Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.90
Liaison Sarah Stoeckl
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Taylor McHolm
Prog. Dir Student Sustainbility CTR
Student Life
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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 Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
Students from the Student Sustainability Network organized students from around campus to engage the campus around the university's climate action plan. Students met with faculty and staff, creating a coalition of voices that sought stronger commitments to climate action. This galvanized the campus community and formed a coalition of student, staff and faculty members to continue to champion climate action. Throughout the process, students were formally mentored and drew on academic courses regarding social movements and the environment. This work will also become part of an undergraduate student's honors thesis.

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:
Students working on the Food Security Task Force and through the Food Studies minor have worked with outside organizations to arrange listening circles that will inform legislative and policy agendas. Students have learned how to organize information and discuss that information with policy makers at the local and state level. This has resulted in significant changes in SNAP eligibility in Oregon and improved relationships between students and local DHS workers.

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 PhD candidate in Economics conducted a project evaluating the carbon emissions associated with travel as well as our campus community's "willingness to pay" for carbon reductions. The research was supported in part by the Office of Sustainability, and was undertaken to inform the University's climate action goals.

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:
The Energy Studies in Building Laboratory consulting work on the payback for efficiency projects for Campus Operations. ESBL is working with Sustainability Ambassadors to conduct building and energy audits around campus to identify energy-reduction potentials through behavioral change. A positive outcome of this work is that the university is able to strategically invest limited resources. These experiences give students hands-on experience applying academic learning to real-world situations, under the guidance of professional researchers and sustainability staff.

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:
Students in the College of Architecture and Design use campus buildings such as the Erb Memorial Union to test the principles and efficiencies of passive solar design. Students develop models, implement strategies and assess existing designs to provide feedback and suggest design improvements for future buildings.

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:
A team of undergraduate students in the Environmental Leaders ARC seminar worked with campus Dining Services to research the feasibility of a waste digester to handle composting on campus and the feasibility of replacing non-compostable "compostable" plastic-ware with reusable dining-ware in campus dining halls. They presented their results at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium and Dining Services has since switched to a reusable dining-ware program.

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:
Students enrolled in LA196 Trees Across Oregon use the campus arboretum for their lab sections. A positive outcome is that students are able to identify common trees native to Oregon’s eight different forest zones.

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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Is 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:
In the Planning, Public Policy, and Management department, faculty teach classes in sustainable transportation planning and innovations that use campus and Eugene as examples or test cases.

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 in the Environmental Leaders ARC learned about campus recycling and waste reduction efforts. One team built on that knowledge through a team project that screened a documentary on the evils of "fast fashion" in tandem with a clothing swap. They also created educational materials to distribute throughout campus. Another group chose to educate the student population about plastics waste in the ocean, researching its effects on marine life. Both these groups presented their research and action work at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Water:
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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 Coordination & Planning?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning:
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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 Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
The Student Sustainability Center uses campus as a laboratory for demonstrating possibilities in food access, basic needs access and equity and inclusion. The SSC operates food security programs that glean food from leftover campus catering events and gets that food to students who identify as food insecure. The SSC also operates a Free Store and a Professional Clothing drive, which encourages faculty and staff to donate professional clothing for students entering the workforce. Finally, the SSC's Cultural Sustainability Coordinator is creating a guide to Eugene and Springfield that identifies minority-owned places and spaces where students can feel welcome and included.

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:
Students, staff and faculty have met in various reading and support groups around the concept of Climate Anxiety. Sustainability Open Houses allow students to interface with staff and faculty who are doing sustainability work and research on campus.

Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about 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.