Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 80.17
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date May 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Justine Bochenek
Sustainability Intern
Campus Planning and Sustainability
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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 Campus Engagement?:
Yes

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

Campus Bike Centre Visual Art Student Murals

In 2019, Visual Arts student, Meaghan Crow, was commissioned to paint a new mural to draw attention to UVic’s sustainable transportation goals in the university’s Campus Bike Centre. Crow’s mural was a part of a greater project to engage all members of the broader campus university community, as in, they were the ones doing the majority of the painting. Crow took on this experiential learning opportunity to design and coordinate a community mural; developing her art portfolio and project-managing skills - while celebrating the joy of cycling in Victoria. The community mural project was part of Connect U, a campus community conference designed to connect and engage staff with the university community. The purpose of the mural was to create community continuity and strengthen the relationship between sustainability and the arts.


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:

GEOG 380: Community Mapping

The class examines the theory and practice of community based mapping and how it can facilitate dialogue and collaborative partnering, thus leading to knowledge co-creation, planning, citizen empowerment and engagement, building consensus, more informed policy making and ultimately social justice. Community and Green Mapping affirm the integrity and diversity of local places and people as the primary foundation for healthy community development and sustainability. This course is designed to be action-oriented and experiential, and has a very high local field component.

The class connects to the greater community via the Community Mapping Collaboratory (CMC), operated by the Department of Geography at UVic. The CMC's mission is to facilitate processes for community engagement, student learning, globally-relevant research, and sustainable community planning through participatory community mapping. This is achieved through engaging students, community members, Indigenous partners and other participants both locally and globally in classroom-based and field-based courses, workshops, map-making, internship opportunities, scholarly research, publications, summits, and conference participation.

In 2017, students from the class worked with local restoration groups, the Seachange Marine Conservation Society, Friends of Tod Creek Watershed initiative and the W̱SÁNEĆ first nation to help plan a community mapping event for locals to attend and share their place-based stories and experiences living in that area.


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:

Climate Projection Mapping

A Geography student with a concentration in Geomatics was hired by the Campus Planning and Sustainability Office to produce maps and graphs that indicate the scope of the risks associated with climate change for UVic using GIS technology. The data produced by the student was used in a report that would provide context for the commonly understood climate risks the university will be facing over the next 50 years. These risks include: extreme heat, drought, air pollution, wind intensity, subsidence and heave, vector born diseases and flooding. The report will create a dialogue between Campus Planning and Sustainability, Facilities Management and UVic External Properties in order to prepare for climate adaptations in operations at the university in the future.


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:

Energy Audit of Engineering Lab Wing

An Engineering graduate student developed the Energy Audit project in order to identify where energy and heat are lost in older buildings on campus, due to missing or poorly installed insulation panels. The audit is necessary for identifying the repairs that need to be done in order to continue to reduce energy consumption and loss. The project addresses UVic’s Sustainability Action Plan for Campus Operations 2014-2019 goals to reduce campus electricity consumption by 8%, as well as reduce the campus natural gas consumption by 12%. The student used drone-based and hand-held infrared thermography (a non-contact method of temperature measurement) to create a temperature map of the first building measured, the Engineering Lab Wing. This method visualizes the rate of heat transfer between the building and the outdoor air. Once areas are identified, maintenance crews are made aware of where repairs are necessary to ensure even the oldest buildings on campus can be more energy efficient. The student’s work has the potential to serve as the solution for energy audits of all buildings on campus in the future, which will reduce energy consumption and meet the university’s energy and sustainability goals.


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:

Green Labs Program; behavioural change in Fume Hood use

The Green Labs Program continues to engage with lab users at UVic, now including more student participation than ever. Per square foot, a laboratory is the most energy consumptive spaces on a university campus. Using a method developed by a UVic PhD student in 2014, chemistry lab occupants continue to engage in guided dialogues with students and researchers in order to create positive behavioural change in regards to fume hood “setback mode” use. Fume hoods are enclosed work tables in which chemistry experiments may be safely conducted. They consume large amounts of energy because they require electricity to force air out the roof of the building as well as energy to re-heat the rooms that house the fume hoods. Newer fume hoods are retrofitted with a “setback mode” switch, a safe feature that can be used when the fume hood is not in use. Setback mode reduces the fume hood exhaust flow, saving electricity and heating.

To further build on the Green Lab Set Back program, a Geography undergraduate student was hired in 2019 by the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability to lead the guided discussions that focus on intention-strengthening exercises. The lab users are asked to set a goal, visualize the goal and make a plan on how to achieve the goal, a method that has been effective changing behaviours in other contexts. The use of the “setback mode” switch is recorded in a central database, and the logged information shows the actual behavioural changes of lab users. Since the beginning of the program, the use of setback mode has increased by 29%. This demonstrates the success of the program in both the areas of community engagement and energy savings.


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:

Good Food Policy Audit

An Environmental Studies / Political Science undergraduate student organized a re-examination of the leadership and procedures of the university on the grounds of “community based, humane, socially just and ecologically sound”, or “Good Food” procurement at the university. The Good Food Challenge tracks food purchasing based on the sustainability standards listed above and calls to encourage university’s to sign the “Good Food Campus Commitment”, promising to make 20% of campus food meet these standards by 2025.
The student completed an audit of 1,500 food items served in two major dining areas on campus to act as a preliminary baseline inventory for UVic’s sustainable food procurement. The audit involved an evaluation of purchasing invoices and contacting vendors to determine the percentage of “Good Food” purchased. After the audit, the student produced a comprehensive report with policy recommendations for both the university’s Food Services department, Purchasing Services and the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.


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:

ES 341: Past, Present, Future Ecologies

The School of Environmental Studies teaches ES341 Past, Present and Future Ecologies, which focuses on ecological restoration right on UVic Campus. Part of the curriculum involves invasive species pulls, where one of the classes each semester involves going to a green space on campus to remove English ivy from tree trunks. Class assignments also focus on the environmental sustainability of campus grounds, with the development of Restoration Designs for sites on the campus. Students produce final reports documenting the possible futures of nature restoration on campus, focusing on native species. The students’ projects address the Sustainability Action Plan for Campus Operations 2014-2019 goals to protect and manage ecological diversity and enhance the use of native species in landscape management on campus.


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:

CN+ Carbon Offset Pitch Competition

In 2018, the Gustavson Business School asked students to participate in a competition to determine which carbon offset projects should be purchased by the school. In 2017, Gustavson committed to acknowledging its own impact on the environment by collecting data that measures the faculty’s carbon footprint, looking especially at the greenhouse gases emitted by air travel for student international exchanges.

For the competition, students were to create a business pitch for how the division should offset their 2017 commuting and travel carbon footprint. Submissions were evaluated by the Carbon Neutrality Plus (CN+) committee (a group made up of students, faculty and staff established in 2017) on four criteria; cost, impact, persuasiveness and alignment with the Business School’s values on international, integrative, innovative and sustainability/social responsibility. Students learned about purchasing carbon offsets by evaluating different projects and then creating a portfolio summary description that they pitched to the voters in a 90-second video proposal. Teams of one to five students from Gustavson’s undergraduate, masters and PhD programs offered their portfolio recommendations from a list of 26 offset projects. All professors, staff and students were then encouraged to vote on which proposed portfolio the school should invest its offset dollars in.

The portfolio that garnered the most votes school-wide was created and pitched by the team who called themselves the Redeemers. The winning offsets purchased were: 65% Bundled Solar Power Project, India and 35% Great Bear Forest Conservation Project, Canada. The students predict that not only will their portfolio reduce the business school’s CO2 emissions but create new jobs in the communities in which they are now invested in.


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:

Parking Permit and Bus Pass Mapping

In February 2019, a 4th year Geography student was hired to map out where campus annual parking permit users and employee bus pass users begin their commute to campus. The student collected anonymous raw permit and pass data from UVic Parking and Transportation. This data was then mapped through the use of ArcMap to create choropleth maps, Kernel density maps and graphs used in an extensive Transportation Demand Management program evaluation report. The student also created a step-by-step methodology so that the maps could be reproduced for another time period. The maps greatly helped in transportation planning measures for the Sustainability Action Plan 2020-21.


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:

Dump and Run/Move-In Thrift Shop

Developed out of collaboration between the UVic Staff Sustainability Network, Residence Services, Residence Life, Waste Management and the UVic Student Society, UVic’s largest “Dump and Run” campaign yet took place in 2019. The goal of the campaign is to divert the waste associated with residence student move out, by providing drop-off tables in a common area in each residence building. Unwanted items from the students were collected, whereas in the past, the items were sent directly to Waste Management and a limited amount of charity donation bins located on campus.

The collected materials were then moved to a storage facility on the campus where volunteers helped to further sort the items for collection by the campus Free Store and local charities. Some of the items were kept until the following September for the Residence Move-In Thrift Shop, which was also a new addition to the “Dump and Run” campaign. Overall, the campaign had a strong impact, diverting an estimated two tonnes of material from the landfill.


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:

Campus Community Garden Composting Toilet

For the experiential learning component of her master’s research, a Civil Engineering student has proposed the design, installment and maintenance of an exciting new project for the Campus Community Garden (CCG); a composting toilet! The installation of this ecological sanitation system will contribute towards the CCG’s objectives of stewardship, community building, sustainable food production practices, and education. The project will also address UVic’s mission to be an innovator in water use, recovery, reuse and stewardship. Ecological sanitation follows the principle of closing the cycle between sanitation and agriculture by recycling the nutrients in urine and feces into compost. By installing a composting toilet with separate urine collection, the CCG would be able to minimize water use and practice “water-wise practices” as stipulated in the CCG’s use agreement.

The Public Health and Environmental Engineering Lab (PH2E) Lab in the Civil Engineering Department, serves to contribute to a body of knowledge to promote access to dignified and sustainable sanitation even in humanitarian emergency contexts and contribute to a global conversation about how best to develop and implement a sanitation systems given the constraints and risks of climate change. This is a key objective and corresponds to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)4 to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” The student has also proposed that the composting toilet could support future research done through the civil engineering department providing a living lab for the university as well as the greater Vancouver Island community for innovative water use reduction practices.


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:

Sharing UVic WDCAG Conference Sustainability

A group of Geography students had tasked themselves with the project of promoting sustainability at the annual WEDCAG conference held on campus at UVic in 2019. With 370 registrants attending the conference, the students were concerned with the environmental impact of such an event can have. The challenge set out by the conference was to showcase the university’s commitment to sustainability by putting their “Language into Action”. The students aimed to meet this challenge by providing conference attendees with access to the free use of bicycles provided by the UVic SPOKES program, complementary day bus-passes, and sustainable gift bags that contained plastic-free items.

In order to achieve this goal, the students involved had formed the WDCAG Undergraduate Sustainability Committee to manage various aspects of the project. Through this committee, project timelines were established, the project budget was managed, and communication with the necessary contacts was coordinated. An undergraduate geography student led the project, coordinating all helping hands in the entirely volunteer-run initiative. She also oversaw all necessary communications with the UVic Geography Department, BC Transit, SPOKES, various gift-bag item suppliers, and the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability. She received an immense amount of help from a dedicated group of seven student-volunteers that did much of the leg-work on the aforementioned tasks. Overall, the project was concluded a success.

With the support of the Campus Sustainability Fund and SPOKES, the project helped to increase awareness of the language of sustainability and sustainable transportation infrastructure on campus.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

Digitization of the Transgender Archives at UVic

Launched in 2011, the Transgender Archives has one of the largest collections of historical artifacts and art pieces all related to the lived experiences of trans, non-binary and two-spirit identifying people, dating back over 100 years. The transgender archives was founded to preserve trans histories, for all who wish to know about them, and to also promote understanding about trans people and their rights. The records span over 160 meters or 530 linear feet (1.5 football fields long), and are in 15 languages from 23 countries on six continents. They are also free of charge and open to the public. Established in 2016, the Chair in Transgender Studies is the department that is responsible for the archives and is externally funded. The Chair administers grants, scholarships and fellowships but is not a degree-granting department.

In 2019, several community researchers and students were tasked with the arduous process of digitizing the materials from the archives and making them available in an online database. The students who worked on the project have been awarded with academic credit from their home-faculty. Uploading the materials online will be a key extension of the core values of the archives, as the accessibility and transparency of the archives will be increased with this added resource. Having an exhaustive online component to the archives will also increase the positive impact on the larger LGBTQ community, outside the university walls.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance:

Updated Responsible Investment Policy

In January of 2020, the UVic Board of Governors approved the updated Responsible Investment Policy for short-term investments as one way the university can address climate change, support sustainable futures and promote indigenous economic development.

The development of the updated investment policy involved extensive input from students and student groups. This input took the form of extensive background research, student group submissions, analysis and feedback, and lengthy student consultation along with other campus members and stakeholders. These students had taken an active and engaged role in understanding how the university’s investment practices could be improved.

The updated policy’s main elements include:
- Materially lower the carbon emissions across the entire portfolio by 45 per cent by 2030;
- Participate in engagement activities to encourage carbon emission reductions;
- Allocate 25 per cent of the funds to thematic impact investments including energy companies that will be par of the required transition, and investments that support Indigenous economic development; and
- Encourage better disclosure of carbon emissions and climate related risks.

The newly updated policy will result in the university divesting rom high-carbon emitting companies regardless of their industry sector, including the fossil fuel industry. The policy’s reach across all sectors of the economy and the investment in renewable energy and other clean technology is a holistic, and comprehensive approach that also encourages low-carbon practices as we transition


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

Reduce single use - temporary ban of paper cups by ES 407: Mindfulness, sustainability and social change

ES 407: Mindfulness, Sustainability and Social Change is an upper year undergraduate class that examines how mindfulness training, particularly meditation, is being integrated into contemporary environmental and social change efforts. Current research on the physical, psychological, ecological and social benefits of mindfulness training are examined. Students are introduced a variety of meditative practices as part of the course.

Born out of practicing mindfulness and meditation, the class in the Spring of 2019 identified one particular issue that they could all agree to focus their efforts on – the sale of disposable single-use paper cups. Such a collective practice led to the creation of the initiative by the class to place a temporary ban on the sale of paper cups for a day at one of UVic campus’ most popular cafes. As part of their mindfulness practices, the students did not want to alienate or impact someone negatively who depended on the café’s services, and so synergized the ban with a “mug drive” to promote the use of reusable mugs. The initiative provided University Food Services with the opportunity to use the project as first hand research to begin the development of a reusable containers program in dining areas, as the implementation of reusable containers in dining areas is one of their top priorities. The overall impact of the initiative was overwhelmingly positive, thus demonstrating the connections between practicing mindfulness and positive behavioural change.


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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