Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Dennis Cochrane
Director, Office of Sustainability
Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
"---" 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:

A project that advanced sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement was the work done by Office of Sustainability interns during the 2018-2019 academic year. The student interns partnered with a representative from the Virginia Tech Office of University Planning to write Virginia Tech's Electric Vehicle Master Plan which lays out standards and suggestions for the placement of electric vehicle charging stations on campus. This allowed students to be proponents in the advancement of sustainability on campus. The students involved in this project engaged various campus stakeholders in order to present their draft master plan and get feedback.

Student interns with the Office of Sustainability continually organize and run events on campus to educate fellow students and get them involved in sustainability. Some examples of events include: National Recycles Day outside of Squires Student Center, water footprint exhibit during World Water Day, and the Choose to Reuse pop up stands in dining halls that encourage students to use reusable to go containers instead of compostable ones. These informative displays and interactive exhibits encourage students to change their behaviors to lead more sustainable lives on campus. The students leading these projects are working with members of the university and using tools available to them through our office in order to gain real world skills which will help both them and the university meet sustainability-related goals.

The Virginia Tech Perspective Gallery located in Squires Student Center hosts a number of exhibits each year related to sustainability awareness. For example, they hosted the project "The Peace Project" from October 25, 2019 to December 14, 2019. As global citizens, we have a responsibility to uphold kind, civil behavior and develop empathy towards our natural environment and one another. How we do that and what that looks like is imperative for world peace. The Peace Project is a social practice artistic venture designed to create awareness of our role in peacemaking through dialogue and art making. http://perspectivegallery.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-peace-project.html

Other projects at the Perspective Gallery include campus engagement such as through the interactive project "What Color is Water?" which helps educate the public about water quality. http://perspectivegallery.blogspot.com/2016/04/art-reach-what-color-is-water.html http://perspectivegallery.blogspot.com/2018/03/community-created-art-in-what-color-is.html

There was an exhibit at the Moss Arts Center presenting works of art that demonstrate the devastating ways human activity impacts the environment. This exhibit was free to the community and educational class tours could be scheduled. More information can be found here: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2021/01/mac-unbearablebeauty.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsDailyCMP_012821-fs

The Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has created the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture. The center’s work will operate in the intersection of technology, data analytics, and decisions to address challenges and security in the natural world and in human society in the domains of plants, animals, and food systems. More information can be found here: https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2021/01/cals-center-for-advanced-innovation-in-agriculture.html?utm_source=cmpgn_news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vtUnirelNewsDailyCMP_012521-fs

Nathan King, Campus Sustainability Planner, naking@vt.edu, (540) 231-7358,
Facilities Department


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:

Students have the opportunity to participate with and to serve with officials from the Town of Blacksburg and surrounding communities to advance sustainability in our region. Internships with the Town of Blacksburg government are very common and students work on real world issues.

A Practicing Sustainability class (NR 4444) has students partner with local businesses and perform sustainability analyses of current practices and formulate suggestions for ways in which the small businesses can move forward in a more sustainable way while volunteering their time to help support the local business and learn the ins and outs to make more informed suggestions for improved sustainability.

During the 2019-2020 school year, water team interns with the Office of Sustainability created an interactive information wall at Wonder Universe: A Children's Museum in nearby Christiansburg to education children and their parents on the importance of keeping water clean, recognizing how much water you're using, and taught viewers about stormwater. They also assisted with the grant writing process and had discussions about the design of an interactive water table that will be placed at the children's museum in the future, allowing for demonstrations of the movement of water throughout ecosystems and communities.

The Green Tailgate Team also continues to operate each year and utilizes student volunteers from many student clubs/organizations to engage with the public who are tailgating in the parking lots around Lane Stadium. Groups of approximately 15 - 30 students instruct tailgaters how to properly recycle at Virginia Tech and in Montgomery County during each home football game.

Nathan King, Campus Sustainability Planner, naking@vt.edu, (540) 231-7358,
Facilities Department


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:

The Campus Energy Manager and Environmental Engineer are responsible for monitoring our greenhouse gas emissions and tracking our progress for reduction. Student interns are recruited to assist them with the gathering of the data and with displaying that on an excel spreadsheet. This information is a key component of our Sustainability Annual Report which is viewed by senior University leadership and the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. In addition, student interns assisted with gathering data and information for several STARS credits in the Operations Category to include OP 2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Rob Lowe, Environmental Engineer, rlowe@vt.edu, 540-231-2510


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:

Jason Pearman (Building Automation System Supervisor, Facilities Engineering Operations, Facilities Department) takes students in the Environmental Building Systems class (about 100-135 students per class, 3rd year BS. Arch) to tour the mechanical systems in Cowgill Hall (CAUS) and the Southwest Chiller Plant. The Cowgill Hall tour has benefited the students by allowing them to see one of the largest air handling units on campus, and in some cases to even walk inside it. Cowgill Hall is an especially good building for this tour because the mechanical systems are partially exposed in the ceiling, and the students are familiar with the building's operation. The Southwest Chiller Plant tours are helpful for explaining both the energy and water use impact of cooling systems in buildings. Within our reporting period, Jason Pearman gave four tours, each with 100-135 students.

The Reflective Roofing Research project (at Vet Med) involved students from the BS. Arch, MS. Arch, and Ph.D. in Architecture and Design Research degree programs. Because Facilities cooperated with the research agenda for this project, the students learned about the impacts of roof reflectivity on air temperatures above roofs, and on surfaces of materials adjacent to roofs (e.g. metal conduits and opaque and glazed walls). Students also learned about how to apply low-slope roof membranes and install monitoring and data logging equipment.

Elizabeth Grant, Associate Professor, School of Architecture + Design, and Associate Director, Center for High Performance Environments, elgrant2@vt.edu, (540) 231-0609, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

This year Virginia Tech’s facilities group worked with two local school districts to put on a tour of campus for middle school students with the goal of increasing interest in STEM fields. The tour included stops at our power plant, quarry, chiller plant, facilities operational headquarters, and several high-performance buildings. Along with these stops, the groups of students had short presentations from faculty architects, engineers, and mechanics that highlighted sustainable building design elements and energy-efficient practices that are used here. This year the program had approximately 80 participants, and next year’s tour is planning to accommodate over 400 students.

Scott Kerklo, P.E. Mechanical Engineer, Facilities Department, skerklo@vt.edu, (540) 231-7840.

Office of Sustainability student interns worked with the Office of Alternative Transportation and the Office of University Planning to update Virginia Tech's Bike Parking Master Plan (BPMP). The BPMP displays where current bike parking options exist and lays out suggestions for the placement of future bike parking options as the university expands. Ensuring that there is adequate bike parking at or near every building on campus helps promote the use of more sustainable alternative transportation options.


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:

The Steam Plant is perhaps the best example of Virginia Tech use of campus facilities as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research. Our Co-Generation Plant provides steam for heat and hot water, and chilled water for air conditioning, and its steam turbine provides a small amount of electricity for the campus. Plant Operations Manager Ted Acord works directly with faculty members to support student education and research. He hosts tours for university students. Most of those students have majors within the College of Engineering, the College of Science, and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. In addition, he hosts seniors from nearby Blacksburg High School. These tours and partnerships have continued throughout the following years.

Ted A. Acord, Plant Operations Manager, Virginia Tech Power Plant, tacord@exchange.vt.edu, (540) 231-5722, Facilities Department.

Each year Jason Pearman (Building Automation System Supervisor, Facilities Engineering Operations, Facilities Department) has taken students in the Environmental Building Systems class (about 100-135 students per class, 3rd year BS. Arch) to tour the mechanical systems in Cowgill Hall (CAUS) and the Southwest Chiller Plant. The Cowgill Hall tour has benefited the students by allowing them to see one of the largest air handling units on campus, and in some cases to even walk inside it. Cowgill Hall is an especially good building for this tour because the mechanical systems are partially exposed in the ceiling, and the students are familiar with the building's operation. The Southwest Chiller Plant tours are helpful for explaining both the energy and water use impact of cooling systems in buildings.

Elizabeth Grant, Associate Professor, School of Architecture + Design, and Associate Director, Center for High Performance Environments, elgrant2@vt.edu, (540) 231-0609, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.


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:

Homefield Farm is a partnership between Dining Services and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The six-acre educational farm grows fruits, vegetables, and herbs for Virginia Tech Dining Services, and serves as a site of experiential student learning, interdisciplinary research, and community outreach. Homefield Farm Stand is a pop up stand placed outside of Turner Place dining hall every Tuesday from 2:30-5:30 which allows students to purchase fresh produce right on campus. The Farm Manager, Alex Hessler, teaches hands-on classes at Homefield Farm. These classes allow students to gain hands-on sustainable agriculture experience while also growing food for Dining Services. The farm is also used for agricultural research. https://dining.vt.edu/sustainability/homefieldfarm.html

Blake Bensman, Sustainability Manager, bensman@vt.edu, (540)-231-3064,
Virginia Tech Dining Services and Housing & Residence Life.


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:

Dr. Eric Wiseman pays quite a bit of attention to the campus urban forest because it is instructive to see how trees respond and develop over time. He uses observations to support his teaching and to incorporate examples of the good and the bad on campus. He brings things he observes to the attention of members of the Facilities Department, with the hope that this information can help improve campus operations, and thereby campus sustainability.

He uses the campus urban forest as an instructional space throughout his courses. In most cases, these activities only indirectly benefit campus sustainability. For example, students his classes probably share with their peers or instructors what they learn on campus and this raises awareness of campus sustainability. Or, we might observe something problematic with campus trees that we then report to campus operations. Other times, we do things that are more directly beneficial. For example, he has instructional labs on tree pruning, planting, and cultivation in a couple of my courses, and we often end up planting or tending trees on campus during labs. We’ve also created tree inventories or reports on occasion that have been utilized by campus operations. The courses that I teach extensively on-campus include: Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation courses FREC 2254, FREC 3354, FREC 3454, and FREC 4454.

His students do a good bit of service-learning on campus. They are involved each year with service projects revolving around Sustainability Week, Earth Day, and Arbor Day. Most commonly they have done tree planting, but we’ve also held educational activities on campus to raise awareness about urban forests on Arbor Day.

P. Eric Wiseman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Urban Forestry, pwiseman@vt.edu,(540) 231-5148, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment.

Office of University Planning Site Planner Bob Massengale has worked with a number of students in support of Pamela Vickers (Director ADA and Access) Accessibility Program with activities including site visits, design and development meetings and feedback sessions. Bob works with Dr. Wiseman on tree and plant performance and testing, Dr. Susan Day (Associate Professor, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation) in exploring better soil remediation and preparation strategies, and Dr. Holly Scoggins (Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture) on perennials a the Hahn Horticulture Garden.

Bob Massengale, Site Planner, Office of University Planning, mmassen@vt.edu, (540) 231-4961, Facilities Department.

Office of Sustainability student interns worked during the fall of 2019 to create updated stickers which they placed on all Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors and recycling bins that clearly explain what can and cannot be recycled on campus. Having updated signage right on the bins is more likely to catch people's eyes, can help keep trash and recycling better sorted, and may help lead to an increased rate of recycling.


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:

Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability interns on the food team worked with Dining Services Sustainability Manager Blake Bensman during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years to go through the purchasing software used by dining services (FoodPro) to label ordered products as local, recyclable, compostable, and other sustainability-related tags. This allows for more conscious decisions about the impacts that ordered products may have on the environment to be made during the purchasing process.

Blake Bensman, Sustainability Manager, bensman@vt.edu, (540)-231-3064,
Virginia Tech Dining Services and Housing & Residence Life.


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 Alternative Transportation unit of Parking and Transportation is directly responsible for the programs at the university aimed at creating a sustainable working environment for all faculty, staff, and students. This is accomplished through multiple programs and with the assistance of several undergraduate and graduate level student interns. The student interns are given the opportunity to develop program management skills and to use their passions for sustainability to help further the goals of the university. The programs of the unit are described below:

Alternative Transportation promotes and encourages sustainable transportation programs including: bicycling, walking, vanpooling, carpooling, car sharing, and transit use for local, regional, and out of state travel. The mission of the department is to help people get to and from campus in any mode of transportation other than a single occupancy vehicle. The programs include Commuter Alternative Programs such as the Bus, Bike, and Walk Program and the Carpool Program, Van Pools, Car Sharing, and Transit.

Blacksburg Transit provides public transportation for faculty, staff, and students of Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech makes up over 95% of the passengers for Blacksburg Transit and supports the needs of the Virginia Tech community. Virginia Tech employees and students ride fare-free by showing their Hokie Passport. Blacksburg Transit transports an average of 3.5 million riders per year.

Transportation options outside of Blacksburg include the SmartWay shuttle (Valley Metro Transit), providing service between Roanoke and the Virginia Tech Campus, including the Blacksburg-Roanoke Airport. Other options include the SmartWay Connector, College Transit, Home Ride of Virginia, and Megabus to help faculty, staff, and students get from the Blacksburg campus to locations within and out of Virginia.
http://parking.vt.edu/alternative.html

Jeri Baker, Director, Parking and Transportation Services, jab518@vt.edu, (540) 231-9905, Parking and Transportation Services Department.

Nick Quint from the Alternative Transportation unit of Parking and Transportation served as an advisor to student interns from the Office of Sustainability during the 2019-2020 academic year to assist in updating the university's Bike Parking Master Plan. This master plan details the university's plan for accommodating the growth of the Virginia Tech campus and student body in a way that will adequately provide sufficient bike parking in all areas of campus. Ensuring for easy access to bike parking is a key way to encourage the use of bikes as a form of alternative transportation.

Nick Quint, Transportation Network Manager, nquint@vt.edu, (540) 231-2701, Virginia Tech Alternative Transportation.


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:

The Office of Sustainability sponsors the “Tailgate Recycling Program” for home football games. Our student Tailgate Recycling Coordinator is responsible for planning and executing the event with assistance from the Facilities Department, the YMCA at Virginia Tech, and various student groups that provided student volunteers. Volunteers assemble at the YMCA’s Lancaster House near Lane Stadium several hours before game time where they receive training and recycling supplies prior to engaging patrons in the major parking lots. During the 2019 football season we held seven tailgate recycling events. Over 80 student volunteers engaged with an estimated 30,000 fans to provide recycling instruction and encourage their participation. Virginia Tech collected a record 6.29 tons of single stream recycling material which represented five times the amount received from the previous year.

Dennis C. Cochrane, Sustainability Program Manager, denniscc@vt.edu, (540) 231-5184, Facilities Department.

The Environmental Student Organization, a student club, works directly with our Office of Environmental Health and Safety to support the “Battery Recycling Program.” Collection containers were recently purchased with funds from the student Green RFP Program, and they are placed in high traffic areas campus wide such as the Squires Student Center. In the past the only option student had to recycle batteries was to bring them across campus the EHS warehouse. The new program allows students to use containers that are conveniently placed in the academic, administration, and student auxiliary locations.

Rob Lowe, Environmental Manager, rlowe@vt.edu, (540) 231-2510, Environmental Health and Safety Department.

Office of Sustainability student interns partnered with Dining Services and Housing and Residence Life to develop a Zero Waste Event Guide that can be provided to student organizations or employees at Virginia Tech who may be interested in holding a zero waste event or learning ways to make their event less wasteful. This guide created a standard for requesting, operating, and measuring the impact of a zero waste event. The standards created by this guide educate students and staff on how to effectively manage waste. Not only does this guide educate its readers, but it also comes with a request form for anyone who is interested in holding an event to request compostable or recyclable items as well as signage about the event's zero waste goals.


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:

The Office of Sustainability's Water Team of student interns is working with Katelyn Kast, the Water Resources Specialist for the Virginia Tech Facilities Department to create an education video on benthic macroinvertebrates and how they can be used as indicators of water quality. The audience of this educational video is middle school students and by creating content in this partnership and delivering that content to nearby younger students in the community, our student interns will be educating others on not only the importance of water quality and how to measure it, but also how to affect it. The video will cover topics such as run off and pollution as well as ways to live more sustainably in order to mitigate those negative impacts.


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:

Earth Week has traditionally been a student planned and executed University program led by the student group Environmental Coalition in cooperation with student interns from the Office of Sustainability. It is held annually and packaged around the nationally recognized Earth Day, April 22. Earth Week is planned months in advance through repeated forums where leaders and members of sustainability-related student groups, professors of environmentally and sustainability-related courses, members of the local Blacksburg community who hold positions with town government, and concerned citizens and students come together to suggest and plan ideas and events for a week full of events centered around different themes such as waste, energy, water, food, and community.

The Office of Sustainability oversees a robust Student Sustainability Intern Program. Students are organized into four person teams to include: the Water Team, the Energy Team, the Waste Team, and the Food Team. Team members meet weekly to plan and coordinate events and activities that will promote sustainability on campus either through outreach events or development of projects to help Virginia Tech meet its goals outlined in the Climate Action Commitment. All intern members meet biweekly for general coordination and guidance, and participate in professional development and education. Each student has the opportunity to lead a team event and plan and coordinate all the details with the appropriate university faculty and staff personnel.

Nathan King, Campus Sustainability Planner, naking@vt.edu, (540) 231-7358,
Facilities Department


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:

Virginia Tech opened all gender bathrooms in the Squires Student Center and Graduate Life Center. These all gender bathrooms were implemented following suggestions by the student group Project P and members of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, which is housed in Squires Student Center.

In 2018 Virginia Tech created Ujima, a new Living Learning Community. Living Learning Communities are extensions of residence halls designed to connect students' academic and co-curricular experiences to create a supportive, dynamic learning environment that becomes home. The focus of Ujima as an LLC is to place a special emphasis on understanding the unique experiences of African-Americans in society, including their experiences in college. Ujima is open to students of all backgrounds.

The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) provides encouragement and support to engineering students, focusing on the under-represented population. The objectives and goals of the CEED program are to increase the diversity of students who apply to, enroll, and graduate from the College of Engineering; to increase the awareness of engineering and other technical fields and an exciting and rewarding career path to a diverse population; to provide support to student organizations that support their mission, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and Council for the Advancement of Minority Engineering Organizations, and; to foster collaboration between the CEED, the University, industry, and the local community. https://eng.vt.edu/ceed/about-ceed.html


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

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

Investment: In order to advance the programmatic goals of the institution, the Investment Committee authorizes up to a 5% allocation to Program Related Investments (PRI) to be administered by the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with staff. Embedded within the 5% target are allocations not to exceed $12 million in support of student-led investment groups. There a currently three student groups that invest funds for the Foundation. SEED manages a $5 million equity portfolio. BASIS manages a $5M fixed income portfolio. COINS manages an agricultural and energy equity portfolio of more than $1 million. By investing real money and participating in live trading, our members develop technical expertise in commodity market analysis and trading, as well as a wide range of soft skills.

SEED: https://seed.pamplin.vt.edu/
BASIS: http://www.basis.pamplin.vt.edu/
COINS: http://www.coins.aaec.vt.edu/

John J. Cusimano, University Treasurer and Associate Vice President for Finance, Virginia Tech Foundation, cusi@vt.edu, (540) 231-7094, Investment and Debt Management Department.

The Green Request for Proposal for Sustainability Initiatives by Student Organizations (Green RFP Program) was established in 2010 to give students an opportunity to help make Virginia Tech a national leader in campus sustainability. Students are given the opportunity each year to submit a proposal for a sustainable idea that they would like to see implemented on the university's Blacksburg, Virginia campus. The goal of the program is to have approved proposals funded and implemented within the same academic year. As of May 2019, the program has approved 81 students proposals totaling more than $1 million. Students are able to align their interests and sustainable goals with those of the university by partnering with appropriate university officials to create viable requests.

The Office of Sustainability has partnered with an Environmental Policy and Planning class for many years now. Students group up and develop Green RFPs for an assignment. Not only does this encourage policy students to identify issues in current planning and operations of the university, but it also gives them the opportunity to write a proposal similar to how they might write one in their professional career. All the while this partnership allows for the advertisement of the program and the advancement of sustainability at Virginia Tech. Even with classes moving to a virtual setting due to COVID, the partnership continues. Director of Sustainability, Denny Cochrane, filmed a video with Professor Todd Schenk to introduce the program and educate students on the process. The video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KOB4rNn-tQ

More information on the Green RFP program, including a full list of previously accepted proposals, can be found here: https://www.facilities.vt.edu/sustainability/sustainability-programs/green-rfp-program.html


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:

The Hokie Wellness department collaborates with campus partners to offer cooking and gardening classes to encourage students and employees to learn how to grow and cook their own food. Nutrition classes are also offered to educate the campus community on food insecurity, sustainability and healthy nutrition options.

The Hokie Wellness faculty conducted focus groups with the two Hokie Wellness peer student education groups – the Health Education Awareness Team (HEAT) and the Initiating and Motivating a Positive Alcohol Culture Together (IMPACT) – to gather student input on wellness, sustainability, and health for the Cannon Design Virginia Tech health and wellness feasibility study. The study is evaluating the spaces on campus that are utilized by the health and wellness departments and what can be done to improve, expand and strategically plan for future use of the spaces for the growing needs of the health and wellness departments on campus.

The Hokie Wellness department collaborates with the Masters of Public Health program, the Human, Foods, Nutrition and Exercise program, and the Nutrition Counseling program to offer field study, internships and practicums to students interested in working in the health and wellness field. Students have completed multiple health and wellness projects. One example is a student offered blood pressure checks and blood pressure education to employees. Students also offer free nutrition counseling for employees by students.

The Division of Student Affairs Health and Wellness areas works with the Student Government Association to develop the Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT) to examine the broader health and wellness efforts on campus such as working to establish a Tobacco-Free Campus policy. The team did initiated a successful Sleep Campaign in April 2017 to educate students and employees on the importance of sleep on their health and wellbeing. https://hokiewellness.vt.edu/

Cathy Kropff, Director of Hokie Wellness, ckropff@vt.edu, (540) 231-8878, Hokie Wellness Department.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment states "Virginia Tech will maintain a sustainability office to work with the faculty and departments to manage a campus-wide student internship and undergraduate research program using the campus as a sustainability laboratory."
(Presidential Policy Memorandum No. 262, Revision 1, dated May 9, 2013).

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.