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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 Gold
Overall Score 70.14
Liaison Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Submission Date May 3, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Santa Clara University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Director
Center for 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 Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Other No

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:

Carbon Footprint Calculator: A group of Santa Clara students used the campus to develop a carbon calculator specifically tailored to SCU students, faculty, and staff. This calculator is available to anyone through the scu.edu website and allows users to gain a better understanding of their carbon footprint in the context of living and interacting with the Santa Clara campus. Though most of the calculator is based on energy consumption, it also asks participants about their food choices, travel, water use, and waste diversion behaviors.

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/environmental_ethics/carbon-footprint/calculator.html


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:

Students at Santa Clara participated in the Solar Decathlon project, a biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy uniting twenty teams of college students to design, construct, and operate the most energy efficient, functional, and attractive solar-powered home. The SCU Solar Decathlon team, composed of undergraduates in the School of Engineering, the School of Business, and the College of Arts and Sciences, designed, built, and operated a completely solar-powered home on the Santa Clara campus. In 2007 and 2009, SCU placed 3rd overall. In 2013 they placed 5th in the engineering category and 11th overall. From this project students gained a hands on understanding of the many aspects of sustainability that go into building a energy efficient and economically feasible home.

ENGR 1 students toured Kennedy Commons and identified sustainable features in the building. ENGR 1 students were told about sustainble solutions developed within civil engineering including bamboo for the solar decathlon, rainwater harvesting, water detention ponds, pervious concrete, earth block construction, straw bale construction.


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:

ENVS 95/195 Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project: Meatless Mondays, Sustainable Food Initiative: In this project, SCU students sought to encourage sustainable eating habits at SCU and to develop valuable techniques to promote food sustainability both at our on campus dining hall and among our off-campus residents. Their initial research showed eating less meat was the most effective way of reducing energy use, water use, and carbon emissions. Based on this information, the students led a Meatless Mondays campaign on campus. Through this project they gained a valuable understanding of how the meat industry is related to sustainability and power of sharing this information with students on campus. By promoting less meat consumption on campus these students were able to raise awareness while reducing students' carbon footprints.


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:

COMM 120A: Environmental Communication: Students create communication materials to promote energy-conserving behavior among campus residents. Their materials have been used during the annual Residence Energy Challenge. | COMM 150B: Students developed materials for the Solar Decathlon, anti-drug dumping programs, and a public relations to promote green businesses in Santa Clara County. | Others include: study of SCU microgrid, research on fuel cells, and development of I-V curve tracer.


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:

BIOL 23: Students have studied organism distribution and diversity in a number of locations on campus. | In several classes I use the SCU campus for outdoor dance improvisation or creative assignments. In one technique class they need to seek out environmental textures from bushes, trees to building surfaces and bring back to a physical transformation for this outdoor class. This experience leads to report work on dance artists addressing environmental issues through their choreographic performances. In a related assignment for another class students independently observe a specific space outdoors, look and feel its specificity closely, and then translate this observation into a movement study. The goals is to heighten their awareness of the complexity of the environment around them and then deepen that awareness through an artistic translation into dance. | "SCU Gone Wild" is natural history campus database.www.scugonewild.com This is integrated into ANTH 130 and several other campus courses outside of Anthropology. In addition, two student interns and two student volunteers work on this project during 2013-2014.


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:

ENVS 95/195 Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project: Santa Clara students conducted research on the single-use paper bags in the on-campus cellar market. From this research, students were able to uncover the resource use/carbon emissions associated with SCU's choice to purchase these bags as well as provide the purchasing agent with these relevant statistics and sustainable alternatives.


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:

ENVS 95/195 Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project: The goal of this project was to understand SCU students’ behaviors and perceptions of public transportation in order to improve students’ usage of these systems and decrease environmental impact when traveling off-campus. Their project began by studying past research about types of transportation programs such as bike sharing, car pooling, and university transit passes that other universities offered their students. They learned about the programs’ implementation on various university campuses and the feedback they received from their students. Through their research student's gained a better understanding of the barriers to SCU students’ usage of public transportation in order to promote sustainable student travel in and around the Bay Area.

ENVS 122 Environmental Politics and Policy: partnered with a local public transit community group to explore SCU students' and employees' potential use of a proposed regional public transit project.


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:

ENVS 10: The Joy of Garbage. Every student in the Joy of Garbage participates in a waste characterization to analyze SCU's waste stream. Past years' characterizations have resulted in new goals, policies, and improved signage in specific areas, including the Leavey Events Center, Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center, and Benson Center.


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:

ENVS 23 Soil, Water, and Air: Several classes measured the salinity of recycled water on campus and compared them to the reported levels. Through this they were able to accurately account for the total dissolved solids in the recycled water and understand the impact it was having on the vegetation on campus.


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:

ENVS 95/195 Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project: The goal of Keeping Freshman Orientation Fresh was to discover whether or not moving orientation to the week prior to fall quarter compliments SCU's goal to be climate neutral. From this project, students were able to gain insight into the carbon impact associated with the multitude of trips Santa Clara students were taking over the course of the summer to and from orientation as well as the flight back to school.


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 several classes an SCU faculty member used the campus grounds for outdoor dance improvisation or creative assignments. In one technique class they need to seek out environmental textures from bushes, trees to building surfaces and bring back to a physical transformation for this outdoor class. This experience leads to report work on dance artists addressing environmental issues through their choreographic performances. In a related assignment for another class students independently observe a specific space outdoors, look and feel its specificity closely, and then translate this observation into a movement study. Students gained a heightened awareness of the complexity of the environment around them through the lens of the SCU campus and then deepened that awareness through an artistic translation into dance.


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:

ENVS 95/195 Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project: Students are researching ways to improve the sustainability of the University's endowment.


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:

The Forge Garden: Student internships in the Forge Garden have centered on learning sustainable agriculture practices and educating youth and other community members about them. Through this experiential learning students gained a better understanding of how to spread sustainable initiatives into the Santa Clara community.


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:
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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.