Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.39
Liaison Amy Knisley
Submission Date Aug. 24, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Warren Wilson College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Alison Climo
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
Institutional Effectiveness
"---" 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 No

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:

Students continue to research land management techniques on carbon sequestration including completing an inventory of all 1,500 core campus trees. Student won the AASHE "best case study from a four-year or graduate institution with 10,000 or fewer full-time students" for that research. Students continue to use the campus' 1,200 acres of land as a resource for researching the impact of climate change on various plants and animals, the results of which are shared through capstone presentations both on- and off-campus.


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:

Students are involved in every aspect of maintaining our LEED certified buildings, including the LEED Platinum EB EcoDorm. Students are engaged in practical skill development from electrical to plumbing, carpentry to painting, and the ecologically-based choices needed to sustain compliance with LEED standards and best-practices.


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:

Together with our third-party vendor, Sodexo, and its on-campus Sustainability Officer and the Local Foods Crew, students advance the College's Sustainable Dining Policy that calls for 50% of all food in the cafeteria to come from "sustainable sources." Students operate the WWC Farm that delivers meat for the cafeteria. The student-run WWC Garden delivers the majority of produce to the vegan on-campus cafe. Combined, the Farm and Garden provide 18% of produce used by Sodexo Dining Services.


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:

As a Work College, students are engaged in all aspects of maintaining the campus. They are intimately involved in the daily operations of building science, energy planning, and resource management. Student are active and informed participants in energy-based decision making.


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:

Students on the Landscaping Crew manage eight acres of native grass and wildflowers incorporated into the campus landscape allowing the reduction of our mowed-footprint of the core campus. Students in conservation biology partnered with the Landscaping Crew to secure NWF Wildlife Habit Designation of the campus. WWC is the recipient of a three-year, $129,000 National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education grant to investigate Southern Appalachian ecosystems’ responses to global change. The College along with three partner Appalachian institutions—UNC Asheville, East Tennessee State University and Appalachian State University—will “create common gardens and to develop modules that can guide students’ research studies to address potential impacts of global change at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy, from genes to ecosystems.”


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:

Students working with the Purchasing Office implement the College's Purchasing Pattern Language that outlines sustainable and regionally-focused buying criteria.


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:

WWC, in partnership with the City of Asheville and the Town of Black Mountain, provide access to ART (Asheville Redefines Transit) buses, free of charge. Students are encouraged to not have cars on campus and utilize this service as urban centers and recreational destinations. Students manage the Community Bike Shop that performs bike repairs at cost for students and employees to keep bikes in action.


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:

Students on the campus Recycling Crew divert 50% of campus waste from the landfill through a variety of recycling and reusing techniques including managing the campus compost operation that composts 100% of campus food waste as well as WWC farm and garden waste, and vegetable waste from the local farmers market. A recent grant from WNC Communities and WNC Farmers Market allowed for the construction of a composting demonstration site on-campus. With the recent completion of the new facility, the Recycling and Solid Waste crew has increased composting capacity and has begun accepting compostable materials from the WNC Farmers Market.


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:

Utilizing a grant from the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the College has completed a new animal watering system for pasture-raised pork. The system uses well-water, removing a large portion of livestock from the city water supply. Students are involved the installation, maintenance, and continued use of this system, gaining a better understanding of agricultural practices and urban and rural water systems.


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 newly restructured Forum serves as the employee interface with campus governance. Three Forum committees--Budget Oversight, Strategic Planning, and Policy Review--work with administrative leadership to govern the campus along with Student Government Association that represents the student body. Employees and students have an active and meaningful role in all campus governance issues with the exception of sensitive or Trustee level legal, financial, and personnel issues. Students, through the governance system, have led and assisted the College in adopting Responsible Investment Policy. Warren Wilson College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to divest endowment funds from fossil fuels by 2020.


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 the College’s reaccreditation process, the campus community identified BUILDING Diversity: Inclusive Excellence Across the Triad as its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Through the QEP we will DISCOVER where we need to change by engaging the community in ongoing conversations, CHALLENGE the status quo by training 6-8 Diversity Fellows per year to lead Change Projects, and CHANGE the WWC education to be more accessible, inclusive and representative.


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:

Warren Wilson College's Work Program helps students to develop healthy work-life habits. To this end, the Office of Occupational Safety & Training ensures that students learn safe work skills through job-specific trainings, certifications, and access to resources. Supervisors of all work crews are expected to model healthy work-life habits, including promoting self-care and wellness activities. Many crews on campus support student health and well-being, including, the on-campus clinic, Wellness Crew, Spiritual Life, Center for Gender and Relationships, Wilson Inclusion Diversity and Equity Office, Allies in Substance Abuse Prevention, and the DeVries Gym crew.


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 serve on the investment advisory committee.


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:


Students are completing academic capstone work in collaboration with community partners in the areas of environmental science as well as political science looking at justice issues related to living wages, voting access, land use in the community, water quality on and off campus. Students host events on environmental issues and the public are invited. The campus hosts local groups including Leadership Western North Carolina on campus to learn more about environmental issues.



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.