Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.39
Liaison Shane Stennes
Submission Date Dec. 15, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 August Horner
Sustainability Student Asst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The University's "Share the Air" program promotes the health and well being of all campus members, while keeping the air on campus cleaner. This program made the University smoke and tobacco free, which improves the quality of air and creates a more inclusive environment.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Rapson Rain Garden is a living laboratory where a class called, Environmental Communication. Rapson is a building on campus and the rain garden allowed improvement to water conservation and soil management of the building itself.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

West bank community garden is a living lab project in partnership with the student group Students For Sustainability and West Bank Neighborhood Association. The students harvest the garden and share the crop with the West Bank neighborhood and also offer harvest to any other interested individuals through a fair share model.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The It All Adds Up program at the University promotes efficiency and decreasing energy use across campus. By placing signs around the majority of University light switches that read "Hit the lights", a simple message can have a large impact. Simply being reminded that a small action can have great impact, students and faculty are improving energy efficiency.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The Bee Box is located in the Department of Hoticulture’s Display and Trial Garden at the corner of Gortner and Larpenteur. This project focuses on planting and establishing native flowering forbes and grasses to enhance habitat for pollinators.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The ReUSE center at the U of MN allows individuals to donate, exchange and purchase previously used items. This program has relieved 250 buildings of unwanted materials, fixtures and supplies, redistributes over $200,000 of furniture and equipment each year, opens to the public and resells items each Thursday, recycles unwanted steel, aluminum, wood, cardboard & paper and reduces campus construction waste that would otherwise end up at the landfill.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

To increase the use of public transportation, the University provides free and highly discounted passes for students and faculty to use the public transportation system. Students receive a free pass to use the light rail within campus bounds, and can also receive a discounted pass to use the public transit system for only $100 a semester. Faculty at the University can receive a Metro Pass, which enables them to use the entirety of the public transit system for a great discount. This program provides students and faculty the option to use public transportation while also saving money and reducing carbon emissions.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The University has multiple programs that handle waste in a sustainable way. We offer a program where departments can recycle old computers, printers, televisions, calculators, laboratory equipment, video monitors, cell phones, and other electronics in a safe and more sustainable way. We also collect organics and compost a large amount of our food waste. The University Organics Collection and Composting Program is thriving and is striving to achieve a goal of composting 1,500 tons of organics annually. Wastes such as food scraps, napkins, paper, cardboard materials, biodegradable packaging, animal bedding, and animal manures are collected from University buildings and brought to off-site commercial composting facilities. In addition to off-site composting, University Landcare collects and composts leaves and other organic matter collected from maintaining the campus grounds. Landcare’s compost is used around campus as mulch in annual and perennial beds to control the weed-seed germination, conserve water, and reduce the compaction effects of heavy rains and sprinkler irrigation.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Located in different areas of the St. Paul campus, this project focuses on the implementation of low-input turf grasses in specific areas of the St. Paul campus, in an effort to reduce the water required to maintain an aesthetically pleasing and functional campus landscape.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The University promotes sustainability through their social media, blogs and websites. These methods are coordinated efforts by the University to include all departments and to provide information which is applicable to all. The University has also created a Sustainability Report, in which the future goals and current performance of the campus in regards to sustainability are measured and planned.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
---

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The ZAP bike program here at the University logs and tracks bike commuters, and then rewards those individuals with prizes and wellness rewards. A small device is attached to the front wheel of the bike, and markers placed around the city then "zap" you as you bike past it, recording your commute for the day.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The University is utilizing multiple methods to obtain more sustainable investment. The first method is by including a sustainable fee within the student fees. The "Transportation fee", which applies to the majority of students, is designated specifically for acquiring the low cost bus and light rail passes to distribute to students and faculty. This fee allows the campus members to utilize more sustainable transportation. The University is also investing in more efficient construction. The TCF Bank Stadium, financed by the University, has achieved a LEED Silver accreditation. The stadium was designed to achieve the following: A storm water management system that allows rain water to be captured into a comprehensive underground filtering system outside the stadium, where it is harvested, filtered and drained into the Mississippi River.
Steel for the stadium is 90 percent recycled and was fabricated primarily in Minneapolis.
A reflective roof to reduce heat island effect.
Paint, carpet, sealants and adhesives that are low in volatile organic compounds, which can aggravate health problems.
98 percent of the construction waste from the site was recycled.
A 50 percent reduction in the use of potable water for landscape irrigation.
A 30 percent reduction in indoor potable water use.
The plumbing fixtures are the most efficient the University could get under the Minnesota building code.
Energy-efficient lighting and elevators.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Located on St. Paul on the west side of Skok Hall, this native plant butterfly and pollinator garden serves as a space for members of the university and surrounding community to learn about pollinators, butterflies, and pollinator gardens and enjoy nature.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
---

The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:

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.