Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.10
Liaison Kimberly Hodge
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

Washington and Lee University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Nicole Poulin
Campus Garden Manager
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:

The Student Environmental Action League (SEAL) hosts several events during Campus Sustainability Month (and throughout the academic year) that encourage sustainable behaviors on campus. One specific project is a Weigh the Waste event at the main dining hall, where food waste is collected and reported out to the whole campus for that specific day.


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:

All Environmental Studies majors at Washington and Lee University are required to
take ENV 111 Environmental Service Learning. Environmental Service Learning is a one credit class where students engage in sustainability or environmental issues in the Rockbridge Area community. Projects taken on during the course of the class include partnerships with the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, Boxerwood Nature Preserve, Natural Bridge State Park, and other opportunities to engage the community on issues of sustainability. Students also gather for one hour every week to discuss their involvement and sustainability issues.

A recent project involved four students surveying users of a local trail to determine trail user satisfaction. A report was drawn up and given to the trail's friends group to help inform their advocacy work with the rest of the community.


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:

Most Geology lab courses include a weekly lab that is conducted outdoors where
students learn about the geology of the area over time, including how varying climates including modern global climate change have altered the local geology. Students also observe how varying air compositions over time impact the local geology. During the Spring Term, Geology classes meet 9-5 Monday through Friday with these labs being conducted outside for the majority of the day. Much of the lab work is conducted on W&L's campus in areas such as Paniel Farm, Woods Creek, and the on-campus woodlands.


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:

An engineering group of three students investigated the possibility of green roofs on campus, specifically a green roof for a large pergola structure in the Campus Garden. They worked on it the whole 2018-2019 school year with combined efforts from the Campus Garden Manager, the University Architect, and other members in facilities, such as the carpenters. They came up with a realistic design that we will be able to build in the near future.

ENV 220 is slated for spring 2020: Campus Sustainability Consulting and LEED Expertise. Using the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems and working alongside sustainability consultants, students investigate the W&L campus grounds and facilities and develop detailed action plans for the university, in order to meet sustainability and climate goals and maximize credits toward a LEED Campus designation. The consulting teams present their findings to decision makers in order to assist W&L in achieving LEED Silver Certification or better for all new construction and major renovations.


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:

Both Global Climate Change and Sustainability Accounting students have worked with the Energy Specialists to use our energy dashboard to gather information and create energy models for the campus.


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:

The Campus Garden is used by many different classes and for different types of research on campus. Students have used the campus garden as a living laboratory to learn more about nutrition and growing food in classes like Food for Thought (2018-2019 school year). It has also been used in biology classes for soil experimentation, growing greens in different soil mediums and studying the results (2017-2018 school year).

At the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, Sustainability Interns went to every dining venue on campus to collect and log all of the to-go ware that we use on campus. This list was then used by Dining Services to switch everything to compostable to-go ware.


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:

A student conducted an experiment on campus that looked at replacing traditional mulch with a more sustainable groundcover (in this case, thyme) to see if the groundcover would over time decrease labor needs, water needs for the shrubs it surrounded, while at the same time looking aesthetically pleasing. This was intended to be the start of his capstone project, but it ultimately failed when he did a term abroad and had a miscommunication with another student about tending to the plants.

Our lead grounds person also regularly assists student projects related to gardening. He most recently helped advise a group of students who are working on educational,sensory gardens at the local (on-campus) Montessori school.


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?:
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:

Sustainability interns are involved in a waste audit for the whole university during the 2019/2020 school year. One student in particular is a member of our Waste Minimization Task Force, and is doing substantial work on waste audits and understanding our waste and procurement systems. She will compile and report on the results for her end-of-the-year capstone project.


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:

During the Water Resources and Hydrology courses, students keep track of their water usage for at least a full week of time. In order to finish the project, students must determine how much water is used during showers depending on their showerhead and water source, toilets, and other appliances. Additionally, in every introductory biology course and many geology courses, students interact with local streams, one of which flows through campus (Woods Creek) to count benthic macroinvertebrates and use other methods to determine the health of local 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?:
Yes

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

Students were added to the 2017-2018 Strategic Planning process. Some were assigned to the overall task force, while others were placed on theme-specific subcommittees.

Two to three students are also assigned to be representatives on the University Sustainability Committee every year, which aims to lead the university community in education and action toward sustainability. The USC wrote a submission for the strategic planning process, which included the voice of our student representatives at the time.

We also involved two Sustainability interns in gathering data for this report.


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:

"The University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC) reports to the President and is charged to provide guidance to the President and other members of the university as we build a supportive, inclusive and diverse community and create a climate open and welcoming to persons from diverse backgrounds. The committee represents the views of students, staff, administration, and faculty and was created to help the University fulfill its institutional values that stress the importance of the individual and respect for others. Each year the committee produces an annual report on our campus climate, especially with respect to inclusiveness and diversity, that charts the university's progress on key longitudinal measures."

Additionally, students were assigned to sit on the Commission on Institutional History and Community. "President Dudley charged the commission "to lead us in an examination of how our history — and the ways that we teach, discuss, and represent it —shapes our community." He directed the commission to examine "how we can best present our physical campus to take full advantage of its educational potential in a manner that is consistent with our core values." He instructed the commission to "create various opportunities to engage in conversation with all corners of the community," and to "meet with existing groups whose ongoing work relates to some of these issues, including the Working Group on the History of African-Americans at W&L, the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate, and the University Collections of Art and History Advisory Committee.""


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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.