Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Nathan King
Submission Date Feb. 16, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Sara Phillips
Director of the Leadership, Engagement & Development (LEAD) Office; Director of Orientation
Student Affairs
"---" 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 No
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:

Currently, undergraduate and graduate students are conducting an audit on energy use and emissions associated with two buildings on campus on which renovations are about the begin; the results will help inform where/how we want to use a the pool of voluntary student renewable energy generation fund donations (PV or thermal). Several years ago, an interactive energy use and solar generation kiosk.


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 6 LEED buildings on campus with associated signage; various courses provide tours for students. As well, Western Ambassadors (i.e., tour guides) tell prospective students about the buildings. Please also see above.


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:

Sodexo employs signage to bring awareness to students re: local products (defined as within Colorado). A students is employed to help students put the correct items into the compost, which then goes through a pulper and into an Earth Tub. Courses also visit the Earth Tub to learn about the process and some discuss the reasons for tray-less dining (e.g., reduced water consumption due to not washing trays, less food waste). One-to-two students are also employed to ensure the smooth running of the Earth Tub, which is tricky in Gunnison's sub-zero winter temperatures.


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:

All students are provided the opportunity to donate $15/semester to the renewable energy fund. A PV panel on campus is linked to an educational kiosk. Faculty may contribute to a renewable energy fund. Undergraduates, graduates, faulty and staff are currently investigating the best use of renewable energy fund $ re: solar PV or thermal on one of two buildings being renovated to LEED level. Each year, green energy is purchased through the city of Gunnison.


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:

Native gardens and drought-resistant plants surround LEED building, one native garden on campus has interpretive signage. Students are currently working on a proposal for compost tea.


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:

A group of students created a Socially- and Environmentally-responsible purchasing plan, which passed the Student Government Association and the Faculty Senate.


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:

Little can/has been done with the state fleet. However, there is a bike library that is a collaborative effort between Student Affairs, the Cycling Team / Mountain Sports and the library. There are bike racks at each building, and skateboard racks at the University Center.


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:

Recycling centers centrally located in each campus building, a recycling station centrally located outdoors on campus (which the broader community is also welcome to use), solar recycling compactor at University Center, composting in dining hall - almost all of which were initiated by students.


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:

Water bottle fillers on all water fountains that can be retrofitted, no water in vending machines because the tap water is some of the best in the country, watering lawns at dawn and dusk, so as to prevent as much evaporation.


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:

There are student representatives on Faculty Senate, Sustainability Fund, Sustainability Action Committee, hiring committees, etc. Further, any new building - renovations and new builds - have student representation.


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:

We have a Multicultural Center that provides a supportive community for minorities and those wanting to support such groups; they put on events and host guest speakers, etc.


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:

The campus has a Wellness Center associated with Exercise and Sports Science. The Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) office employs graduate and undergraduate orientation leaders, as well as sustainability coordinators.


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:

N/A


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:

Whether via conferences (e.g., Headwaters & Colorado Outdoor Educators' Symposium in 2015-2016), guest speakers (e.g., guests of What is Leadership? Speaker Series), public policy forums, living-learning communities, or a variety of other engagement avenues, students are expected to step outside the classroom to engage with diverse people and challenging issues.


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:

N/A


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

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