Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.59
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Todd Lookingbill
Faculty Advisor
Geography/Environmental Studies
"---" 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 No
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Other Yes

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:

A student in ENVR conducted an independent study to estimate the amount of carbon stored in campus trees. Students in the Earth Lodge Living and Learning community compared this estimate with the University's annual CO2 emissions. The comparison was documented on a sign placed along the lake trail.


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:

Students in two ART and ENVR classes participated in a collaborative, interdisciplinary creative project to transform a parking lot on campus into a yearlong artwork to raise awareness about the campus built environment.


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:

Students in GEOG 210 designed a food waste education campaign, created a video on trayless dining, and educated students on the environmental benefits of going trayless at the Heilman Dining Commons.

Professor Elizabeth Ransom is utilizing Dining purchasing data to analyze the sustainability of food purchases using the Real Food criteria. Upon completion, the students offer an inventory of alternative products and practices to Dining Services that are more local/community-based, humane, fair, ecologically sound.


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:

For the past six years, Associate Professor Mary Finley-Brook has managed students in the University Renewable Energy Project. The students have utilized campus assets in their research for projects related to campus energy usage, on-site solar analysis, and the role of the campus in a clean energy transition. Students in Assistant Professor Jennifer Olson's ENVR 201 course analyzed building energy usage data for comparisons on total energy use between older and newer buildings. Their final product was a list of energy efficiency strategies for both types of buildings.


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:

Prof Brinkerhoff and Boone use tree mapping as an exercise in their Intro Biology classes. Prof Lookingbill and Klinker supervised ongoing independent study students to develop an online map of campus trees. They have completed a book chapter describing the process that will appear next year. Prof Wu maps invasive species on campus as part of her First Year Seminar course. Prof Olson and Smallwood are monitoring the turtle populationon campus as part of their Intro to Ecology and Behavioral Ecology classes. Prof Treonis samples and studies nematodes and soil conditions in her Microbial Ecology class. Prof Hayden curates the University's herbarium and collects samples from around campus for use in that collection. He also uses the campus trees for teaching as part of his Systematic Botany class.


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:

N/A


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:

Students in the Earth Lodge Living and Learning Community assisted the Office of Sustainability in gathering data and drafting an application to the League of American Bicyclists for the campus to be recognized as a bike-friendly campus. Two ENVR majors studied the issue further as part of their senior capstone project and developed recommendations that the University should take to achieve bike-friendly status.


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:

Professor Finley-Brook's GEOG 210 worked with the Office for Sustainability on waste diversion efforts. The class read Garbology and discussed key findings. Following a presentation from the Director of Sustainability, the class performed a waste audit alongside Custodial Services in the fall of 2015. The class then researched 6 topics related to waste diversion and presented their solutions at the end of the semester. Their work was captured in a blog and proposed solutions will be presented to the new Director of Custodial and Environmental Services for potential implementation.


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:

Students in Prof Reiner, Olson, Kingsley, Boone, and Lookingbill's classes use Westhampton Lake to demonstrate principles of water quality sampling. Samples are collected to document nitrate and phosphate in the lake and within Little Westham Creek. Students analyze the data spatially and temporally to understand the patterns and causes of nutrient pollution in an urban watershed.


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:

N/A


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:

The Richmond Families Initiative (RFI) addresses community-identified needs of Richmond-area children and families through partnerships between the University of Richmond and community organizations. An issue-based program focused on children and families, RFI connects UR and community resources in order to build our region’s capacity to support families and children. UR students who are interested in understanding the needs of vulnerable children and families volunteer with organizations to address those needs are a through RFI.


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:

Summer interns in the Spatial Analysis Lab mapped campus running trails and the Gambles Mill Trail leading from campus down to the river, providing materials for resources connecting the campus community with the local environment


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:

As an ENVR senior capstone project, a student created a Divestment Club to initiate a conversation about the University's portfolio of investments.


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:

Professors Lookingbill and Hayden provide lake and vegetation tours to public groups a few times each year. Five signs describing the local watershed, fauna, flora, and the history of the lake environment were created by students and are permanently installed around the lake trail.


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 Bonner Center for Civic Engagement offers a multitude of resources to encourage Community-Based Learning (CBL). CBL courses fully integrate classroom and community elements. Faculty design projects to respond to community-identified needs, and the community partners often become co-educators. Students in CBL classes also act as co-educators rather than passive recipients, engaging in the community, reflecting on experiences, and adding their insights to the educational content of the course.


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.