Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.79
Liaison Lindsay Crum
Submission Date Aug. 3, 2020

STARS v2.2

Yale University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Melissa Goodall
Associate Director
Office of Sustainability
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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 Campus Engagement?:
Yes

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

Specific examples of the use of the campus for learning and engagement include: an ongoing initiative to examine the use of single-use plastics on campus, which included outcomes from two courses, and which resulted in new purchasing guidelines; and a program to examine and quantify the health impacts of being in green spaces.


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

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

Law School students worked with the New Haven Food Policy Council to identify ways to incorporate food issues into the City of New Haven’s Comprehensive Plan. Students worked with the Council to write a detailed letter to City Plan (New Haven's planning department) on opportunities for better planning around food access, food justice, and the environmental impacts of food in New Haven. The students and clients then formally presented their findings to City Plan to advance the comprehensive planning process.
Supporting the Yale Climate Change Dialogue to raise the trajectory of international climate change negotiations and increase ambitions around the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, students worked closely with faculty on a collaborative project that brings together climate change thought leaders from five continents to brainstorm better ways to solve the climate change problem.


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:

The Yale Carbon Charge Project continues to test feasibility of carbon pricing on Yale’s campus. This applied research has implications for energy policy, climate change mitigation, and environmental economics. It was conceptualized by a task force of faculty, students, and staff, and is currently being run in 300+ buildings.


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:

First year students in the School of Architecture are required to participate in an annual building project that includes the design and building of an affordable, efficient home. Partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Housing Services, Common Ground, and currently Neighborworks New Horizons, have led to a focus on affordable housing. The houses allow students the experience of working with a client and the opportunity to respond to the challenges of affordable housing and urban infill. Students have shown great enthusiasm for these projects focusing on community development and neighborhood improvement. Many of them arrive at school with a desire to include such socially responsible work in their future professional lives. Having the opportunity to participate in the design and construction of such building projects often reinforces their dedication to do so.


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

A brief description of the projects and how they contribute to understanding or advancing sustainability in relation to Energy:
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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 Food & Dining?:
Yes

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

The Yale Sustainable Food Program (YSFP) is the steward of two multi-functional farms, one on central campus and the other situated within the Yale Landscape Lab on West Campus. On the farm, in the classroom, and around the world, the YSFP serves as a hub for diverse activities related to food, agriculture, health, and the environment. The YSFP offers a range of paid and unpaid internships, fellowships, awards, and both curricular and co-curricular experiences for Yale students at all levels of study, both during the regular academic year and over the summer. We also convene and support a range of workshops, conferences, colloquia, and guest speakers for the benefit of students and the wider Yale and New Haven community.


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:

In 2019, undergraduate and graduate students did research on the efficacy of "alternative" plantings such as rain gardens and no mow zones (urban meadows) in capturing stormwater and advancing biodiversity on campus. This work was done with guidance from faculty from the Environment School and the School of Architecture, as well as supervision from the Grounds department. It is forming the foundation for the campus biodiversity plan, and will be the topic of a graduate-level course in the coming academic year.


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

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

Under the supervision of a plastics committee comprising faculty and staff, a student completed a plastics landscape assessment to better understand what decisions organizations and schools are making around single-use plastics purchasing and reduction.


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:

In 2019, a capstone project was conducted on institutional decarbonization through clean transit, looking at a zero carbon shuttle bus network for Yale and other New Haven-area institutions. This capstone project through the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies assessed regional public transit and made recommendations for a more equitable, clean transit system in southern Connecticut.


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:

In a course offered by the Yale School of Public Health, a team of students began to create a green food cart certification that would apply to local vendors in the community. Specifications for the certification included efforts around waste reduction and healthy material considerations.


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:

In 2019, undergraduate and graduate students assessed the efficacy of an existing set of rain gardens to make recommendations for future installations. They were able to vet their recommendations with the landscape architect for a forthcoming project. Their ideas have been embraced, and as the installation proceeds, that site will be the subject of ongoing research.


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

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

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

The Carbon Offsets Task Force is a group of students, faculty, and staff formed to recommend an actionable policy to guide the use of carbon offsets, including criteria for meaningful offsets, pace of acquisition and retirement of offsets, and a governance structure to support an ongoing carbon offsets program. Participating on the task force were student representatives of Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. In addition, student research on carbon offset projects and verification programs contributed to the background materials for the task force.


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:

In spring 2018, a group of students from the Yale School of Public Health’s Climate Change and Health Capstone Course analyzed the university ecosystem for purchased furniture and created a change management strategy for eliminating Chemicals of Concern from university purchased furniture.


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