Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.66
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Wells College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Marian Brown
Director
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" 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 Yes

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:

Either our Environmental Science faculty or the Sustainability Center director have completed the annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the campus with the assistance of a student intern. These annual inventory updates have had the positive outcomes of having operations staff revise their utility record-keeping in order to streamline data collection, and, since we have too few building submeters, provides at least a top-level report on progress made on emissions reductions from specific energy conservation and efficiency measures implemented.


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:

We have a student intern working to update monthly building-level electricity readings into Energy Star's Portfolio Manager system. This provides facilities leads with critical needed information on how buildings that have submeters are performing and provide valuable feedback about productive energy efficiency measures.


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:

Student interns have worked with Dining Managers to implement new sustainability programs such as eliminating trays, converting from disposable items to bulk service, converting petroleum-based plastics to compostable plastic items, creating a separate compostable waste stream, and increasing local food procurement. This has had the benefit of improving student satisfaction with the dining program's sustainability efforts. Students actively serve on the Dining Hall committee to provide invaluable feedback on existing programs and proposed new efforts.


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 mentioned above, interns are working with documenting energy usage through greenhouse gas emissions inventories and building level data collection. Interns have also assisted with the creation and distribution of energy conservation messaging (lightswitch reminders, computer monitor turn-off messages).


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:

Student interns have worked with Grounds heads to develop and implement plans for dining hall food waste composting programs, vermiculture of coffee grounds from the student-run cafe, converting landscape beds to organic garden beds, creating educational garden spaces (Three Sisters demonstration garden, herb garden), and to collect cuttings of landscape plants to hold over winter in the campus greenhouse and replant in the spring.


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:

Student interns have been involved in suggesting new, more sustainable products to be carried in the Bookstore, as well as new, sustainable office supply products to be carried by Staples through our supplies contract. Students will be assisting with the evaluation of the new vending contract for more energy-efficient beverage equipment. Students have assisted with making the business case for bottled water fill stations (the first 4 being installed in January 2016). Students have also investigated policies related to EPEAT procurement of computers and printers.


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:

Student interns have collected data on the campus fleet and investigated options for more sustainable replacements and have drafted policies related to "best in class" fleet efficiency and anti-idling. An upcoming project will be to collect data on commuting habits, an aspect of Scope 3 emissions which has not been analyzed previously. Students serve on the Campus Safety and Transportation Committee and provide invaluable feedback about the college van service.


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 have been involved in developing and implementing the comprehensive, single-stream recycling program on campus, including studying enhanced messaging to improve compliance. Students have been involved in the RecycleMania competitions in which the college has competed. We have experienced steady increases in recycling diversion rates.


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:

Students have been involved in campaigns to reduce bottled water waste on campus and to message about water conservation in residence halls. A positive result of the former is the replacement of four older drinking fountains with water bottle fill stations on campus, and development of plans for future replacements and standardization on such fill stations for future construction/renovation projects. Students have assisted with developing business plans for water conserving fixture replacements. We are hampered by the complete lack of building level water meters to measure success in water conservation changes but our central water plant (operated by the College for both the campus and Village) have experienced some decline in the need for potable water production.


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:

Student interns and work-study positions serve as the staff for the Center for Sustainability and the Environment, implementing many of the sustainability-related programs mentioned previously. These students also assist with promotional efforts for sustainability--related activities. We have seen steady increases in the number of sustainability-related events as well as increased attendance at many of them. There is student representation on the campus Curriculum Committee and the Student-Faculty-Administration Board as well as a Student Trustee position.


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:

Students are actively engaged with faculty and staff on an all-campus Committee for Inclusion & Intercultural Excellence and the Bias Incidence Response Team (BIRT). In terms of Affordability, the Student Trustee is integrally involved in on-going planning discussions between administrators and the Board of Trustees regarding tuition/room & board increases. Positive outcomes are an enhanced perception of inclusion on campus by minority students and few BIRT reports. Students also feel encouraged to submit ideas to operational heads and administrators for cost-saving measures that will assist with affordability.


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:

Student interns work with staffers in the Human Resources office, learning about personnel policies and practices and messaging to employees about various benefits. Student interns helped develop the Sustainable Workplace guide for employees and helped distribute reusable beverage mugs to all employees at the start of the Fall semester. Outcomes are enhanced learning for students interested in personnel management fields.


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:

Student projects have recently focused on divestment and proposing divestment policies to the senior administration for consideration. Senior staff reported back that the College does not have primary holdings in any fossil fuel companies, but they acknowledge they may have some exposure in commingled investment portfolios. The senior administration continues to explore making a formal divestment policy might mean in terms of endowment income as well as in attracting new donors.


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:

Student interns are involved in supporting the local community in many ways, including active participation at the local public library, Peachtown School, Aurora Preschool and other programs. Positive outcomes are providing additional staff resources for financially stretched community programs and enhanced learning for students interested in pursuing a career in education.


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:

The student-run GRIND cafe provides a real-world business opportunity for students in the Business program for which they receive internship credit. GRIND staffers have incorporated sustainability thinking and practice into their operations, including offering locally-roasted, fair-trade certified coffees, and other fairly traded products, like sugar. They have instituted waste reduction programs like mug discounts and integration of reusable coffee filters. They partner with the Center for Sustainability and the Environment for the GOTCHA card program, which incents users of reusable mugs with a free refill. They have also partnered with the Center to establish a vermiculture composting program using coffee grounds.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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