Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 45.27
Liaison Meghna Tare
Submission Date July 12, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Texas at Arlington
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Meghna Tare
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 No
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
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:

The Emissions Inventory was developed as a class assignment and project

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:

The Office of Facilities Management and Building Operations hires student interns to work on various on going projects

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:

The student volunteer of the MavsgoGreen group host "weigh the Waste" event in the student cafeteria to educate about food wastage. The food leftover in the plates by the students is weighted to have the final number.
UTA Dining Services in partner with the student organization MavsGoGreen and the Office of Sustainability conducted an event to weigh the food wasted in connection café at the University Center on Monday, the November 17th, 2014. Our 9 volunteers weighed 126 lbs of food waste in 3 hours from 11 am to 2 pm.

According to the Washington Post article dated September 23, 2014, Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass. In 2012, Americans wasted approximately around 35 million tons of food. This event was conducted to raise awareness among students on the amount of food wasted on campus. It was also organized to increase sustainability efforts at the student level and motivate the future generations to take up responsibility.

After looking at the amount of food wasted, some of the students voluntarily vowed that they will not waste food but serve the required quantity. The students who volunteered were surprised at the quantity of water, drinks, and food wasted in such a short amount of time. It was an eye opening experience to both the volunteers and students. This is the kind of difference that we intent to create among the UTA community.


FB Link to Pics from the event: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10153495048965931&type=1

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:

Nuclear Energy and Engineering High School Workshop
In its 50th anniversary year, the University of Texas at Arlington College of Engineering started a new program to offer a minor in Nuclear Engineering. In order to promote this program and the other UTA engineering majors, the College will offer a one-day high school workshop on Nuclear Energy and Engineering.

Intended for incoming high school juniors, seniors and students just graduated, this workshop will be offered Saturday, August 15, 2015. The workshop will feature talks about nuclear energy and the field of nuclear engineering, a laboratory visit, and hands-on experiments to measure radioactivity in common materials. Students will also learn about the electrical engineering and mechanical engineering majors at UT Arlington and how the nuclear minor fits with these programs.

Each workshop is limited to 20 participants and the students will receive lunch and a T-shirt. For more information and to register for the Nuclear Energy and Engineering camp, contact Dr. Lynn Peterson, engineeringoutreach@uta.edu.

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 Green at College Park at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) received one of the first three certifications issued worldwide by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) in February of 2012. This new certification system is the landscape corollary, with or without buildings, to the USGBC LEED ratings. The campus sustainability committee authorized David Hopman to hire a faculty research associate for a two year term. Sonal Parmar, a recent graduate from the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at UTA, was hired to work with Professor Hopman to research the prerequisites and credits and to complete the rigorous documentation required. Other assistance was provided by landscape architects and engineers from Schrickel Rollins, Inc., the designers and engineers of the project. Additional help for specific technical measurements was also obtained from other professors at UTA in the Biology and Engineering departments.
Structure of the SITES Prerequisites and Credits:
1. Site Selection
2. Pre- Design Assessment and Planning
3. Site Design- Water
4. Site Design- Soil and Vegetation
5. Site Design- Materials and Selection
6. Site Design- Human Health and Well- Being
7. Construction
8. Operations and Maintenance
9. Monitoring and Innovation

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 Maverick Office Green Team program is a coordinated, collaborative effort to meet higher environmental standards for office practices and purchasing. This program takes a coordinated, long-term and campus-wide approach, providing resources, helpful guidelines and on-going consultation as needed. It also provides recognition to outstanding Maverick Green Offices.The program includes extended initiatives in reducing, recycling and reusing, energy conservation, purchasing, and more.

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:


While we cannot directly control commuter choices, we do have the means to lower many barriers that prevent commuters from choosing alternative transportation.

Our Campus Master Plan calls for campus transformations that improve parking and traffic challenges while “greening” the campus. As part of planning, the University conducted a transportation assessment that considered traffic circulation and access, parking, regional transportation, and pedestrian facilities. The findings informed the “gray to green” objective of the plan, which aims to transform surface parking lots to open spaces and improves pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the campus.

New multi-story parking structures such as the College Park parking garage built in 2011 saves parking space while reducing vehicle traffic on campus.

The College Park District development is a catalyst for the revitalization of the adjacent downtown Arlington district, creating a hub that attracts more students and faculty to live on and near campus than ever before.

The University is stakeholder and participant of the City of Arlington’s 10-year Hike and Bike System Master Plan, a long-term blueprint for increasing bicycle and walking trails within the city and across campus boundaries.


ISGI offers a car-sharing program as part of its commitment to creating a more sustainable campus for students, faculty and staff. Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, is open to those over 18 years of age and who have been licensed for at least one year (domestic and international). Students, faculty or staff may join the membership program for $25, then pay $7.50 per hour or $69 a day to reserve one of four vehicles parked on campus.

The cost includes gas, insurance, 24-hour roadside assistance, wireless technology, and other features. Visit www.zipcar.com/uta for more information


Idling engines create exhaust that impacts air quality and increases health risks to faculty, students, staff, drivers, operators, and the community at large. The City of Arlington prohibits idling for more than five minutes from April through October. The University’s Anti-idling policy, which is based on the City’s codes, applies year-round to all UT Arlington fleet vehicles and visiting vehicles over 14,000 pounds. The campus police fine all violators.

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:

A large campus (420 acres) with growing population of over 38,000 students with diverse activities requires enough bins in the right places to capture as much recyclable material as possible. We maintain 22 recycling locations across the campus. We have also removed individual wastebaskets from employee office spaces and replaced them with departmental waste baskets in order to discourage waste and increase recycling.

ISGI collaborates with academic and administrative departments to find ways to increase recycling. The recycling program, supported by the Office of Facilities Management, accommodates paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, printer cartridges, ink jet cartridges, scrap metal, oil, oil filters, photo fixer, fluorescent lamps, ballasts, batteries, alkaline batteries, and technotrash (CDs, DVDs, audio tapes, video tapes, and diskettes). The University adopted a Recycling Policy in 2011 to provide campus-wide recycling guidelines. Our recycling program has received several awards from the National Wildlife Federation and the Tarrant County Corporate Recycling Council.

There are boxes on campus where items can be dropped off. Two are located in the University Center, while the others are in the Central Library, Maverick Activities Center, Davis Hall and Nedderman Hall


The use of electronic products has grown substantially in recent years, changing the ways in which we communicate, access information and entertain ourselves. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life. Obsolete electronic devices are rapidly filling the landfills of the globe. In the US alone, more than 100 million computers are thrown away with less than 20% being recycled properly. The EPA estimates as much as 60 million metric tons enter landfills every year. Most electronics that are improperly thrown away contain some form of harmful materials such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury
and lead. These materials might be trace elements, but when added up in volume, the threat to the environment is significant. Besides adding harmful elements to the environment, improper disposal of e-waste is a recycling opportunity lost.

We offer an E waste recycling program to the faculty, staff and students at UT Arlington to recycle the following items

Electronic equipment
Computer Equipment (Monitors, CRT’s, PC’s laptops, etc.)
Test equipment
Cell phones (batteries removed)
Pagers (batteries removed)
Palm pilots (PDA’d) (batteries removed)
Digital cameras (batteries removed)
Radios (batteries removed)
Telecommunications equipment
Sound and lighting equipment, including amplifiers, speakers, dimmers, control boards and interfaces and standard cabling related to
Consumer home electronics (Stereo’s DVDNHS players, tuners, TV’s, etc.}
Miscellaneous electronic equipment
Alkaline batteries, lead acid batteries, NiM batteries and lithium batteries
Printer I toner cartridges
All electronic peripherals- Printers, Hard Drives (personal, not UT Arlington property), Floppy’s CD Rom’s DVD Drives, Printed Circuit Boards, Power Supplies, Zip Drivers, Jazz Drives, Smart cards, cable, wiring, IC’s – Integrated Circuits, Memory, Resistors, Capacitors

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:


fountain water conservationThe University uses water for building operations and maintenance, research and development activities, landscaping and irrigation, dining, sanitation, and domestic use. Since 2006, we have implemented the following water-efficiency improvements:

Installation of low-flow showerheads in 1,500 showers in the summer of 2011 to save one gallon of water per minute of use. Estimated savings are 27 million gallons of water annually.
Retrofit of an average of five restrooms per year by installing low-flow toilets and sinks.
Upgrade of heating and cooling system steam traps, which capture steam condensate and recirculate the collected water back through the system for reuse. Condensate returned to the boilers was increased from 60- 85%, saving millions of gallons annually.
Installation of water-to-water heat exchanges in research lab activities that use domestic cold water.
Installation of a weather-based, radio-transmit master control system that is recognized by the U.S. EPA WaterSense program for reducing irrigation water by projected 20 percent to 40 percent.
Installation of a 28,000-gallon capacity rainwater collection system at the Engineering Research Building, which can hold up to one inch of rainfall from the building’s catchment area and capture condensate water from the air conditioning system during summer months. Captured water is stored for single reuse in landscape irrigation.
Installation of a water collection system at the Community Gardens site

The University’s 2007 Campus Master Plan places high value on open, natural campus spaces that celebrate regional ecology and provide outdoor walkways and gathering places for the campus community. We incorporate water-wise habitat designs for new campus development The Engineering Research Building and The Green at College Park exemplify the master plan’s objectives for natural spaces and serve as role models for future campus construction activities. We are continuously replacing high-water, high maintenance plant selections with native and xeric-adapted plants and replacing traditional turf with reduced water use and “low mow” lawn turf.


The University addresses storm water impacts by adopting Storm Water Management Plan, which includes best management practices for protecting water from storm-water discharges, illegal dumping, and spills.

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:

UT Arlington embraces its setting in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and will maximize its geographic, socioeconomic, cultural, and contextual presence as an engaged community partner. We will build mutually beneficial relationships with corporations and organizations and capitalize on national and international opportunities.

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 University of Texas at Arlington embraces diversity among its students, staff, faculty and administration. Diversity is essential in the achievement of the University’s academic mission. Diversity means sustaining an intellectual, ethical, cultural and sociological environment that embraces and fosters academic freedom without prejudice, intimidation, intolerance, or discrimination. UT Arlington promotes an environment that accepts and appreciates every individual’s uniqueness and characteristics regardless of race, gender, gender identity, language, age, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation, spirituality, socioeconomic status, or national origin.

The University recognizes the value of diversity in preparing students for employment upon graduation. Students are encouraged to be receptive to unique and differing points of view. Thereby, the University recognizes the value of diversity in its curriculum.

There is commitment to attracting and retaining a critical mass of diverse faculty and staff. This provides an environment that ensures unique work and educational experiences that occurs with interactions of people with diverse backgrounds, different perspectives, life experiences, beliefs and ideology. The University leadership acknowledges the importance of diversity on an academic campus and therefore supports the following:
an annual lecture series on diversity
identification and support of minority student, faculty and staff organizations
recommends a course that emphasizes the value/importance of diversity for every student

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 University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Health Resources, one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States, are collaborating to offer undergraduates pursuing medical careers a unique opportunity to experience a physician’s work first-hand.

The Pre-Medical Student Preceptorship Program began as a pilot project in spring 2015 and formally launches this fall, pairing high-achieving students selected through a highly competitive process with physician-mentors in a hospital setting. Selected students participate in a six-week, for-credit course during the semester, shadowing physicians at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital in the operating room and in patient settings
- See more at: https://www.uta.edu/news/releases/2015/08/UTA-THR-Pre-Med-Preceptorship-release.php#sthash.fRtwgJqj.dpuf

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:

An Investment Career Awareness Program that exposes all university students to various investment vehicles.

Students of all majors and classifications form teams of three and manage a hypothetical $100,000 for a fiscal quarter (a semester). During the three months period students will obtain guidance from professionals from various corporations (Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan) during tri-weekly meetings. Teams will also have the opportunity to share insight with other competing teams and form connections with financial experts.

The top five teams that make the most money from their investment strategy will give presentations before professionals for the opportunity to manage a real $75,000 portfolio. While managing this portfolio they will be compensated in the same way of real Financial Advisors for the second semester.

The ICAP program was founded in 2011. The inception of the program came from Troy's aspiration of providing exposure of various investment vehicles to university students of diverse backgrounds and majors. The University of Texas at Arlington will become the first Public University to implement ICAP as the ICAP program strives to become a nationally recognized program.

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:

At UT Arlington, engaging with people and organizations
through dialogue, partnerships, and collaborations is at the
heart of all we do. Our key stakeholder groups are those that
have the greatest likelihood of impacting, or being impacted by,
the University’s mission and operations: from the students who
choose UT Arlington to meet their educational and career goals
to the individuals and organizations that fund and support our
mission; from the businesses on which we rely for goods and
services to those who hire our graduates or utilize our services.
Certainly, we also include our neighbors, with whom we share
the resources of North Texas.
We engage with stakeholder groups on campus and
off, through a variety of ways. Methods of engagement on
campus range from formal to informal. Representative
governance bodies, discussed on page 8, bring the voices of
key constituencies into University decision making. Open
communication through town-hall meetings and other forums
encourages dialogue on key topics of concern to a range of
stakeholders. Surveys and online submission forms including
course evaluations and student satisfaction surveys that measure
our effectiveness in meeting student needs, provide a systematic
method to collect and analyze stakeholder feedback and identify
areas for improvement. Social media channels, such as Facebook,
Twitter, and YouTube, provide additional ways to connect.

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:

Our involvement and engagement off campus is critical to our
success. We recognize that bringing together the resources
of UT Arlington, area businesses, government, associations
and foundations, and community organizations can produce
remarkable results as we work to solve the complex issues
we share. As such, we foster innovative partnerships and
collaborations in areas such as education, research, and
economic development. We meet regularly with area businesses
to assess their needs and explore ways to work together to
address regional as well as global challenges. Key partners in
working on sustainability issues include the City of Arlington,
North Central Texas Council of Governments, Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality, Arlington Chamber of
Commerce, and Air North Texas. UT Arlington is also a partner
in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green
Power and WasteWise programs.

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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.