Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.79
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date Jan. 27, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Susan Kerr
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

In early 2016, the UVic Gustavson School of Business Masters of Business Administration students initiated and hosted a case competition between undergraduate and graduate business student groups. The topic of debate was “how could the Gustavson School of Business reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?” The School of Business had been tracking its greenhouse gas emissions (buildings, travel, etc.) of students, staff, and faculty internally since 2012, and this case competition provided the opportunity for business students to bring forth tangible options to improve the tracking system as well as make it public. As a result, the School’s GHG tracking system was improved and is now reported publicly as of fall 2016, thus further encouraging a reduction in GHG emissions.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

In March 2016, Dr. C. Crawford and three engineering master students of the School of Engineering initiated a study to determine which existing and potential future technologies are feasible for integration into the upgraded UVic district energy system (DES). UVic has natural gas powered DES that services heating loads in several buildings located around campus. The technologies will be identified and investigated through a summary of existing UVic commissioned reports, an exhaustive search of industry and academic sources, and some preliminary calculations assessing feasibility. Recommended technologies will be made in a forthcoming report. The study is funded through UVic’s Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability’s Campus Sustainability Fund.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

During 2014, a psychology PhD student completed a study on how to change behavioural practices in encouraging chemistry lab students to use the switch back mode on laboratory fume hoods in order to decrease energy use. The study results and recommendation were presented to UVic’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, then implemented into the Green Labs program in 2015 which run by the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

In Dr. J. Bagelman's second-year Geography class at UVic students were asked: “how can you promote food sustainability on campus?” After participating in zine labs, co-led by Dr. Carly Bagelman, students were asked to do a food tour of UVic and then produce a “Campus Foodscape Zine” to explore this question. Each zine (a visual info booklet) illustrates students’ own experience of their foodscape through maps, photos and personal stories. These student zines are a valuable resource; they identify successes, challenges and recommendations that seek to nourish even more sustainable campus. See: http://www.uvic.ca/sustainability/resources/featured-stories/Foodscapes/index.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

In 2016, a multi-stakeholder project involved Dr. V. Schaefer (Restoration of Natural Systems, Environmental Studies) and K. Josephson (Geography cartographer), two work study Geography students, a 40-student team of volunteers, and Facilities Management Grounds staff to coordinate the removal of invasive species on campus and develop an Invasive Species Management Plan, which identified the priority areas for action. This project was funded through the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability’s Campus Sustainability Fund. See the final report: http://www.uvic.ca/sustainability/assets/docs/invasive-species-mgmt-plan-final.pdf and http://www.uvic.ca/current-faculty-staff/home/campus-news/ring/2016+controlling-invasive-species+ring


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

The Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability (OCPS) has been working with student groups Engineers Without Borders (EWB, UVic Chapter) and the UVic Student Societies (UVSS, GSS) on the Fair Trade campus designation project. In Fall 2016, an Environmental Studies student was also hired as a work study student out the of OCPS for this project. Together the work study student, UVSS/GSS, and EWB have collaborated with UVic Food Services and OCPS to conduct Fairtrade product availability campus inventories, develop education and awareness campaigns for students, staff and faculty, and construct a steering committee that represents a cross-section of the campus community. UVic will likely receive its Fairtrade Campus designation in 2017.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

The UVic EcoCar 2 is a second phase of the EcoCar Challenge project to re-design and retrofit a GM-donated 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco into a next generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Students in mechanical, electrical, computer and software engineering, and business have been hard at work meeting the challenge to reduce the environmental impact of the stock vehicle by improving its fuel efficiency and reducing its emissions, while retaining the vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal. Zuomin Dong, faculty advisor and UVic’s chair of mechanical engineering, says what’s happening in the Green Vehicle Research, Testing and Training Centre—a.k.a. the Green Garage—is bringing the frontier of green technology a lot closer, faster. See: http://www.uvic.ca/engineering/mechanical/home/news/current/ecocar-team.php and http://hybrid.uvic.ca/.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

A team of UVic Bachelor of Commerce students analyzed the best options for UVic to compost their food waste on-site, with respect to waste stream volume, ecological value and economic viability. The study outlined and compared options for on-site composting at UVic and other universities with similar characteristics. Recommendations provided by the student team were based on waste stream volume, scale, and other important considerations including environmental, economic and social value. The project was part of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Ready, Set, Solve! 2016 competition.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Drs. C. Valeo and R. Gupta, Faculty of Engineering, have created the Hybrid Absorbable Landscapes project. The research project investigates the most optimum combination of permeable pavements and bioretention cells so they can be designed and modelled to effectively treat stormwater quantity and quality according to local guidelines. The field site is located in Parking Lot 6 at the University of Victoria. See: http://web.uvic.ca/~valeo/HAL.html


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

UVision, a comprehensive student report was completed in 2015. According to the report, “at the heart of UVision [was] the belief that bold sustainability leadership needs to be at the centre of the 2016 Campus Plan and that student voices can lead the way in suggesting how to make that happen” (p. 5). UVision was a collaborative effort between University of Victoria Student’s Society (UVSS), student club CommonEnergy, and the UVSS Environmental Sustainability Council (ESC). The students created a UVision working group, held workshops, and conducted student opinion surveys to put together a 93-page comprehensive report that was presented to the UVic Campus Planning Committee. Based on student point of view, recommendations outlined the Territories (First Nations considerations), Conservation and Restoration, Food Growth, Transportation, Accessibility, and Gender-Inclusive Washrooms. One such recommendation was on conserving Cunningham Woods as an open and natural area for campus-based learning and an outdoor classroom in place of as a proposed building site. As a result of UVision, this recommendation was implemented into the official Campus Plan 2016. See the UVision report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5rR7M9Wf8g3NUxXN1lITFozUkk/view and student blog https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/myuviclife/2015/02/04/sustainability-in-action-the-story-of-uvision/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

The Women and Trans Bike Repair Workshop Series pilot caters specifically to women and trans folks to access skills, build confidence and keep biking, thus helping to increase the cycling mode share on campus. With support from the SPOKES team, this workshop series was in the SPOKES cage at the Campus Bike Centre during Spring and Fall 2016. The workshops were designed and hosted for beginners by an undergraduate and graduate student. The project pilot was funded by the Campus Sustainability Fund, Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

Divest UVic is a group of students, faculty, and staff who want UVic to divest or transfer endowment money invested in fossil fuel companies to non-fossil fuel companies. In 2015, Divest UVic organized a forum to discuss and inform the campus community of the complex issue of climate change, divestment and society. The forum consisted of five panelists with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints considered in the complexities of addressing climate change. Topics included sustainable investments, today’s energy sector, and First Nations. The free event was sponsored by UVic and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). Other activities included research on what other universities were doing with respect to divestment, submissions to the UVic Senate and the Board of Governors, and carried out many outreach events on campus and on-line. As a result, the UVic Foundation Board (the Board) considered several requests to divest from the Foundation’s investments in fossil fuels.

Since 2015, the Board has expanded its Summary of Investment Beliefs, as related to Responsible Investing, to include the requirement that the Foundation’s investment managers (1) provide a report on responsible investing activities each year; and, (2) that the report also include a record of the manager’s proxy voting activity. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles are incorporated into the investment decision making process through proxy voting which demonstrates the Board’s commitment to responsible investing. The Board has delegated voting rights to be exercised by the investment managers. Equity investment managers are expected to vote all proxies in the best interests of the Foundation and to remain active participants within their equity portfolios. The Board respects the importance of responsible investing as it relates to long term investment returns and will continue to oversee and evaluate its investment managers and fulfill its responsibility as a United Nations Principles on Responsible Investment (UNPRI) signatory.

See: https://www.uvic.ca/climateforum/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

The UVic Community Mapping Collaboratory (CMC) is a community-university mapping initiative. The vision of the CMC is to engage citizens in the creation of healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities. The CMC facilitates processes for community engagement, student learning, globally-relevant research, and sustainable community development and planning through participatory community and green mapping. Faculty, staff and students work on this on-going project with community stakeholders throughout the regional area. The mapping project is presently housed at UVic through the Department of Geography. See: http://mapping.uvic.ca/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

The UVic Student Mental Health Strategy is a framework to provide direction for the Division of Student Affairs and the broader university community to comprehensively and proactively review resources and opportunities for mental health promotion, planning, and responsiveness in support of our student community. It is intended as a framework for the development and implementation of action plans to support positive student mental health and well-being in order to enhance all students’ potential for success. This strategy builds on evidence-based research and best practices across the continuum of well-being and care and offers a comprehensive plan for transforming our approach to student mental health. Mental health awareness events and supportive online community sites are sponsored by Office of Student Life, UVic Mental Health Initiative and the University of Victoria Students’ Society.

See: https://www.uvic.ca/mentalhealth/students/strategy/index.php, https://www.uvic.ca/mentalhealth/assets/docs/StudentMentalHealthStrategy.pdf, and https://www.facebook.com/studentmentalhealth


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

A fourth-year visual arts student was the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability’s first Artist-in-Residence who transformed a bland concrete wall in UVic’s bike amenities space (Campus Bike Centre). The student set out to transform a 20-metre concrete wall into an abstract mural showing the links between urbanization, sustainability, cycling and art. Her beautiful and colourful mural gained much of attention from local media. The student artist managed many aspects of the project including providing a mock-up of the mural painting, staying within the materials budget, picking up supplies, and working on the mural each day during Sustainability Week (October 2015) until it was complete. She also received academic credit for her mural through the School of Visual Arts, thus exemplifying a wonderful experiential learning opportunity.

See: http://www.uvic.ca/sustainability/resources/featured-stories/mural/index.php


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.