Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.38
Liaison Olivia Shehan
Submission Date Nov. 13, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wellesley College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Dorothea Von Herder
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilties
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

ES 300, the capstone environmental course in Environmental Studies, conducted a Greenhouse Gas inventory and plan for the school in the Spring of 2016. The class calculated Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions for the college in 1990 as well as 2015.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Students researched the benefits of using the compost produced by the college to generate biogas. During the 2017-2018 school year students in several dorms collected and weighed the mass of compost properly disposed of by their dorm. This information helps the Office of Sustainability learn how much dorm composting programs would contribute to biogas generation.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

ES 300, the capstone environmental course in Environmental Studies, investigated ways to make Wellesley's food system more sustainable in the Spring of 2017. A description of their project is below.

2017: Women Who Will Farm: a Proposal to Move a Farm onto Campus. In recent years, Wellesley College and its Dining Services have made strides in sustainability through initiatives for composting, local purchasing, and food waste reduction. However, there are still major improvements to be made. This year’s Environmental Studies capstone class reimagines what a sustainable food system could look like at Wellesley College. With an examination of the Regeneration student farm on the North 40 as a starting point, we propose food system improvements that prioritize our whole community’s health and well-being. Our aims are to maximize environmental sustainability, student health, accessibility and equity, academic integration, and economic viability of the College’s food system.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

A student, funded by the Office of Sustainability's "Sustainability Challenge" initiative, conducted a research project on the water usage of sprinkler heads on campus. A description of her project is below.

“The Facilities team at Wellesley College is planning to replace the sprinkler heads at Munger Meadow with new sprinkler heads that have water pressure that can be changed. The goal of my project is to quantify the effect of such a change with regards to water use and conservation. As part of my Wellesley College Sustainability Fellowship, I have arranged to work with members of the Facilities team to collect data on the amount of water used prior to and after the replacement of the sprinkler heads. This will be accomplished by placing sprinkler catch cups around the perimeter of Munger Meadow to measure the amount of water used per section. After the preliminary data is recorded, the old sprinkler heads will be replaced with new sprinkler heads by Facilities. The sprinkler catch cups will be used again, but this time, to measure the effectiveness of the new sprinkler heads. The ultimate goal of this project is to determine how much of a sustainable impact can be made by simply replacing the old sprinkler heads. My data can be used as a persuasive tool to convince the College to make more small yet sustainable changes to the campus. Additionally, the data collected from this project would aid the Facilities team in transitioning to subsurface or drip irrigation.”


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

Two students, shocked by the rampant disposal of reusable dining hall dishes across campus, ran a campaign called "Dissues" (issues + dishes). The dining service Wellesley employs spent $260k over seven years on replacing lost dishes. The students involved with Dissues learned what it takes to launch a behavior-change and sustainability-focused campaign campus-wide.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

ES 300, the capstone environmental course in Environmental Studies, conducted a study on recycling habits at Wellesley in the Spring of 2018. A description of the project is below.

We-cycle: A Systems Approach to Improving Recycling Practices at Wellesley College. In response to China’s waste import ban, the cost of recycling has increased and Wellesley College faces the challenge of restructuring its recycling program to maximize institutional efficiency and promote participation. The 2018 environmental studies capstone class (ES300) was charged with providing recommendations to improve recycling rates across campus. Through research examining the life cycles of recycled items at Wellesley and observations of recycling behavior as influenced by ease and accessibility of recycling on campus, we identified areas of priority and potential growth within our recycling processes. In our analysis, we considered our current system through the lenses of sustainability, practicality, and fiscal feasibility to present recommendations for individual, communal, and institutional changes to recycling on campus. ing, and food waste reduction. However, there are still major improvements to be made.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Every year, ES 101 (Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Lab) samples water from Lake Waban on campus and data is compiled and referenced by future classes and the college. This year GEOS 101 (Earth Processes and the Environment with Lab) students are sampling water from Paramecium Pond to obtain similar water quality data. Other courses also have campus projects involving water: BISC 201 (Ecology with Lab), GEOS 201 (Environmental, Health, and Sustainability Sciences with Lab), GEOS 218 (Geomorphology), GEOS 210 (Hydrogeology).


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

A student intern for the Summer of 2018 gathered and analyzed data for this STARS submission.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

ES 312 Environmental Policy Seminar, which was last taught in the Spring of 2018, has a semester-long project focused on changing a local environmental policy. This class applies to the "Public Engagement" credit because it involves working with and in the surrounding community. A description of the class is below.

ES 312 Focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy. Examines issues essential in understanding how environmental policy works and explores these topics in depth through case studies of current environmental policy issues. Students will also undertake an original research project and work in groups on influencing or creating local environmental policy.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:

A collaboration between students, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Botanic Gardens, and members of the grounds team produced a labyrinth in Wellesley's arboretum. The labyrinth design and construction included students. Members of the college community find the labyrinth a relaxing place to visit which invites them to focus on their wellbeing and contemplate the campus. The labyrinth was constructed using storm-damaged or hazardous trees that needed to be removed.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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ES 300 Greenhouse Gas Report "Carbon Copy: A History of Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Wellesley College, 1900 and 2015": http://www.wellesley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/departments/environmentalscience/files/es300-2016-carbon-copy.pdf

ES 300 "We-cycle: A Systems Approach to Improving Recycling Practices at Wellesley College" Report: http://www.wellesley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/departments/environmentalscience/files/es300-2018-we-cycle.pdf

ES 300 "Women Who Will Farm: a Proposal to Move a Farm onto Campus" Report: http://www.wellesley.edu/sites/default/files/assets/departments/environmentalscience/files/es300-2017-womenwhowillfarm.pdf

Article about the Labyrinth built with Wellesley students: https://www.wellesley.edu/news/2017/stories/node/119061

Article about the purchasing "Dissues" campaign:
https://thewellesleynews.com/2018/04/04/dissues-campaign-shines-spotlight-on-homegrown-sustainability/

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.