Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.26
Liaison Alexi Lamm
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2022

STARS v2.2

Utah State University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kate Stephens
Associate Director / Community-Engaged Learning Director / Student Sustainability Office Coordinator
Center for Community 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 Campus Engagement?:
Yes

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

Yes, students in the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management class often study the university's waste system in a semester-long project, providing recommendations that have informed decisions on composting and outdoor recycling. Students in Communicating Sustainability often design communication projects targeted at the campus community in a semester-long project. These communication projects have focused on rain gardens, vegetarian week, and other topics. Food Science students design and provide food education to students, which focus on topics such as reducing food waste. Landscape architecture students learn about trimming trees with the university arborist. These are just a few examples.


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 USU Center for Center for Community Engagement provides students with opportunities to take designated Service-Learning classes; provide sustainability education and service as an AmeriCorps member; participate in alternative breaks; or volunteer with local non-profits in the areas of social justice, environment, youth/education, or health & ability.


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:

Through the Student Sustainability Grant program, students have been given the opportunity to work directly with faculty and other students on the Keep Logan Clear campaign. Students collected stats on how many students were served, etc. Students have also worked directly with Facilities to install green features in/on USU buildings. Students involved in these projects often have a faculty advisor. Sometimes they are a part of a course, such as Communicating Sustainability, which emphasizes communication and behavior change of air & climate behaviors or policies. Sometimes they are outside the classroom with learning components as directed by their advisor or supervisor, focusing more on the air quality aspect or environmental economic aspects.


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:

Recreation Management students use facilities to understand their function. This also includes information about sustainability and emerging trends in resilience. Interior design students study for and have the option to take a LEED certification test at the end of one of one of their courses.


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:

Through the Student Sustainability Grant Program students have applied for grants that affect energy, such for education in the Energy Wars competition or a dashboard for the solar panels on the Fine Arts Visual building.


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, the USU campus has a permaculture garden and several native plant beds with interpretive information. Nutrition and dietetics students volunteer in the garden. Students in the College of Agriculture both grow produce in the student organic farm and use it for soup.

USU Nutrition and dietetics student volunteers help plan and create meals from recovered food, would-be food waste, for other USU students and the community.


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:

Landscape architecture students have changed the landscape on campus, doing work around the LAEP house, which includes hardscape, a wind turbine, and a rain water cistern, among other features.


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:

The institution funds Aggie Blue Bikes, a program that provides bicycle education and lending. Aggie Blue Bikes employs students. Students in the bioregional planning MS program and civil engineering program occasionally choose projects relating to multi-modal connectivity. Students participate in planning committees for the university district plans, which include sidewalk connections and parking. Students also organize and participate in Alley Cat scavenger hunts, Thank-a-bus-driver note writing event, and others.


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:

Students in environmental engineering regularly do waste audits on campus and in the community. Students tour the recycling center, and students have continuously worked to expand the university's compost system.


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, landscape architecture students have competed in case competitions focusing on water use. They also work on the infrastructure at LAEP house. Students have developed plans with the university's landscape management department for rain gardens.


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:

The university planning and design office hosts an internship to assist with master planning projects. Additionally, students participate in master planning charrettes. While these are sometimes for courses, such as landscape architecture, often they are voluntary participation or paid internships that focus on documenting and implementing sustainable changes to campus, such as joining meetings and implementing aspects of the Transportation Study or Sustainability Plan.


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:

Yes, students are given opportunities to work with the refugee and immigrant communities through multiple community-engaged learning classes and volunteer opportunities. The 2021 Ivory Prize (and scholarship) went to a students who proposed a project to increase graduation rates among local Latinx students and also increase the number of Latinx students who pursue higher education.


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?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.