Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.68
Liaison John Gardner
Submission Date May 31, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kate Nelson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of 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 ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment ---
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

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 the Fall of 2013, Professor Utzinger's Arch-723 Fundamentals of Ecological Architecture took on examining the environmental impacts of the UWM campus. Students were challenged to visualize the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from UWM Buildings and Transportation. Visuals produced related the volume of GHG's to campus air space and what weight of coal each student would have to carry in order to power their own education. This was the beginning of the Arch-723 course engaging in campus as a living laboratory, which is now an official LEED Lab with USGBC.


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:

For 3 semesters in the School of Architecture from 2014-2015, students took several courses as part of an official USGBC LEED Lab, examining Operations and Maintenance of campus buildings. First, the broad scope of LEED Campus Credits were examined and scope was decided. Then, four buildings were selected and examined for the LEED O+M certification. Upon selection of the Architecture Building, specific projects were designed and are currently in the process of implementation as is the LEED O+M certification.


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:

During the 2015-2016 school year, an intern in the Office of Sustainability worked on the campus dining credits of our STARS report. As part of this, he completed UWM's first Real Food Challenge assessment. His examination of our food purchases were summarized in a report and recommendations for our Restaurant Operations.


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:

UW-Milwaukee's University Services and Research Building operates as part of a diverse micro-grid. Wind, solar, and a diesel-fueled generator powers the system. The work in conjunction with Eaton is funded in part by the Midwest Energy Research Consortium. Professor Nasiri's patented technology allows renewable energy produced when demand is low to be stored and then released when the demand is high. UWM engineering students are working with Eaton on software that allows communication among the various energy sources, giving the microgrid the ability to customize the mix of energy sources in its “arsenal” in order to improve efficiency.


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 2015, a Conservation and Environmental Science student completed a tree survey of UWM's main campus. This was intended as a resource for Grounds to better manage tree care, especially with the Emerald Ash Borer encroaching in the region.
In the spring of 2016, along with that survey, an intern in the Office of Sustainability developed things a step further by implementing the steps to becoming a Tree Campus USA. The student formed a campus task force to examine a full tree care plan, set goals, and further sustainable tree care. In celebration, the intern and UWM hosted Arbor Day in 2016 with 9 donated trees (a $2,700 value) planted across campus.


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:
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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:

Through the 2014-2015 school year, an graduate student intern in the Office of Sustainability and Student Association Senator, developed the model contract and implementation of the City's Bublr Bikeshare for campus. Bublr was relatively new at the time to Milwaukee. As a result, 6 stations reside on UWM grounds, 3 at the main campus and 3 others at residential halls nearby. The contract also included one year free membership for all UWM students and in the following 2-5 years, UWM students will have a deeply discounted rate as a result of this student's work. The internship also administered UWM's biannual Transportation Survey and other bicycling efforts.


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:

In the fall of 2014, an intern from the Conservation and Environmental Science program examined our on-site composting operation in its very early stages. With a strong sense of how professional kitchens operate, along with a propensity for lab work, Renee was able to bring UWM’s on-site composting operation into full production. Systems were put in place for campus food hauling. Handled as a science experiment, different methodologies were tested and results were verified in the lab.


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:

Professor Wasley in the School of Architecture administers several stormwater student projects on the UWM campus. Recently, work has focused at the new School of Freshwater Sciences, where students in his studios examine rainwater collection along the streetscape leading to the harbor location. A wetland slip was also examined by students for the new building.


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:

The Student Association at UWM has been very active on sustainability projects and governance in the past year. Two areas of governance relate to putting a Green Fee up as part of a survey and for a vote, which passed. Second, the SA passed a resolution for UWM to pursue a financial power purchase agreement.


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:

As part of UWM's Global Inclusion and Engagement's STEM-Inspire program, two students designed research projects in the on-campus composting operation. The STEM-Inspire program support, opportunities and experiences are designed to facilitate student success, with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who graduate from UW-Milwaukee and pursue careers or graduate/professional schools in STEM fields. Students managed the composting operation while researching plant physiology under different compost methods and waste stream impacts on compost collection.


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:

Opened during 2014, the mission of The HUB is to provide wellness-related programming for UWM employees and community members while facilitating opportunities for experiential student learning and research. The HUB started with group-based exercise and mind and body classes and heart healthy food demonstrations by students in the Nutrition Sciences program.
Everyone benefits – students gain practical experiences to complement their studies, scientists have additional resources for health-related investigations, and of course, UWM employees and community members really reap the rewards… high-quality health and wellness services and programs conveniently located on the UWM campus.


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:
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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:

UWM is known for applied student research in the community. One particular program of note is The School of Architecture and Urban Planning's Community Design Solutions (CDS). CDS has worked on many sustainable design projects on campus including a bike infrastructure study and stormwater design for the campus southwest quadrant. As for Public Engagement, CDS works throughout the community and region to collaboratively plan and design project . The "Home GR/OWN: Partners 4 Places" project is an award-winning example of CDS's work (develop city pocket parks and community gardens).


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:

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.