the growth of “sense of place” and science identity in students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields
“The eclipse provided an incredible opportunity for students to experience how miraculous and mysterious science can be,” said Teresa Cavazos Cohn, a research assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources and project lead. “It is important that we reach the full diversity of students that represent Idaho communities with this kind of experience.”
The MOSS Solar Science Program was created through a partnership between MOSS and the 4-H Youth Development Program, which works with students from Nampa and Caldwell public housing and includes Farmway Village Housing Project in Caldwell. Liliana Vega is the 4-H Extension Educator for that area and collaborated with Cohn on this project.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work

On July 1, 2016, the university adopted a tobacco-free policy. This passing of this policy was the culmination of four years of work led by students in the College of Education’s movement sciences (MVSC) program with faculty support provided by Helen Brown, and Vandal Health Education.

One group of three started, the second group (a year or 2 later) also incorporated the policy work in their course work. At that time, we taught MVSC 429 & 486 (Fall and Spring semester)- MVSC 429 course included assessment and planning for healthy active lifestyles (HAL) and the 486 was implementation and marketing of HAL. These were both team-based projects, with a faculty supervisor (Helen Brown) and an agency supervisor, Vandal Health Education. Students presented their work at regional college health conferences, and they were taught to use scholarly methods, conducted a scientifically defensible survey, etc.

A tobacco-free campus will provide a healthier and cleaner atmosphere for our university family.

1. Protects people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to passive smoke and other tobacco-related substances, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions
2. Decreases initiation of tobacco use among students
3. Promotes tobacco-free lifestyles as a social and health norm
4. Prohibits the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew, and any other non-combustible tobacco products.

Other benefits include providing a cleaner learning and working environment and a decrease in costs and personnel resources related to tobacco litter cleanup. 100 receptacles used to collect cigarette waste were removed from campus resulting in a time savings of 6-8 hours per week previously used to empty them.

https://www.uidaho.edu/apm/35/28


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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1. Air & Climate: Kristin Haltiner, Faculty, Sociology and Anthropology.
2. Buildings, Grounds, Purchasing, Transportation, Waste, and Water: Jeannie Matheison, Director, Sustainability Center.
3. Energy: Fred Pollard, Resource Conservation Manager, Facilities.
4. Food & Dining: Alison Detjens, Soil and Water Systems Faculty
5. Diversity & Affordability: Kayla Bordelon, Sustainability and Student Engagement Coordinator, Sustainability Center
6. Wellbeing & Work: Helen Brown, Clinical Associate Professor, Public Health and Nutrition, Exercise Science and Health

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.