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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.57
Liaison Yaffa Grossman
Submission Date March 16, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Beloit College
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsay Chapman
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability
"---" 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 No
Transportation No
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement No
Other Yes

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:

One Sustainability Fellow student in the summer of 2013 conducted a study on the carbon storage of campus trees. The student surveyed all the trees on campus, categorizing them by type and biomass. Using tree growth equations from literature the student was able to estimate the carbon dioxide sequestered on campus, and changes to that sequestration rate since a previous tree survey in 1998.


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:

One Sustainability Fellow student in the summer of 2014 worked closely with the Director of Facilities to assess radon levels in several of the historic buildings' basements. Her research helped establish a radon mitigation program that was put into place during the fall semester.


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:

In 2013 and 2014, four students work in Beloit Urban Garden (BUG), which is an on-campus student-run garden that supplies fresh, sustainably-raised food to Bon Appétit, the campus food service. The students manage BUG during the summer and also work with a local non-profit, Community Action, on a nearby community free-pick garden. This joint project educates students about the production of food, and the importance of engaging with other community efforts to cultivate gardens as both sources for healthy food and catalysts for community development.


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:

One Sustainability Fellow student in the summer of 2013 conducted multiple energy audits in the college dormitories and houses. Based on her assumptions she created a proposal and found funding through the College's Revolving Loan Fund to weatherize four student special-interest houses the following spring.

In summer 2013, a Sustainability Fellow student worked on the project of cooling efficiency on the residential side of campus. The project compared the electricity cost between the current system and the chiller system that was replaced last year. The economic models proved that the project is cost efficient and environmentally-friendly of the new replacement, and it built the foundation of making related changes of cooling on other parts of campus.


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:

In an effort to restore native plant species on campus one Sustainability Fellow student in the summer of 2013 continued research on the Beloit College Native Oak Savanna. The students performed biodiversity assessments and invasive species removal.

In 2013 and 2014, three Sustainability Fellow students worked on the restoration management of Chamberlin Springs, which is a wooded nature preserve located on the west side of Beloit and owned by Beloit College. Over time, the preserve became overgrown with invasive woody plants and its experiential learning opportunities dwindled. The college partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to begin restoration of the area around the springs in 2013.


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:
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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:
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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:

One student during the 2013-14 academic year researched the possibility of installing a food waste pulper and dehydrator in the college's main cafeteria. He found the average amount of food wasted in the cafeteria each week, and provided a product recommendation to the Residential Life Director as well as our Food services Director. The following year a staff committee continued his research and although chose a different model of food pulper and dehydrator in the end, the idea of a food pulper wouldn't have surfaced without this student's research and engagement.

Beloit College holds a 3-week-long recycling competition annually to promote awareness about proper recycling. Every floor, special interest house, fraternity and sorority house on the residential side of campus competed against one another. Each floor is scored by a group of trained Recycling Judges, who then help fellow residents understand what items can and cannot be recycled.


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:

In 2014, a Sustainability Fellow student researched the costs and benefits of transitioning our sports fields from being irrigated with water cannons to an in-ground watering system. During the following semester she proposed her project to the College's Revolving Loan Fund committee and received funding for the in-ground irrigation system, saving the college an average of 750,000 gallons of water each year.


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:

In the summer of 2014, a Sustainability Fellow student worked with the Sustainability Coordinator to prepare Beloit College's first STARS report. The data gathered by the student and the subsequent STARS rating and report helped the Sustainability department execute a plan of action to address a more well-rounded view of sustainability at Beloit College.


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:
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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:

In the summer of 2014, two Sustainability Fellow students evaluated the College's plans for a new student union building with a lens of health and wellness. Their conclusions help define what the college views as spaces geared towards health and wellness and have been incorporated into the future planning of the new student union building.

Additionally, a third Sustainability Fellow student conducted an inventory of all of the spaces on Beloit's campus that are used for health and wellness activities. The inventory was created into a dynamic GIS map available to the public via Beloit's sustainability website.


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:
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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:
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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:

During the summer of 2013, a Sustainability Fellow student came back from studying abroad and wanted to start a student-run garden plot. He researched best practices for the garden, obtained funding and student support and broke ground on the garden plot and began planting. Partnering with Bon Appetit, our on-campus food provider, all of the vegetables produced at BUG (Beloit Urban Garden) are purchased at fair market value and used in meals served to the students and on-campus groups during the summer.

Environmental Writing: in the summer of 2013, a Sustainability Fellow student shadowed other Sustainability Fellows that worked with local landscapes to explore the Sustainability Fellowships projects with local landscape planning and conserving. The sites she worked with include Chamberlin Springs, Nygren Wetlands and the Prairie Preserve. Through writing, she presented the importance of the work conducted by all the sites and showed the passion of sustainability fellows toward protecting nature.


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

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.