Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.17
Liaison Ryan Kmetz
Submission Date July 26, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00
"---" 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:

1) Residental Hall Organic Waste Diversion Pilot Program - UMBC's Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management, Residence Life, Dining Services, and Student Government collaborated to offer the first organic waste diversion program for the campus residence halls in Fall '21. Residential students can sign up to borrow a compost collection container to collect organic waste and then drop the organic waste off at the Dining Hall. The program will be continued in Fall '22 with an effort to expand participation.

2) Plastic Bags and Films Recycling - UMBC's Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management collaborated to offer a pilot program (Fall '19) to collect plastic bags and films at four locations on campus - in the first six months over 500 lbs was collected. The pilot program was so successful that UMBC institutionalized the practice and expanded to 35 collection points on campus. UMBC currently averages 250 lbs of plastic films/wraps collected per month.


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:

1) The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is located on the UMBC campus in the Technology Research Center and conducts research on metropolitan Baltimore as an ecological system. The program integrates biological, physical, and social sciences. As a part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research Network, BES seeks to understand how Baltimore’s ecosystems change over time. The ecological knowledge created by BES supports educational and community-based activities, and interactions with the Baltimore community.

2) The Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE) advances the understanding of the environmental, social and economic consequences of the transformation of the urban landscape through research, conferences and symposia, support of university teaching programs and assistance to K-12 education. CUERE fosters interdisciplinary approaches to environmental science, engineering and public policy.


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:

1) The Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) operates under a cooperative agreement between the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). JCET meets the common interest of UMBC and GSFC to develop new technology for environmental remote sensing. JCET includes tenured faculty, research faculty, research support staff, students and administrative support staff.
2) UMBC also is home to an open-source air quality monitor, via the purple air network. All the air quality data is publically available and can be downloaded and used in class/research.


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 good example project is Patapsco Hall addition which houses 190 students in single, double and triple rooming arrangements.
The addition features a green roof research platform with a focus on sustainable design and construction. Supporting ongoing research efforts by UMBC faculty and students, the project features a green roof and an identically-sized control area, each with dedicated drainage systems and rainwater quantity and quality measurement devices. UMBC researchers plan to use the data generated by the system to document annual stormwater retention by the green roof.
Stormwater retention totals and storm hydrographs are displayed in real-time in the building lobby and the monitoring facility is available for educational tours.


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:

Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator@bwtech (CETI) is designed for early-stage companies working with solar power, wind power,biofuels, electric grid, and energy management and storage. The technology incubator is located about a mile from the main UMBC campus. CETI has a joint venture with the Maryland Clean Energy Center to encourage statewide networking of clean energy entrepreneurs.


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:

1) Community Garden: The Garden student organization describes the mission of the garden as “Seeking to reimagine the role of higher education in addressing problems of the world through the creation and engagement of our food garden that enables creativity in: research, applied learning, campus-community partnerships, pedagogy, social equity, diversity, and food sovereignty." The UMBC community garden is managed by a student organization, who allocates plots to campus groups. The group also provides plot recipients with an orientation to learn how to grow in their section of the garden’s raised beds. The groups choose what to grow and do with the food they grow in their plot. The garden also provides a shared tool shed, compost pile, fun events, and community work days. https://sustainability.umbc.edu/explore/garden/

2) Permaculture Food Forest: The Food Forest on the UMBC campus seeks to create a long term source of food, medicine, fuel, education, and habitat for a range of different species. The food forest provides healthy food for students on campus and for the surrounding non-UMBC community. The project is focused on food security, building community resilience, and decreasing the community’s need for outside food and fertilizer. https://sustainability.umbc.edu/explore/food-forest/

3) Dining Hall Hydroponic Garden: hydroponic garden, which allows us to grow herbs and vegetables year-round with fewer resources than those required in traditional gardening. The system does not require soil, and produces relatively high yields because the plants don't have to work as hard to obtain nutrients. It is also sustainable—since water is always kept in the system, it is not lost as groundwater like it is in soil-based agriculture. This leads to a 90% more efficient use of water. Every fall and spring semester, we host informational events about the hydroponic system to raise awareness and give students the chance to get involved by planting their own seeds. Once they germinate, they are transplanted into the garden, and can be featured in our meals at True Grit’s and the Skylight Room after just a few weeks.
https://dineoncampus.com/UMBC/sustainability

4) Dining Hall Food Recovery Network: similar to animal-based agriculture landfills emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases. Food waste being a large portion of their contents signifies that it is a contributor to these emissions as well. Since the fall of 2013, we have been partnered with UMBC’s Food Recovery Network to reduce our waste by distributing leftovers to those in the community. So far, we have donated 6,798 lbs of food, which is the equivalent of 5,665 meals!
https://dineoncampus.com/UMBC/sustainability


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:

1) UMBC’s diverse landscape of lawns, plazas, gardens, forests, ponds, and streams requires regular and thoughtful maintenance. Grounds maintains 90+ stormwater landscape features and partners with various academic departments and student organizations to help accomplish many different sustainability related projects.

2)UMBC's Environmental Task Force is a student organization that hosts weekly campus clean-ups to remove litter and invasive weeds from woods and stream.


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:

1) UMBC hosts a University Business Internship which includes a component of procurement. All UMBC procurement follows Maryland’s State Finance & Procurement Article §14-410 defines environmentally preferable purchasing as the
procurement or acquisition of goods and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods or services that serve the same purpose.

2) UMBC Dining encourages responsible and sustainable practices in our supply chains. Our purchasing initiatives provide food choices that celebrate flavor, affirm cultural traditions and support local communities, and include local purchasing, fair-trade coffee, and sustainable seafood programs. UMBC Dining offers a student sustainability internship that is focused on engagement of environmental and/or social food issues.


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

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

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:

1) Race to zero waste: Grounds has partnered with Student Activities and student organizations to participate in the program every year since 2008.

2) UMBC's Office of Sustainability partner's with the campus' ad hoc Zero Waste group to investigate and support the possibility of an equitable and sustainable organic waste facility in Baltimore. The committee is working to advance organic waste engagement on campus and to work with Baltimore City community stakeholders to support their efforts for a community first composting facility in the city.


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:

1) UMBC recognizes the importance of a holistic approach to campus development and sustainability will reinforce the existing natural systems of the campus including our approach to the treatment of stormwater management. The approach is to protect, enhance, and create functional landscapes that demonstrate and celebrate the way water serves as a resource. These landscapes also provide important habitat, microclimate, and aesthetic benefits that will be consistent with their specific locations on campus. Through a combination of forest preservation, stream rehabilitation, landscape conversions, and progressive water management solutions, like the creation of wetlands, the campus moves closer to a level of ecological balance. Each redevelopment and new development of quadrangles, courtyards, plazas, and walkways will target opportunities to incorporate working landscapes that enhance ecology and water management. Proposed ecological transformations to improve campus stormwater management and open space include:

Extension of an existing stream bed into a new 10-acre wetland, enhancing stormwater treatment, habitat, and ecological function of the south of the campus within an existing low-lying stream buffer
Improvements to the Central Green to improve the integration of stormwater management into existing outdoor spaces to control erosion, improve drainage, and enhance functionality
Transformation of existing mowed grass areas, especially on steep slopes, into working native landscapes, to support pollinators and improve local water quality
Growth of forest conservation areas that will preserve existing wooded areas and protect our stream valleys

2) At UMBC, stormwater is well managed to control flooding, reduce erosion, and improve water quality. UMBC has installed over 90 best management practices (BMPs) across campus. BMPs are structural, vegetative, or managerial practices used to treat, prevent, or reduce water pollution. Some of the BMPs are highly visible, like the several green roofs on campus; whereas, other BMPs are designed invisibly to blend in like permeable pavement.

3) The US Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an office dedicated to collecting and interpreting water resource data and information from the MD, DE, and DC area in the UMBC Research Park. These data are used in research and hydrologic studies to describe the quantity, quality, and distribution of the area’s water resources. The collection, analysis, and interpretation of these data are done in partnership with other federal, state, and local agencies, universities, and research centers.


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:

1) UMBC's Climate Action Steering Committee (CASC) is the de facto sustainability committee on campus. It is made up of the following working groups: academics/engagement, climate resilience, energy, transportation, and waste. Each working group has representatives from faculty, staff, and students and makes recommendations to the CASC. The CASC is charged, by the president, to then make official recommendations to UMBC for advancing climate and sustainability efforts.

2) Student eco-ambassadors work with the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management, and various University offices to conduct Green Office Certifications, workshops, and audits.


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:

UMBC is proud to launch RETRIEVER ESSENTIALS: a new faculty, staff, and student partnership to tackle food insecurity in our university community.

Across the United States, a large number of college students are skipping meals to make ends meet, often despite working full- and part-time and carefully juggling their finances to pay for housing, tuition, and other expenses. Lacking a steady source of nutritious meals can affect students’ physical and mental health, grades, and ability to engage in life on campus, and stigma can worsen the problem, discouraging students from seeking help. Retriever Essentials is designed to tackle these challenges head-on.

Retriever Essentials is launching three ways for students to access healthy foods and other essential supplies, free of charge. Paired with these resources are opportunities for UMBC community members to offer support.

UMBC offers multiple avenues of assistance to help all of our students succeed. Retriever Essentials is a community partnership that offers:

FOOD ZONES
Students can now pick up groceries, toiletries, and other essentials at a number of private, but also very accessible, locations across campus. Just stop by, fill out a short, anonymous form regarding your needs, and pick up items to help you get through the week.
SAVE-A-SWIPE creates a pool of meals that become available to UMBC students who have been identified by trained staff as food insecure. If you are in need of meals, call Lauren at 410-455-2765 or email at retrieveressentials@umbc.edu to be assisted.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Retriever Essentials is partnering with local organizations to help refer students to access holistic supports off-campus and to meet their longer term needs. https://retrieveressentials.umbc.edu/


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:
---

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:

UMBC is committed to providing students with the resources they need to have a healthy, well-balanced, and successful UMBC experience. College isn’t just about test scores and accolades; it’s also about personal discovery and growth. To support students on their journeys, UMBC provides a range of resources for physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing.

1) Counseling Center: The Center provides free and confidential short-term individual and group counseling for personal, emotional, relationship, substance abuse, and vocational concerns. Psychiatric services are available for students engaged in counseling at the Center. In addition, the Center offers workshops on topics like healthy relationships, how to help a friend you are concerned about, stress management, time management, procrastination, test anxiety, motivation, and preparing for finals. https://about.umbc.edu/health-wellbeing/

2) Registered Dietitian : UMBC's dining vendor provides the community with free access to a registered dietitian to help our community make informed nutrition related decisions. https://dineoncampus.com/UMBC/meet-your-dietitian

2) Women's Center: The Women’s Center at UMBC advances gender equity from an intersectional feminist perspective through programming, support services, and advocacy for marginalized people. The Center has a community gathering space, offices, and a lactation space in the lower level of the Commons, next to the Yum Shoppe. Women’s Center staff provide resources and support in key areas, including sexual assault prevention and response, women’s leadership, and critical social justice. https://about.umbc.edu/health-wellbeing/


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

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

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.