Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.21
Liaison Mark Klapatch-Mathias
Submission Date June 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
4.00 / 4.00 Mark Klapatch-Mathias
Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor
Facilities Management/Office of Sustainability
"---" 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?:
Yes

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

Yes, multiple students have completed academic internships with the Office of Sustainability where they have focused on a variety of projects. All projects include aspects of campus engagement though with all interns planning and coordinating campus events with the goal of increasing our collective campus understanding of sustainability and our interconnected impacts.


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:

Yes, The Office of Sustainability employs a student intern focusing on public engagement. The student is responsible for a newsletter which gets sent out to anyone who signs up to be on our list including campus, community, and regional representation. They also serve as a liaison to several community groups with the goal of working together to advance sustainability efforts in the broader community. Students have recently been working on a three tiered pledge that will be discussed with several community groups during the 2021 summer. If adopted, this will create a trackable process for noting individuals and organizations that are interested in taking action to improve sustainability.


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:

Multiple classes tour the heating plant to discuss Scope 2 emissions and efficiency annually. Additionally, the annual completion of our Greenhouse Gas Inventory has been designated as a student project during the spring semester each year.


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:

A physics course has students complete a capstone project involved infrared imaging of campus buildings to see where the most energy is lost in buildings.

The Psychology department has installed a living wall of plants in a classroom. Students and faculty continue to evaluate the effects of the plants on student performance in the classroom.


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:

A physics course has students complete a capstone project involved infrared imaging of campus buildings to see where the most energy is lost in buildings. Another physics capstone project focuses on light wasted by shining towards a dark sky when it only needs to shine down towards the ground. Goal is to determine where lighting can be reduced or redesigned to be more impactful while not contributing to light pollution.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Food & Dining:
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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 Grounds?:
Yes

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

Agricultural Engineering students modeled stormwater runoff in a designated area, planned and installed a rain garden. Analysis of campus stormwater continues in the course each semester.

Several courses in the Plant and Earth Science Department use the campus grounds, and the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River more specifically, for applied learning. The courses include GEOL 101 and 102, ESM 360, GEOL 445, GEOL 327, SOIL 120, SOIL 250, ESM 191, ESM 343, and ESM 347. Projects include assessing water quality, ongoing monitoring and analysis of the entire UWRF campus well field installed in the valley of the South Fork on campus, he hydraulic properties of the shallow aquifer system, activities like installing additional wells, getting soil core samples from campus and campus farms, teaching forestry management techniques in both campus forests, and restoration of aquatic systems.

An ESM course created restoration plans for the campus forest evaluating history, the current uses and conditions, the stakeholders and users, and the future uses of the forest.


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:

Multiple students in ENGL 371 have completed projects assessing various sustainability aspects of campus and the financial implications. Recent projects have involved an assessment of the possibility of adding organics collections to campus. Students reviewed state purchasing policies and RFB documents to understand and determine options moving forward.


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

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

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

Multiple students have completed projects relating to waste minimization on campus, analyzing new streams for disposal, and increasing education to the campus community on item disposal options. Outcomes included launching a plastic film recycling program and a handout provided to all new students with better item disposal instructions.


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:

Yes, as it relates to the campus grounds and the river that runs through campus, several professors have students complete applied projects focusing on water quality assessment, health of the river, etc. Additionally, students have completed projects looking at microplastics in area water sources.


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

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

Yes, students in Art 292 complete projects as it relates to mental health, healing, the human condition, suffering, resiliency, work/life boundaries, a meaningful life, safety, support, resources - and how this is all a part of physical, mental, emotional, community wellbeing and mental health.


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.