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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 51.92
Liaison Jonathan Lantz-Trissel
Submission Date July 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Eastern Mennonite University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.40 / 4.00 Fred Kniss
Provost
Provost's Office
"---" 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?:
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 Air & Climate:

In 2016, EMU launched the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS) with Goshen College and global development NGO Mennonite Central Committee. In early 2017, a Sociology professor, the director of Institutional Research and an senior undergraduate student conducted a large-scale survey of U.S. Mennonite perspectives on topics such as conservation, sustainable living, creation care and climate change. The survey was sent to nearly 40,000 constituents of the center’s three partner organizations with more than 7,000 persons participating in the study.

Part of the survey included the Global Warming’s Six Americas screening tool created by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications (YPCCC) and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) The Six Americas study was an effort by YPCCC and 4C to “know thy audience” by breaking the U.S. population down into six distinct categories, each with its own unique set of responses and reactions. This framework provides a helpful way of understanding where the Christian denomination of Mennonites stands on climate change issues relative to other religious groups and even the US public in general. According to an initial analysis of the survey responses, those who participated in the survey appear to be above the national average when it comes to concern about climate change.

EMU is very closely tied to the Mennonite Church, institutionally as well as through donors, alumni and students. About thirty percent of the undergraduate body at EMU is affiliated with the Mennonite Church, so any efforts within the university to change understanding, attitudes and behaviors around climate change necessitates engaging the wider Mennonite Church. That is the mission of CSCS.

In addition to participating in the initial research, students were a part of the first partnering organizations meetings in spring 2017 as CSCS took the findings from the new research and began to develop collaborative programming around the mission and vision of the Center.


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:

An Economics professor has been working for the past year on a joint research project with business/economics and engineering students on the costs of new home construction, long-term energy usage and climate impact. Initial research involved gathering energy use data from more than three dozen houses in the community built with a variety of wall and roof assemblies (different levels of insulation and air sealing). That data was put through a rigorous economic analysis looking at the cost of construction methods focused on energy conservation and the installation of on-site solar energy versus long-term real energy use. The research project also brought in the professional knowledge and assistance of a local architect and green homes builder to make sure the economic analysis met real world applied contexts for the green building industry and will culminate in a published book with insights around how best to build a new home to minimize climate impact, aimed at the green building industry as well as people looking to build green homes. Further a new home designed by the architect and built by the builder has been outfitted with numerous metering devices that will log energy use for longer term study by business and engineering students at EMU.


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:

An Economics professor has been working for the past year on a joint research project with business/economics and engineering students on the costs of new home construction, long-term energy usage and climate impact. Initial research involved gathering energy use data from more than three dozen houses in the community built with a variety of wall and roof assemblies (different levels of insulation and air sealing). That data was put through a rigorous economic analysis looking at the cost of construction methods focused on energy conservation and the installation of on-site solar energy versus long-term real energy use. The research project also brought in the professional knowledge and assistance of a local architect and green homes builder to make sure the economic analysis met real world applied contexts for the green building industry and will culminate in a published book with insights around how best to build a new home to minimize climate impact, aimed at the green building industry as well as people looking to build green homes. Further a new home designed by the architect and built by the builder has been outfitted with numerous metering devices that will log energy use for longer term study by business and engineering students at EMU.


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:

EMU joined the 1st Cohort in the Nitrogen Footprinting Network in 2013 under leadership of the University of Virginia. Students and sustainability staff gathered food invoices from dining services and the student-run campus coffeehouse as inputs into UVA's N-print calculator. The results have been used in decision-making by the dining services director who is instituting more vegan and vegetarian dining options and fewer meat-based meal options. The research has also been shared annually in courses in the Environmental Sustainability major.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
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 Grounds:
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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?:
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 Transportation:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
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 Waste:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
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 Water:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
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 Coordination & Planning:
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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:

Students have been involved in the research done by the University's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.


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:

An Economics professor has been working for the past year on a joint research project with business/economics and engineering students on the costs of new home construction, long-term energy usage and climate impact. Initial research involved gathering energy use data from more than three dozen houses in the community built with a variety of wall and roof assemblies (different levels of insulation and air sealing). That data was put through a rigorous economic analysis looking at the cost of construction methods focused on energy conservation and the installation of on-site solar energy versus long-term real energy use. The research project also brought in the professional knowledge and assistance of a local architect and green homes builder to make sure the economic analysis met real world applied contexts for the green building industry and will culminate in a published book with insights around how best to build a new home to minimize climate impact, aimed at the green building industry as well as people looking to build green homes. Further a new home designed by the architect and built by the builder has been outfitted with numerous metering devices that will log energy use for longer term study by business and engineering students at EMU.


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?:
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 Wellbeing & Work:
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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:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.