Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.40
Liaison Jennifer Bodine
Submission Date April 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Bonnie Christiansen
Academic Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Practices and Research Center
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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:

1) Professor (K Stevenson) and other professors in visual arts department worked with students to create sustainability-focused artwork for the Intermountain Sustainability Summit hosted on campus each year. (https://www.weber.edu/WSUToday/030821_SustainabilitySummit.html)

2) The WSU Dance and Moving Company presented Sojourners, a sustainability-themed choreographic project for the virtual Intermountain Sustainability Summit in 2021 titled “Orchesis Dancing in the Stream” directed by Jo Blake and Erik Stern. (https://www.weber.edu/PerformingArts/Orchesis_Sojourners.html)

3) Student interns in the Sustainability Practices and Research Center work each fall and spring semester to develop sustainability-focused newsletters, social media, and create fliers and other materials to get the word out about what is happening on campus. (https://weber.edu/sustainability/newsletters.html)


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:

1) For the past few years, students in GEOG 3060 World Environmental Issues class have completed various service projects related to sustainability on and off-campus. In the Fall 2021 semester, the students volunteered for the Ogden River Cleanup project, put on by Weber State Community Engagement Team, WSU Geography Department and Ogden City Recreation to help clean and restore the Ogden River. These students were able to apply their knowledge gained from their course to this service project which helped to advance sustainability through public engagement.(https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/2021/October.html)

2) A group of students in the Communications 2110 course were required to complete a service project centered around having environmentally friendly interactions with others either by educating the public about the environment or contributing to directly helping the environment. To meet this requirement, the group of students in this course volunteered for the Empower Northern Utah Energy Efficiency Community Program hosted by WSU’s Sustainability Practices & Research Center (SPARC) where they helped distribute energy efficient LED light bulbs and smart thermostats to participating community members of Weber and Davis counties. (https://www.weber.edu/empower)

3) In the fall 2021 semester, a student intern in SPARC (Sustainability Practices & Research Center) who earned cooperative work experience class credit through their internship assisted with the Empower Northern Utah Energy Efficiency Community Program by staffing a table in a public library to serve community members interested in obtaining energy efficiency upgrades. Free energy efficient LED light bulbs were offered in exchange for old inefficient bulbs, as well as free and discounted smart thermostats. This helped to advance sustainability on campus in relation to public engagement by helping to improve the lives of local community members and increase sustainability practices across northern Utah. Additionally, this intern assisted with promoting the Intermountain Sustainability Summit hosted on WSU’s campus for WSU faculty, students and staff as well as community members.


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:

Since 2016, WSU has hosted the Clear the Air Challenge -- a month long and statewide competition where local businesses, universities, and communities compete to reduce emissions in the month of February (in 2022, the challenge has moved to July). Each year the campus participation in this program is co-coordinated by a student intern and an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Energy & Sustainability Office.
https://weber.edu/sustainability/CTAC.html


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:

1) Students in the GEOG 4950 field course learned about straw bale construction and clean energy production with Community Rebuilds, a local nonprofit in Moab which focuses on providing affordable, energy efficient and sustainable housing to the workforce in the Moab community. Students are educated about the intersection between social sustainability and ecological sustainable housing. This class was conducted in 2019, 2020, and has plans to continue in the spring of 2022. (https://www.weber.edu/issummit/archives/speakers/2020/bryan-dorsey.html)

2) Students from the Weber State Department of Construction & Building Sciences made up the senior project team representing the programs of Building Design & Construction, Interior Design, and Construction Management of the sustainable, Net-Zero energy home in Ogden City. Construction started fall of 2019 and finished up summer of 2020.
https://www.weber.edu/solardecathlon


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:

Weber State University was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2020 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon collegiate competition to design and build a Net-Zero energy home in Ogden City. Construction started fall of 2019 and finished up summer of 2020. This was both designed and constructed by students from the Department of Construction & Building Sciences who made up the senior project team representing the programs of Building Design & Construction, Interior Design, and Construction Management. The sustainable Net-Zero home is 100% offset by solar power, is an all-electric-powered home, and is furnished with sustainable materials. Further, the students won first place for energy performance.
https://www.weber.edu/solardecathlon


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:

1) Students in the NUTR 1240 Nutrition and Sustainable Cooking course utilize the Garden and Greenhouse on campus. In the laboratory experience, they develop skills, knowledge, and competencies for individuals to support more sustainable ways to acquire, prepare, and consume food to support a healthier population and environment. Principles of food science are applied in a foods lab that aides in developing basic culinary skills. (https://catalog.weber.edu/preview_course_nopop.php?catoid=18&coid=74823)

2) Students involved in the SOC 1010 course in the fall 2021 semester volunteered for the student-led WSU Chapter of Food Recovery Network (the largest student-led movement in the U.S.) to reduce food waste and increase food security. The volunteers were introduced to what food security means and how it impacts the ability to maintain an equitable society in our local community, as well as in the country at large. Volunteers also learned about the scope of food waste across the product lifecycle, the environmental and economic impacts of food waste, and alternatives such as composting or donating recovered food. This advanced sustainability on campus by reducing food waste from the Shepherd Union and addressing food insecurity by donating the recovered food to WSU’s Food Pantry and the Lantern House – a local homeless shelter in the community.
https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/food-recovery-network.html


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:

1) Student researchers assist Professor Dr. Cavitt in the College of Science to conduct monthly point counts of Avifauna at a banding station on campus. This is done for both class projects and research. The banding station not only helps to monitor bird productivity and survival, but also protects the ecological site from being developed.
https://faculty.weber.edu/jcavitt/about.htm

2) There have been a number of campus Tree Plantings and Xeriscaping projects held each semester coordinated by student interns in the Energy & Sustainability Office and Weber State’s Facilities Management team. The Xeriscaping projects replace water intensive plants with drought-tolerant and water wise plants which advances sustainability on campus in relation to grounds by reducing water use. In addition to water conservation, the Tree Planting projects help to advance sustainability on campus in relation to grounds by sequestering carbon dioxide. There are usually 5-9 trees planted each semester and each tree planted sequesters about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/past-projects.html


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:

Weber State University’s Honors Department teaches REAL projects class every fall and spring semester where students can get experience managing projects and solving real community problems. Jennifer Bodine worked with the Fall 2021 class to help Ogden City analyze whether or not electric vehicles are a viable option to help the City address air pollution problems along the Wasatch Front. Specifically, the students were asked to conduct a feasibility study and to create a GIS map providing recommendations for EV charging station locations throughout the City. The students worked with Rocky Mountain Power (Ogden’s local electrical utility company) and Ogden City transportation, GIS, planning, and public utilities staff to complete this assessment. See attached class flier in supporting documents.


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:

1) Students in the WSU courses (SOC 1010, COMM 2110, UNIV 1105 and GEOG 3060) volunteered with the student-led WSU Sustainable Clubs (Environmental Ambassadors, WSU Chapter of Food Recovery Network, Community Garden Club and WSU Chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby) in the fall of 2021 for the “Wildcats Go Zero-Waste” events to help advance WSU’s Zero-Waste by 2030 goal through the Zero Waste Athletics Plan Pilot at Football and Men’s Basketball games. Before each event, volunteers received training on the goal, the history of recycling in Ogden, what recycling contamination is, and how contamination impacts our ability to maintain access to recycling services. Further, volunteers were equipped with proper recycling knowledge and behavior change strategies to implement during the games in an effort to increase recycling rates. The fall 2021 football season closed with 90 pounds of clean recycling. (Article on this is in the December 2021 Sustainability Newsletter - https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/2021/December.html.)

2) A Geography student completed their Senior Thesis in the spring of 2019 on a convergent mixed methods study titled “Got Plastic? Examining Weber State University Students’ Environmental Attitudes on Plastic Consumption.” The purpose was to study the relationship between environmental attitudes on plastic consumption behaviors of WSU students to understand how the two variables directly influence each other, and to ultimately understand the attitude-behavior gap of recycling or plastic waste reducing behaviors. The Research questions were "(a) What motivates people to buy or avoid plastics?" and "(b) Is there a positive association between environmental concern/knowledge and plastic consumption?" The data analysis suggested that (a) gender, higher class standing, and stronger environmental concern/ knowledge/attitudes motivates individuals to buy or avoid plastics. As for question (b), the datum suggested that possessing a positive association between environmental concern/knowledge and plastic consumption was true for the most part. According to the research advisor, Dr. Bryan Dorsey, this project “…makes a significant contribution to our understanding of environmental attitudes and recycling efforts at WSU.”
See Research poster here: https://apps.weber.edu/wsuimages/ISSummit/2020/Got%20Plastic%20Poster%20Final%20(Updated).pdf


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:

Students from the Sociology 3300 (Environment & Society) class worked on a community-based research project concerning attitudes about water, water usage, and conservation at Weber State University from 2020-2021 titled "Uncovering Attitudes Towards Water at Weber State University." The students in the class and research assistants conducted focus groups interviews to understand the perceptions that Weber State University students, faculty and staff hold about water and water conservation on campus. Student presented the research findings to Weber State’s Energy & Sustainability office and Facilities Management. These findings helped inform the campus Water Action Plan. A presentation was given November 9 on this research project in the Fall 2021 Sustainability Snapshots series: https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/snapshots.html.


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:

For the 2022 STARS submission, two student interns in SPARC (Sustainability Practices & Research Center) and two student interns in ESO (Energy & Sustainability Office) were instrumental in gathering and analyzing data for STARS submission (2021-2022).


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?:
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:

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.