Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.75
Liaison Mark Klapatch-Mathias
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Michael Stifter
Director
Facilities Mgmt.
"---" 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 Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
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:

Multiple classes tour the heating plant to discuss Scope 2 emissions and efficiency.


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:

An Agricultural Engineering Student worked part-time in Facilities Management during the performance year. He updated the building floor plans and Emergency Fire/Tornado Signage in buildings.


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:

Some waste vegetable oil is used each year in an ag-engineering academic project to convert to Biodiesel. AGEN 325 Alternative Energy Systems is a study of agricultural biomass conversion and solar energy systems with special emphasis on alcohol fuels and application of solar energy. Engine and burner modification requirements, raw material sources and licensing procedures are examined.


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:

AGEN 325, Alternative Energy Systems:

Students in Ag Engineering Technology are pressing soybeans to produce oil for Biodiesel production. Similarly, students are working to produce Biodiesel from Waste Vegetable Oil produced at the University Center.

Students are also using data from campus solar panels for a term project.


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:

Ag Engineering Technology uses the campus land to teach land surveying techniques, and also has assisted with the design and construction of surface water best practices at the Mann Valley Farm in the past for farmyard runoff control.

Horticulture students have also been working on retention basins and rain gardens within the institutional boundary.


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:

Purchasing arranged contracts to recycle pallets with student involvement.

As the Purchasing Agent for UWRF Facilities Management, Roxanne Schneberger has provided information to students for their reports and classroom work:
1. Requests for lists of the vendors that are used in our area of Wisconsin and Minnesota are utilized to show outsourcing to local and area vendors for Building and Construction.
2. The heating fuel delivered, including the costs per delivery, for the Mann Valley Farm annually is provided to students. They use the figures for the energy costs to support their animals.


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:

Enterprise Car Share program is available to students. The then-current director of the Office of Sustainability gave talks to classrooms highlighting the program.
http://www.uwrf.edu/Facilities/CarShare.cfm

WeBike River Falls
We Bike River Falls promotes bicycle friendly transportation and recreation options through education and awareness programs for a safe, healthy, and sustainable community. We Bike River Falls is a collaborative project through the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development (SCISCD) and the UWRF Office of Student Life and engaging a broad group of university faculty and staff, students, River Falls citizens, city officials, and others.
https://www.uwrf.edu/WeBikeRiverFalls/Index.cfm


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:

UWRF incorporates the topics of refuse and recycling in many aspects of campus operations and culture.
Our considerable waste diversion effort includes a comprehensive recycling program and a surplus property program. Each year, more and more types of items are recycled as we find additional recycling streams. We have also increased our communication to campus regarding our refuse and recycling operations. We have switched from 2 surplus sales each year to a monthly sale. We also do regular online auctions. The switch to monthly sales has also provided us with the opportunity to sell used computers and computer components. We had previously been paying to have these items properly recycled. We have also increased the variety of items we try to sell through the surplus program to divert even small items from landfills. If items do not sell after a few sales, they are given away for free or donated to area nonprofits. We have a student who works closely with the surplus program who has a passion for recycling and she has utilized several marketing avenues to better promote surplus to the students on campus. We are now starting to have regular customers as monthly sales are really becoming a standard on campus and people look forward to the variety of items we come up with. Our campus newspaper, the Student Voice, has printed articles highlighting our recycling operations, our involvement in RecycleMania, and our surplus programs.

Other aspects of activities on campus that highlight how our campus has become a living laboratory for waste include student's desires to become involved in the process. This last year, we had a student serve as a refuse and recycling intern for the first time. His responsibilities included working with the ECO reps in the residence halls as well as developing a survey for campus to gather feedback on UWRF's refuse and recycling and waste diversion operations. Once the results of the survey are analyzed, recommendations for improvements will be made to campus administration. We also have students that coordinate campus cleanup days. There is also an increasing number of students requesting interviews for papers or other coursework. Another example of faculty, staff, and student involvement occurred this past year when Custodial Services switched from cloth towel dispensers in the restrooms to paper towel dispensers. Many individuals on campus immediately wanted to know how the paper towels could be composted. While no formal composting program has been established on campus, there is a clear desire to create one as well as incorporate the towels from the restrooms. Furthermore, we have been able to eliminate some hand towel dispensers by installing energy efficient hand dryers.

We have been proactive in applying for recycling bin grants through Keep America Beautiful/Coca Cola.

A student was identified by the institution and became engaged in the Request for Proposal process in creating a new contract for the Refuse and Recycling Collection Services. The student (Molly Breitmün) was mentored by staff to understand the current contract and how to appropriately approach the bidding process. In 2013, we entered a new contract for the hauling and disposing of our refuse and recycling on campus. The request for bid specified many green initiatives with the goal of minimizing waste and maximizing recycling. Recycling containers were replaced with better ones in four of our buildings to provide clearer and easier recycling options.

Round-table discussions were held on the recycling and purchasing of pallets.

Participation in Recycle-mania tournament, 2013.
UWRF participates in the national RecycleMania competition each year. In 2013 we promoted our involvement with student posters as well as an interactive booth in our University Center where students could ask questions and provide feedback on our recycling operations.
RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, as well as which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling. With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools follow their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to reduce and recycle more.

Overall Goals for RecycleMania
1. Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
2. Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
3. Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
4. Have a fair and friendly competition.
http://recyclemaniacs.org/about


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:

Courses use the South Fork for water monitoring ESM 360 (Hydrology and Water Quality).

Retention ponds behind Hathorn Hall are used to educate students on hydraulic pressure.

Several courses in CAFES use the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River for lab exercises.

Through MAMAC Systems, the institution provides UWRF student, faculty, and staff with a national pilot demonstration project for 24/7 energy and water use data in a variety of buildings across campus. The first two such buildings are Grimm and McMillan Residence Halls. The Regional Development Institute building will soon join that group. This real-time availability of data allows the campus community to see the impacts of our conscious decisions on the conservation of these resources and the direct costs to students and taxpayers in the form of utility bills.


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 Senate has introduced sustainability-based initiatives like ZipCar and Divestment from oil. This fosters campus consciousness of fossil fuel dependence, climate awareness, and the national divestment campaign.

SCISCD Undergraduate research fellow, Jessica Del Rosario, and GIS Professor, Dr. Rader have worked on an interactive map of campus that will highlight sustainable aspects. Using GIS, their goal is to leave future students and community members with easily accessible information regarding campus sustainability.


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:

Multicultural programming is a foundation of UWRF Student Life.
Inclusivity is an underlying value system for UWRF's Strategic Initiatives.


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:

Each spring students, faculty, and staff focus on health and wellness in the Wellness Challenge https://www.uwrf.edu/StudentHealthAndCounseling/WellnessChallenge.cfm

Also, all of our Wellness activities including the therapy dog time: http://www.uwrf.edu/StudentHealthAndCounseling/Wellness/WellnessEvents.cfm

Health Fair activities: http://www.uwrf.edu/studenthealthandcounseling/healthfair.cfm

CPR training offered each February.

Kinni Outdoors Adventures where you can rent equipment to enjoy the outdoor activities in the area. http://www.uwrf.edu/RecreationAndSportFacilities/KinniOutdoorAdventures/Index.cfm

Smoke-free campus initiative that went into effect July 2013.


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:

Students and faculty adviser of The Environmental Corps of Sustainability (ECOS, formerly known as Fossil Free Falcons) educate peers, collect petition signatures and have had discussions and presentations along with the Assistant Chancellor of University Advancement and President of UW-River Falls Foundation, hoping to persuade the UW-River Falls Foundation to divest from unsustainable investment practices and policy, especially concerning oil and coal.


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:

The St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development is a "think and do tank" founded in May of 2007. The Institute is a "go-to" resource for every context of "Sustainability in the St. Croix River Watershed." Besides the "walk the talk" coordination service it provides to the UWRF campus community, it is the primary resource for regional, county, town, and municipal leaders seeking assistance with sustainable community development (SCD) in response to the myriad of environmental, social, and economic challenges.


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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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.