Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.64
Liaison Casey Meehan
Submission Date Dec. 22, 2020

STARS v2.2

Western Technical College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

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

Students in graphic design researched and created a set of 16 mixed-recycling signs aligned with Western brand strategies. Students also created tray liners for the student food court that educated diners about food waste as well as a series of posters placed around campus with sustainability tips.


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

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

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

Western owns and operates a Hydro Power Station. This provides students with a living lab setting to learn about renewable energy. Students are given a unique experience of working on an operational hydroelectric dam and the power it generates.

Western Technical Colleges Integrated Technology Center also serves as a living laboratory for air & climate. The Integrated Technology Center showcases the mechanical room which provides an excellent opportunity for student learning. In this room students can first hand view the heating, cooling, and geothermal piping of the building. The piping is color coded, with duct-work labeled for supply, return, outdoor air, and relief air for students to fully grasp what these systems look like in a real world scenario.


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:

Western Technical College's award winning LEED Platinum Integrated Technology Center serves as a living laboratory for those learning about commercial and industrial spaces. The Integrated Technology Center showcases the mechanical room which provides an excellent opportunity for student learning. In this room students get first hand experience with heating, cooling, and geothermal piping of the building.


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:

Students in our solar installation technician certification program and building sciences and energy management get hands on experience with several different types of solar panel systems on our campuses.

In addition, we have energy dashboards available online to the public. These monitor several of our buildings and solar arrays in terms of energy produced/consumed.


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:

Students in culinary production take a class in sustainable food systems. Here, they work with our head chef and kitchen staff to learn about and operate a pre-consumer food waste dehydrator that turns food waste into biomass used on campus to grow microgreens.


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:

Western technical College has worked with the Landscape Horticulture program on several continuing living laboratory projects on campus. Students in these programs learn about both Western's green roof and our two story living wall. More directly, students plan, construct and destruct hardscapes and greenscapes using native plants on land adjacent to the horticulture education building. These designs incorporate climate change as a determining factor for how they design the hardscapes and plant selection.


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

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

Our auto repair technician program and diesel repair technician programs have modules that explore alternatively fueled vehicles. Together these departments own hybrid and CNG vehicles that students gain hands on experience in repairing these vehicles, including providing the community with a place to recondition battery cells.


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:

Students in our customer relations/call center management program run a IT help desk each March. Students collect e-waste from the communities we serve, disassemble those pieces they are able to do so safely, and work with a local recycler to responsibly recycle the remaining e-waste.


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:

The Integrated Technologies building offers several areas which feature clear wall that provide students with a view of the water reclamation system. The pipes are color-coded showcase the water reclamation system. The system collects rainwater , in addition to recycled well water, from the adjacent Business Education Center. This water is treated through a UV process and reused for toilet and urinal flushing, as well as turf irrigation.

Western Technical College owns and operates a hydro power station. Here students can learn about how water can be harnessed to provide clean renewable energy. This living laboratory provides a unique experience utilizing water in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.


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

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

Students in our Entrepreneurial Mindset class plan and organize a campus/community Sustainapalooza event each April. They are responsible for coordinating outside vendors, student clubs, and other entities, plan the layout of the event, and find staffing/volunteers to ensure the event runs smoothly.


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

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

Western Technical College's Human Services Program provides students with the opportunity to work in the Cavalier Cupboard campus food pantry as part of their curriculum. In the cupboard, the students help clients access the service of the food pantry. Students gain experience in the societal equity, one part of the triple bottom line in sustainability.

Students in the Wood Tech program team with the City of La Crosse as part of the La Crosse Housing and Rehabilitation program. The Housing and Rehabilitation program provides assistance to low income residents whose homes are in need to repairs. Students have the opportunity to build and install custom kitchen cabinets in the two homes built each year by Western's Wood Tech students. To date, more than 33 homes have been built through this partnership.


Website URL where information about the institution’s living laboratory program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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