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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 58.51
Liaison Geory Kurtzhals
Submission Date Nov. 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Derick Chick
Graduate Asssistant
Sustainability Office
"---" 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 Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement Yes
Other ---

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:

The College of Agriculture Building at SIUC has a vertical garden (green) composed of a variety of tropical plants. This vertical garden was constructed by artists Laurent Corradi and Marie Christine Steffanetti with the help of numerous volunteers. The vertical garden not only helps to uplift the emotions of people in the building, but also improves their physical health by purifying the air. The space vertical garden is maintained by students and utilized funding from the Student Green Fee. The green wall is also integrated into the Sustainable Landscape Practices class, so it provides a space for continuous student learning.
More information about the vertical garden can be found here:
http://sustainability.siu.edu/green-fee/campus-sustainability-projects/vertical-garden.php

+ Date Revised: March 3, 2017

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:

The Green Tour offered by the Sustainability Office features campus buildings with sustainable features. Highlights from the tour include the following.
1. Student Center – Home to the Sustainability Office and the new Innovation and Sustainability Hub, the Student Center has been an early advocate for sustainable practices, featuring water refilling stations, a solar powered trash can/compactor, a LED lighting project supported by the Green Fund, compostable food containers, ample recycling, and green meeting guidelines for events.
2. Green Roof (Agriculture Building Roof) - Awarded in Spring 2010, the Green Roof Installation
3. University Museum - the University Museum has initiated multiple projects that highlight sustainability, from changing the museum infrastructure (utilizing LED lights) to hosting sustainable art events.
4. Dining Halls (Lentz & Trueblood) – the dining halls have been an early adopters of sustainable practices that include every aspect of the dining experience, from utensils and containers to using local food and composting food waste
5.Transportation Education Center – our Silver LEED Certified building, located just off campus which houses our Aviation Technology and Automotive departments.

In fall 2016 alone, 4 walking green tours or virtual green tours have been completed, engaging approximately 50 participants.


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:

The Student Sustainable Farm is located two miles southwest of the main campus, adjacent to the Vermi composting Center at 3373 Pleasant Hill Rd. The student farm is presently six acres with 2.5 acres in vegetable production. The farm offers students the opportunity to run a small farm to develop the planning, production, food handling and marketing skills needed to find employment in the exploding sustainable/organic food industry. Some of the produce grown at the farm is sold to University Housing Dining Services. Other food is sold through local farmer's markets. The farm serves as a space for student learning through student work and volunteerism.


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:

The Theater Department practices sustainability in their productions and stage design, significantly reducing energy usage and waste in building stage materials and using sustainable LED lights. Students have had the opportunity for practical experience utilizing LED lighting fixtures, experimenting with vastly improved color mixing technology and using the advanced programming capabilities of the new console they received a greater understanding of lighting programming with DMX 512 protocols. Students and audiences have gained exposure to sustainable illumination technologies and an appreciation for the need for conservation of electrical energy.


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:

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned the designation as a 2015 Tree Campus USA. A diverse cross-section of campus is represented on the university’s tree committee, including arborists, forestry faculty, grounds and sustainability representatives and students. They all worked together to complete the tree plan and application and will continue efforts to promote effective urban forest management on campus. The Tree Campus USA committee has provided educational opportunities including campus tree plantings and most recently, a campus tree walk for 150 local 4th grade students.


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:

A committee of students, staff, and faculty are working together on a Bicycle Master Plan for the university. In addition, the team has submitted an application to receive designation as a Bicycle Friendly University through the League of American Bicyclists. The project began about a year and a half ago when an art student applied for and received an assistantship received $2,300 from the university’s Green Fund to improve bicycle use at SIU. Since then, the master plan project was also funded at $2,800 by the Green Fund and led by a student. In addition, the certification requires SIU to consider bicycle education programs, bike lanes policies, bike racks and maintenance stations.


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:

Since receiving the EPA permit at the end of 2015, our forced air composting facility, located on the university farms, started accepting food waste from our dining halls in spring 2016. All food waste, both pre and post consumer, from our dining halls is taken to the compost facility. This not only greatly reduces waste that would otherwise go to the landfill, but also produces high quality compost to be used on campus, returning nutrients to the soil and fertilizing, in some cases, plants that will provide vegetables to be served in our dining halls. Since collection began, we have diverted over 150,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill.


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:

The Green Roof of the Agriculture Building was installed with the assistance of professional volunteers. Materials were purchased through the SIU green fee fund, College of Agricultural Science and Plant Service Operations support, as part of the landscape horticulture program. Green roofs are similar to rooftop gardens and are becoming increasingly popular in urban settings because they help control storm water runoff and resulting water pollution. The roof reduces heating and cooling costs for the Agriculture building while acting as a research tool for graduate and undergraduate students


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:
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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:

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) at SIU Carbondale is dedicated to promoting Inclusive Excellence- a system where everyone has the opportunity to learn and contribute to our highest potential. The ODE offers services to students and staff including training on a variety of topics designed for the population. In addition, Consent & Respect is an online education program regarding sexual violence and bystander intervention. The course reflects the university’s commitment to campus safety and compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act and the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The training is mandated for all students, whether traditional or non-traditional, in on-campus, off-campus, or online programs. Students are notified of the need to complete the training via their SIU email accounts.


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:

The Wellness P.E.E.R.S. program offers an incredible opportunity to learn about numerous health and wellness topics such as alcohol and other drugs, nutrition, sexual health, mental health, campus safety, and stress management related to the college years. Wellness Peer Educators are a diverse group of students from all majors who receive formal and informal training which enable them to facilitate various outreach and health promotion events throughout the year. Peer Educators will have a unique chance to volunteer alongside and receive training from health professionals from Wellness and Health Promotion Services to learn more about the work of health and wellness promotion.


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:

The Innovation & Sustainability Hub is a collaborative project of the Center for Innovation and the Sustainability Office at SIU and showcases campus innovation activities and sustainability initiatives and serve as a collaborative space to share information and engage the campus with these activities. The space is used for pop-up classes and workshops relating to innovation and/or sustainability topics. Students and faculty are also welcomed to showcase their research and design for other students to engage and used for resource as well. Since we started tracking in mid fall 2016, we have engaged with over 209 individuals in the Hub.


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:
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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.