Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.25
Liaison Meredith Moore
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Meredith Moore
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
"---" 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:

Sustainability isn’t just happening “out there;” it’s a consideration every day right here on our campus. By using our own facilities and community as a miniature model of the world at large, we can learn things that will make this campus — and the world — better. iSEE’s Campus as a Living Lab program is designed to link campus sustainability targets to national and global sustainability, energy, and environmental challenges. Two times a year, iSEE calls for proposals to provide quick seed money for promising faculty-led teams that will engage with interdisciplinary sustainability issues on campus or in neighborhood communities in their proposal development. Specifically, iSEE wants to leverage this seed money to attract external funds for research relevant to achieve Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) objectives.


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 ReImagine Our Future Sustainability Competition highlights the global sustainability crisis as an opportunity for humanity to learn to flourish without compromising the natural systems upon which we depend. A few of the interrelated challenges presented through the global sustainability crisis include Global climate change, Persistent poverty, Food and water insecurity, Lack of quality education, Social inequities, and Loss of Biodiversity.


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:

A dedicated focus of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment's group research page focuses on climate solutions, and students have been involved on a number of project teams ranging from resilience-oriented projects to carbon capture.


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:

A recent student project evaluated the possibility of introducing a class to provide students with hands-on experience with the LEED rating system. The students would identify the potential of a building to achieve the LEED Existing Building Operations & Maintenance, and recommend actions necessary.


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:

A project based learning class in civil engineering provides students to examine and evaluate facility projects on campus. One recent project was "Powering Up E-14 - Solar". A project that evaluated the feasibility of installing a solar canopy above one of the largest parking lots on campus.


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:

Dining Services procures as much produce as the Sustainable Student Farm can produce. Student volunteers work at the farm planting, weeding and harvesting, gaining an enhanced appreciation of the benefits of local foods.


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:

Over the past few years, several students have worked with Grounds in the installation of native plants. They have done the hard work to establish a large size prairie near the President's house and several other plantings using native species. They are learning the benefits of native plants, ie reduced irrigation, weeding, and biodiversity. The Red Oak Rain Garden and South Arboretum offer internships that focus on grounds and landscaping work and rehabilitation.


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

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

A recent student honors project focused on the efficacy of a new crosswalk near the Business Instructional Facility. She collected surveys from pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and mass transit employees. He final report discusses convenience, safety and awareness.


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:

Last year, two different Recyclemania events were undertaken with the support of hundreds of student volunteers. Students learned what types of recyclables were accepted at our Waste Transfer Station, and engaged with fans at two very large sporting events to encourage recycling.


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 student team worked on a project entitled "Economic and Environmental Benefits of Implementing Low-Flow Toilets in UIUC Buildings".


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:

The Student Sustainability Committee is an excellent way for students to gain experience in coordination, planning, and governance. The student's must apply to the committee and participate in an interview before being selected to serve. The student's elect officers and appoint subcommittees. This committee coordinates an annual request for proposals, and student members prepare critical analyses of the proposals received. During their committee meetings, they follow Robert's Rules to run their meetings and vote on proposals.


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:

A team of performing students is currently working with the Student Sustainability Committee on a series of short plays surrounding the theme of "Environmental Justice is Social Justice." The interdisciplinary team will be creating vignettes based on research in a wide array of green initiatives and how they support - or fall short of - diversity and equity for the entire population.


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:

Act Green
SECS - fossil fuel divestment and sustainable investment


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 School of Labor and Employment Relations offers numerous research opportunities for students researching wellbeing in the workplace environment, including research with sustainable outcomes.


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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.