Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.44
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date Jan. 29, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Matt Greeno
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Campus Planning & 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 No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment Yes
Public Engagement No
Other No

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:

In 2012, Assistant Professor Dr. Basma Majerbi, as the Operations chair of the Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation, hired a work-study student to research the feasibility of Gustavson establishing a Green Fund to purchase carbon offsets for faculty, staff and student Scope Three travel emissions.


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:

A Psychology PhD student working under Dr. Robert Gifford designed, conducted, and published a study on the use of visual prompts in bathrooms at UVic which showed that when a sticker was placed in the bathroom that requested people turn off the lights when the room was empty the odds that the light would be turned off was significantly higher.


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:

In 2011 a student examined the an activist event on campus relative to a part of UVic lawn being dug up to create a garden space. The event was the source of significant conflict between the gardeners and the University and an article called "Fertilizing Problems" documents that conflict in an academic paper :http://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/peninsula/article/view/5440/1927


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:

A engineering masters student working under Dr. Curran Crowford used his thesis work to provide a presentation a biomass heating option to member of the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability, and Facilities Management.


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:

In one cross listed sustainability focused course, Ecological Restoration (ES 341/ER 311), one of the class projects requires student to construct an ecological restoration plan for areas on campus, which involves the consultation with staff and administrators. This major course project that has both an individual component and a group component. Each person in the class focuses on one of the following five major components of a restoration design (there is some flexibility in defining these categories to respond to individual project needs):
• Site description and problem identification
• Develop restoration goals (using reference conditions/sites, consultation and so on)
• Formulate a plan for achieving restoration goals (activities, interventions, etc.)
• Budget and timeline
• Monitoring plan
Teams of students select the restoration project, meet regularly to compare notes and exchange ideas, and ultimately assemble the individual components into a coherent design document, which could be accessed upon request by administrators.


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 course Marketing Principles and Management, Com351 focused on pricing in UVic food services and included a class discussion case and an analysis of UVic's buying local and buying fair trade policies impact on pricing.


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:

UVic's Engineering Faculty participates in EcoCAR2 challenge, which is a three-year collegiate advanced vehicle technology engineering competition established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), and is being managed by Argonne National Laboratory. The competition challenges 16 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles by minimizing the vehicle’s fuel consumption and reducing its emissions while retaining the vehicle’s performance, safety and consumer appeal. Students use a real-world engineering process to design and integrate their advanced technology solutions into a GM-donated vehicle.

UVic students working on this project are part of the EcoCAR team (http://ecocar.uvic.ca/) and work on designing and building advanced propulsion solutions that are based on vehicle categories from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) regulations. They explore a variety of cutting-edge clean vehicle solutions, including full-function electric, range-extended electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell technologies. In addition, students will incorporate lightweight materials into the vehicles, improve aerodynamics and utilize alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen.
Teams are following a real-world approach modeled after GM’s global vehicle development process (GVDP), giving students valuable experience in real-world engineering practices, resource allocation and meeting deliverables. While previous student engineering competitions focused primarily on hardware modifications, EcoCAR includes a unique focus on modeling and simulation, as well as subsystem development and testing.
During the three-year program, General Motors will provide vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The U.S. Department of Energy and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, will provide competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support. Through sponsoring such advanced vehicle engineering competitions, GM and the U.S. Department of Energy are helping to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers.


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:

One student in ES 480: Cultural Politics of Climate Change course, created a coffee cup structure as part of here final project that illustrates the tensions of the "composting is good" discourse in public that is driving a kind of frenzy of composting and compostable-consumer products without a critical attention to the waste streams that are part of composting (and pick-up) as a new widely-accepted system. The student was able to integrate her structure into a University waste reduction campaign called "Love a Mug" which aimed to reduce the use of paper cups by discouraging their use while promoting the use of reusable mugs.


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:

A student working in the Studies in Policy and Practice program (MA) completed a thesis entitled "Taking on Water" that broke down the discourse of the debate occurring on Campus in 2012 regarding the student push to ban bottled water on campus, which was eventually undertaken in the Student Union Building food outlets and vending machines.


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:

A group of students has undertaken a major campus planning initiative called UVision. The end goal of this project is to constructing a report in anticipation of a campus planning exercise in 2014 regarding their ideas about how UVic might develop its campus space over the next 10 years.


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:
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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:
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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:

One student campaign involved increasing responsible investing with UVic moneys, and engaged the administration's Assistant Treasurer in an educational event regarding the current state of UVic investment policy and the potential limitation to using pension funds in BC for the purpose of investing in, for example, wind energy as opposed to petro-fuels.


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:
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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:
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The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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This section articulates several initiatives in which the campus has been used for applied research purposes. These are in the areas of air and climate, buildings, energy, grounds, water, and waste. There are several initiatives that cannot be claimed as they have no known specific academic ties in which university students, or the university itself, have been involved.

These include projects that UVic has partnered on a project such as, "Ready Set Solve" (http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/readysetsolve.htm), which engaged students in real world issues faced by local government organizations, and not for profits organizations. The most recent iteration of the program involved engaging UVic students in helping solve waste (paper towel use) and transportation (campus cycling master plan) issues at UVic. While the initiatives above cannot be claimed through this credit, they do contribute, in a sense, to UVic being as a Living Laboratory.

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.