Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.03
Liaison Jennifer Kleindienst
Submission Date Dec. 20, 2019

STARS v2.2

Wesleyan University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Barry Chernoff
Director
College of the Environment
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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?:
No

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Campus Engagement:
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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 Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Public Engagement:

Earth & Environmental Studies (E&ES) has offered many service-learning courses:
Environmental Geochemistry & Lab (E&ES 280/218, Prof. Ku): Fall 2005 (Middletown North End Landfill), Spring 2007 (Lake Beseck), Spring 2009 (Jobs Pond), Spring 2011 (Eight Mile River / Dam), Spring 2014 (Lake Wononscopomuc), Fall 2015 (Lake Hayward)

Geographic Information Systems (E&ES 322)(GIS) & Lab (E&ES 324) (Profs. Resor and Diver) Offered at least once per year for the past seven years. Students partner with various community groups to carry out GIS-themed projects, for example creating a map for a new town park.

Science on the Radio (E&ES 121) (Prof. O’Connell, last taught Spring 2012) By listening to science radio shows and reading the stories, we will learn how the translation is done and do it with our own materials. We will also have the opportunity to discuss the science projects being done by young scientists at Green Street and in elementary after-school programs. Participants will be expected to produce a weekly half-hour radio show on WESU, "Lens on the Earth." All shows will be podcast and stored on WESU. Class members will critique each other's shows to improve the speaking voice, style of presentation, and content. Extensive out-of-class time will be needed to produce the show.

Soils & Lab (E&ES 305/307) (Prof. Royer, Fall 2019) Each time the course is taught, the students partner with a local entity to analyze soils. In the past, the class has partnered with two New Haven elementary schools where students developed and delivered soils-based classroom lessons and analyzed soil from the school gardens for health and fertility.

The student forum Community Consulting (Fall 2018) was led by students in the Wesleyan Consulting Group (WCG) and was designed to expose students to the field of consulting and provide hands-on experience with project management and organizational development and promote social good and ethical business practices to help our 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:

Prof. Dana Royer carries out paleoclimate research. He recently has studied the paleoclimatic history of rock formations along the Connecticut River (where Wesleyan is located) 200 million years ago when Pangaea broke up and brought lava and greenhouse gases to the earth's surface, causing a climatic warming and a mass extinction.

Professors Royer (biology), Poulos (environmental studies), Sher (physics), and others regularly bring classes to Wesleyan's central power plant (natural gas facility) and large solar PV installation to learn from Facilities employees where Wesleyan's energy comes from and how it is produced.


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:

The Fall 2018 intro to environmental studies course paired students with trades employees to learn about campus's inner workings. This semester’s project grew out of BUILD (2016), a dance thesis performance choreographed by Clara Pinsky ’16.
https://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2018/12/06/students-partner-with-physical-plant-employees-to-learn-inner-workings-of-campus/


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:

The Fall 2018 intro to environmental studies course paired students with trades employees, including a temperature control mechanic, to learn about campus's inner workings. This semester’s project grew out of BUILD (2016), a dance thesis performance choreographed by Clara Pinsky ’16.
https://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2018/12/06/students-partner-with-physical-plant-employees-to-learn-inner-workings-of-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:

Multiple student forums have used the campus as a learning laboratory, including those studying Wesleyan's food purchases, food justice, and Long Lane Farm (campus farm).


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:

Wesleyan's soils class has analyzed the soil at Long Lane Farm. Multiple students have analyzed and mapped different aspects of Wesleyan's tree cover.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

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

In spring 2018, the student forum Food Justice & Sustainability at Wesleyan and Beyond analyzed Wesleyan's dining purchases for sustainability criteria related to Wesleyan's Real Food Challenge commitment.


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:

The Connect Middletown initiative was part of a three year project to improve public transportation access within the City of Middletown. In 2016-17, Alex Garcia was responsible for establishing bus stops on the Wesleyan campus and simplifying local routes to improve student usage. In 2017-2019, Noah Kahan continued this work, collaborating with Middletown Area Transit (bus company), as well as CT DOT and other local entities focusing on sustainable transportation. Noah's work culminated in the change of a major connecting bus route between Middletown and Meriden, where a train connects to Hartford and New Haven and beyond.
https://medium.com/connect-middletown


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:

Through a GIS class, students have mapped composting locations on campus and examined the composting process.


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:

Profs. Ku, Varekamp, Thomas, and Patton research many dimensions of water health. Much of this research includes student participation. This includes local bodies of water such as the Connecticut River, Long Island Sound, and various Connecticut lakes. Prof. Ku’s Environmental Geochemistry class typically includes community-based research projects that are water themed. Prof. Chernoff's Aquatic Conservation course has included analysis of Middletown waters, which serve the campus's drinking water.


Is the institution utilizing its infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
No

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

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

Multiple student forums have addressed issues of justice and diversity:
The US History of Legal Justice Through the Black&Brown Experience (Spring 2019)
Environmental Justice:Exploitation, Resistance, and Promise (Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017)
Food Justice & Sustainability at Wesleyan and Beyond (Spring 2018)
Designing Mapping Technologies for Social Justice (Spring 2017)
Cooperative Justice (Spring 2017)

More information on each is at https://www.wesleyan.edu/registrar/course_information/WesMapsStudentForums.html.


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?:
Yes

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

Aquatic Conservation examines health impacts of water quality and conservation. A soils class has studied soil samples for contaminants that can be harmful to human health.

The Spring 2019 student forum Human-Centered Design Workshop taught students how to collaborate and implement solutions through Human-Centered Design process by
applying the theoretical knowledge from their courses for people in a real world setting on campus and in the community to promote better well being and work environments.


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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