Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.01
Liaison Paul Mathisen
Submission Date May 23, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 John Orr
Professor
Liberal Arts & Computer Engineering
"---" 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?:
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 Air & Climate:
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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:

WPI's Civil Engineering students often use campus building projects as an opportunity applied learning. In spring 2014, for example, two students developed a proposed renovation of and addition to WPI's Kaven Hall that could achieve LEED Gold certification. In 2013, another group of students compared different structural system options for a new dormitory on several criteria, including the impact on the building's LEED score.


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:

In 2016, a project analyzed the energy usage of Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Kaven Hall, and examined various improvements that would efficiently provide a comfortable climate for learning. These improvements were ranked based on various factors, such as energy efficiency, comfort, and cost. The methods used to determine improvements were described in detail, so that a similar process could be applied to other buildings in need of indoor climate improvements.


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:

Two different groups of students have completed projects aimed at limiting the use of bottled water on campus in the last three years. These students raised awareness about the costs of bottled water and successfully advocated for structural changes to make drinking tap water more convenient, in addition, two Great Problem Seminar projects were done in the students' first year: Green Infrastructure in Worcester and H2O No: Water Conservation Competition.


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:

In spring 2014, two students completed a research project focused on storm water management on WPI's campus. The students developed a proposed storm water management plan for WPI that included public education, detection of illicit discharges, construction and post construction site controls, and pollution prevention and best management practices. After mapping the area with GIS and completing runoff calculations, the students recommended a permeable pavement design to significantly reduce the storm water runoff discharge from the campus.


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:

A student project in 2015 (which built on previous project work) proposed a Bicycle Share Plan for WPI to promote sustainable transportation. The two student team conducted research by interviewing operators of other university bike shares, WPI stakeholders, local bike advocacy groups, and Worcester city government officials. The plan proposed was ultimately adopted to create Gompei's Gears bike share.


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:

In 2015 a project was undertaken to examine waste sorting at WPI and analyze its process and efficiency. We compared WPI's method to other institutions, interviewed people responsible for implementing sustainability at WPI, inventoried waste receptacle areas to help the Facilities Department implement uniform bins, and surveyed students, faculty, staff, and custodians to see how they felt and what they knew about recycling. Finally, we analyzed our data to develop recommendations for changing and improving WPI waste sorting.


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:

In spring 2014, three students completed a project called "Water Sustainability at Worcester Polytechnic Institute." This project aimed to reduced the amount of water consumed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute through both behavioral and technological changes. To accomplish this goal the students analyzed the quantity of water used in order to identify likely water conserving opportunities. Through conducting a water audit, visual inspections of the current fixtures, and interviews with WPI's facilities, the project was able to identify areas in highest need of changes, and make suggestions to the institution based on project findings.


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:

EBuildings - An Information Management System for Facilities Managment on the WPI Campus:an information system which would help the WPI Plant Services Department to efficiently manage campus environmental safety. By collecting data on fire equipment and hazardous waste sites, we were able to create a centralized database that would facilitate code compliance and inspection fulfillment.This database,linked with 3D models of the campus's main academic buildings creates an essential tool for locating and maintaining specific safety items. Creation of three-dimensional map of the WPI campus, interactively linked through GIS and data basing applications, allows for the quick and efficient consultation of safety information. This system demonstrates the benefits of using state-of-the-art technology for streamlining the processes used to maintain safety within a college environment. In addition, WPI provides the opportunity for students to participate in design and planning meetings regarding new construction projects. Most recently, students meet with WPI Projects, the construction company, and the architects to design and plan construction for the new Foisie Innovation Studio. Significant sustainability features are included in this process.


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:

In 2015 a student project was to create a set of resources to help international students transitioning from their native country to their second home, WPI. In the first year, international students experience common problems, such as a language barrier, different education system and cultural shock. During our study, the team conducted four focus group meetings to confirm initial background research. As a result, the team developed guidelines that can be beneficial for the WPI community.


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:

In 2015 a student project discussed that WPI should divest its endowment fund from fossil fuels. The student examine the harmful effects of global climate change, emphasizing WPI’s moral obligation to divest and explore the financial efficacy of divestment. Several academic institutions have divested without suffering financial losses, showing that divestment is a feasible investment strategy and an effective way for WPI to combat global climate change.


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

2016 student project: A Design and Communication Strategy for Creche (childcare center) Construction in Informal Settlements in South Africa.


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)?:
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 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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