Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.92
Liaison Mat Thijssen
Submission Date Oct. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mat Thijssen
Sustainability Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

Waterloo’s Environment and Business 402 capstone project matches students for an 8-month applied learning project with multiple businesses within Waterloo Region and beyond to help them solve sustainability challenges. This program has launched projects across the public, private, and civil society sectors for multiple years, all with a focus on consulting-type deliverables that will help the client partner organization advance one or more aspects of their corporate sustainability efforts.


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:

In 2017, the Sustainability Office worked with a GEOG 452 student group to develop a survey to measure emissions from air travel across the Faculty of Environment. Students collaborated on survey design, developed methodologies using ICAO standards, and promoted the survey among staff and faculty members within Environment, then created a final report. This was supplemented by Masters student research in future years to expand on findings.


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

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

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

Yes: faculty members and graduate students initiated a temporary submetering program in a subset of buildings using optical recognition technology to monitor existing metering systems and provide more realtime energy data for planning purposes


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:

Yes, Masters Students in School of Public Health Sciences has worked to evaluate healthy and sustainable food systems across campus dining facilities


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:

In 2021, the University launched the Campus Mapping project to engage students in the mapping of plant species across campus as part of a preliminary biodiversity assessment within the forthcoming landscaping standards. The University of Waterloo also has an ongoing program, with funding received from multiple sources, to protect and restore its campus woodlot. Students conduct species inventories, invasive species assessments, remediation plans, and other monitoring for the site. In addition, the Sustainability Office is working with classes who utilize on-site resources such as the woodlot and Laurel Creek for their training in order to begin amalgamating various class projects into an overall campus-wide biodiversity assessment and monitoring project.


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

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

Yes: In 2019, David Johnson Research & Technology Park engaged 12 student teams across three courses in the School of Planning for an intensive dive into topics including transportation infrastructure through biodiversity within the R&T Park.


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:

Throughout 2019, the Sustainability Office worked with a graduate student as part of a living lab project focused on the redesign of waste signage on campus sorting stations to improve proper sorting and reduce contamination.


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:

Students in ERS 200 regularly collect water samples for contaminant testing using the Laurel Creek, which winds its way through campus. Over time, the campus will work to integrate this data into the Mapping Campus Grounds project.


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:

Several courses from the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development utilize Waterloo’s sustainability reports as a case study in class projects to outline best practices and offer opportunity for critique and areas of improvement


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?:
Yes

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

Graduate student completed a thesis evaluating how participation in and knowledge of organizational sustainability initiatives on campus improve employee satisfaction and retention.


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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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.