Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.14
Liaison Jeff Spoelstra
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jeff Spoelstra
Sustainability Coordinator
Office for Sustainability
"---" 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:

Greenhouse gas inventories have been conducted by students in years past, and most recently again in 2018. The Office for Sustainability provides guidance, assistance, and oversight during the process and verifies the final inventory.


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

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 effort 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.


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:

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


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:

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.

The Campus Beet is a vegan lunch option for all students which promotes sustainability and food alternatives.

https://wmich.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/thecampusbeet


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:

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.

Landscape has also begun utilizing hugelkultur beds in select areas around campus, providing raised beds for plantings and water retention. In addition, an orchard has been established on campus featuring over 70 varieties of apples and other fruiting trees.


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

The Office for Sustainability has an ongoing pilot test for cargo bikes. Cargo bikes, including electric assist cargo bikes, are being evaluated as a substitute for campus vehicles. Campus units are able to test bikes and the office has facilitated test rides for Custodial Services.

Electric Vehicle infrastructure has been sponsored and promoted since 2012. https://wmich.edu/sustainability/projects/electric-vehicles


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:

Dining services collects used deep fryer oil and super-filters it for use on campus powering a demonstration mower. Campus partners are exploring opportunities to use excess oil in larger, more visible fleet vehicles.

The Office for Sustainability is also piloting small-scale composting programs for disposing of on-campus food waste.


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:

The Gibbs House has built and installed a rainwater collection cistern to practice and demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of rooftop water collection from older buildings to be used for irrigation and other non-potable uses.


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:

In 2010, after receiving the approval of students and the Board of Trustees, the university began charging students an $8 per semester fee to fund campus sustainability projects. The annually distributed 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.


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

The Real Talk Diversity series opened the conversation to all students and community members. Multiple panel discussions covered topics such as access, black history, environmental justice, and many others.

https://wmich.edu/diversity/realtalk


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

WMU is a Billion Dollar Green Challenge member, utilizing a Quasi-Green revolving fund to purchase efficient and appropriate technologies for campus. A recent purchase that plans to pay itself off over a short time period is high-efficiency fume hoods for a large laboratory building.

http://greenbillion.org/participant/western-michigan-university/


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:

The Annual Sustainability Event Series emphasizes town and gown connections. Each free event contains components open to the public. Recent events, speakers, and workshops include Rob Riordan, Phil Georgeau and multiple community design charrettes. The Office for Sustainability has been recently called upon to discuss transformational change with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation as well as other key higher education and community leaders.


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:

The student garden and farm contribute fresh produce and vegetables to the Invisible Needs project, an on-campus resource dedicated to providing food to in-need individuals.

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.


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)?:
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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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