Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.47
Liaison Gioia Thompson
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Gioia Thompson
Director
UVM Office of Sustainability
"---" 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?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
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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 Public Engagement?:
Yes

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

Environmental Problem-solving (NR 206) is a capstone course for every senior in the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources. Students culminate their studies by working closely with community partners on semester-long projects, ranging from infrastructure design and building, curriculum design, population studies, and dozens more.


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:

Greening of Aiken class : see below under Buildings


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:

Greening of Aiken class:
http://www.uvm.edu/rsenr/?Page=news&storyID=22778&category=rsenr

Spring 2019 marked the 18th year of the Rubenstein School Greening of Aiken Intern class. The class, taught by Gary Hawley,focuses on the School’s buildings.
Student interns completed 4 projects that focused on increasing the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of the Aiken Center and other Rubenstein School buildings and helped to build the vision for the Rubenstein School Zero Energy Initiative for 2016. The groups looked at retrocommissioning, solar gain and energy audit, Scope 3 emissions, and the green roof and stormwater.


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:

Greening of Aiken class: see previous answer under "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:

Catamount Educational Farm (http://www.uvm.edu/~hortfarm/?Page=catamountfarm.html)

UVM's Catamount Educational Farm models sustainable farming practices through a working vegetable and fruit farm that provides educational and research opportunities for the UVM community. Students are integral in carrying out all activities of the farm, and this experiential learning environment provides them with real and diverse sustainable farm management skills. The farm also contributes to the local food system of the university by marketing the student-grown produce back to the UVM community through a campus farm stand, CSA shares, and wholesale accounts with UVM Dining.


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:

Hurley Lab Bioretention Lab Project
The Bioretention Laboratory conducts ongoing research studying the use of bioretention systems to absorb and treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. Built in 2012 near a major visitor parking lot on the UVM Campus, this project serves as a public demonstration of bioretention “rain gardens” and is an example of environmental science research in action. Our research investigates the mechanisms influencing sediment and nutrient retention and greenhouse gas emissions within eight stormwater bioretention “cells.”

We are studying the capacity of these bioretention units to capture and treat stormwater runoff from eight different “mini-watersheds” in the adjacent roadway. The water quality pollutants being evaluated are: total suspended solids (TSS), phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N).

We are also comparing performance of the bioretention cells under both existing precipitation patterns and simulated increases in runoff and precipitation. The precipitation simulations are based on projected climate change-driven alterations in rainfall intensity (estimated for the region circa the year 2050).

https://www.uvm.edu/cals/pss/hurley-lab-bioretention-project


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:

Environmental Studies senior Daniella Carrese interned with the with the Office of Sustainability in 2019 to research options for the University to purchase air travel offsets. Daniella met with staff in Purchasing, Study Abroad and other departments, and examined what air travel offsets are and how they work; what other institutions have done regarding air travel offsets; how air travel is now tracked and approved, and what mechanisms might be possible for use at UVM, both university-wide and at the departmental or individual level. The results will inform the next round of climate action planning.


IIs 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:

The Sustainable Transportation intern works with Transportation and Parking Services to coordinate outreach and education efforts as well as assist in data collection related to sustainable transportation options on campus. Those options include bikes, carshare, bikeshare, local buses, and walking. Interns are educated on all sustainable transportation programs offered by the University so they can support the department’s outreach and education for these programs, as well as work on tasks and projects that have a measurable impact on University’s sustainable transportation priorities. This role is responsible for creating and collecting field data, maintaining sustainable transportation facilities, attending relevant meetings, and organizing office-sponsored events. In 2019, Sustainable Transportation Intern Eliana Fox graduated from UVM and then was hired as a temp while the Sustainable Transportation Coordinator is on maternity leave. A new intern will be hired in spring 2020.


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:

In 2019-2020 Environmental Studies senior Isabel Lisle is working on an undergraduate thesis project with the UVM offices of Sustainability and of Recycling and Zero Waste to develop effective strategies for addressing zero waste management goals at the University. Her project involves identifying committed campus stakeholders and learning about their specific needs in relation to creating a Zero Waste campus through semi-structured qualitative interviews with representatives from sixteen different campus divisions. The qualitative data from the interviews will be used to create guidelines for a waste mitigation plan based on the missions of different campus stakeholders as coordinated with the Office of Sustainability.


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:

https://www.uvm.edu/cals/pss/hurley-lab-bioretention-project--see “Grounds”

Hurley Lab Bioretention Project

The Bioretention Laboratory conducts ongoing research studying the use of bioretention systems to absorb and treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces for the water quality.

Built in 2012 near a major visitor parking lot on the UVM Campus, this project serves as a public demonstration of bioretention “rain gardens” and is an example of environmental science research in action. Our research investigates the mechanisms influencing sediment and nutrient retention and greenhouse gas emissions within eight stormwater bioretention “cells.”


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:

As a contribution to the climate action planning process at UVM, Environmental Studies senior Isabel Coppola conducted an Honors research project in summer 2019 titled “Climate Action at UVM: Researching Internal Carbon Pricing (ICP) as a Policy Mechanism to Reduce Carbon Emissions.” Her work was financially supported by the UVM Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research and the Clean Energy Fund Summer Fellowship.


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

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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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In Fall 2018 and 2019 the Office of Sustainability has been the service learning partner for CDAE 250, a research methods course taught by Dr. David Conner. The students conducted an assessment of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors about campus sustainability generally at UVM in 2018, and in 2019 they are focusing their assessment on climate change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. The results help the Office of Sustainability and others to shape educational and policy initiatives at UVM.

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