Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Jeff Spoelstra
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Michigan University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Jeff Spoelstra
Sustainability Coordinator
Office for Sustainability
"---" 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 ---
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment ---
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

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:

Greenhouse gas inventories have been conducted by students in years past, and most recently again in 2012. The Office for Sustainability provides guidance, assistance, and oversight during the process and verifies the final inventory. A first ever City of Kalamazoo inventory is currently underway, led by an undergraduate student and guided by Dr. Brian Peterson, WMU Environmental & Sustainability Studies.


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:

The Office for Sustainability is increasingly promoting and integrating Living Building Challenge principles into its plans and initiatives including a vision for a future Deep Green Building for research and teaching on campus. Our current student-led outdoor education space design competition is inspired by the Living Building Challenge. Senior theses research and video projects have been completed, and Living Building Challenge public presentations are regularly delivered to campus and community audiences. These efforts push the limits and begin to reach far beyond the more common LEED program.


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:

Numerous student projects have involved collaborations with Dining Services to conduct food waste audits to develop baseline data needed for pre- and post-consumer food waste interests. Dining services also collaborates with the Office for Sustainability on the EcoMug program and allows EcoMugs in campus cafeterias for take out beverages.


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:

Class projects supported by the Office for Sustainability have resulted in several office energy audits as well as paperless office investigations.


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-led integrated pest management research has been conducted in campus gardens. Landscape Services has tested and now increasingly uses xeriscaping to reduce water use. Native plantings are increasing while the use of standard plants decreases over time, reducing invasive species risk.


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:
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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:

A student-led research project determined the feasibility of doing a bicycle rental program for the university. Since the research, the Office for Sustainability has instituted a bicycle rental program that will begin Fall 2014. Also, students in the Office for Sustainability are testing the feasibility for cargo bicycle use as a substitute for campus vehicles.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 13, 2014

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 created the plastic bag initiative to limit the use and subsequent waste of plastic bags on campus. The initiative encourages vendors to limit their use of plastic bags. It also proposes utilizing marketing strategies to encourage the use of reuseable bags.

+ Date Revised: Sept. 15, 2014

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:
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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:

The annually distributed, student-led Student Sustainability Survey serves to measure student opinions on campus sustainability projects. By taking the survey, students can directly influence how sustainability fee funds are spent aligning the sustainability fee directly with students’ priorities while promoting a culture of campus sustainability that has the potential to benefit all WMU students. Students also conduct an annual Town Hall is convened to review results and encourage deeper discussion. Participation grows every year.

+ Date Revised: Sept. 15, 2014

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:
---

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 work informed the review, research, and institutionalization of a tobacco-free WMU. Recognizing the health, safety, and comfort benefits of smoke-free air and tobacco-free spaces WMU will be a tobacco-free campus September 1, 2014.


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:
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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:

WMU's Annual Sustainability Event Series emphasizes town and gown connections. Each free event contains components open to the public and designed to connect students with the greater community on- and off-campus. Students create an interactive display or activity and attend their station during Event open house, meeting, and summit tabling sessions. Projects highlighted change with the season and location of the Sustainability Event. Students promote and educate about their projects such as, design competitions, production gardening, permaculture, aquaponics, bicycle maintenance, native landscaping, apiculture, etc. Students have also designed and led campus walking tours and group bicycle rides for the Annual Event Series. These events promote an increased awareness of sustainability and positive local media coverage.

+ Date Revised: Sept. 15, 2014

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

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.