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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 66.35
Liaison Ben Champion
Submission Date May 2, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Arizona
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Benjamin Champion
Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

The university has used courses in the College of Architecture to study scenarios for comprehensively accomplishing carbon neutrality as well as net zero water and energy utilization for the university's main campus. These analyses are being used as input into the Campus Master Plan development process. In this way, UA is integrating its planning and architecture faculty and their students into the formal efforts to plan UA's carbon mitigation efforts through long-range building and campus design standards.


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:

The University of Arizona has over 300 buildings on campus that range from historical to modern in design. Finding ways to utilize such a variety of buildings to meet the evolving needs of the University is imperative and has resulted in new ideas coming from employee and student partnerships. The University of Arizona’s Facilities Management and Planning, Design & Construction units work with University students to develop ways to improve the way buildings on campus work. A recent example of this has been a course through the School of Architecture commissioned to develop design concepts for a new student success services district, designed to a net zero in energy and water standard. As an extension of this course, the School of Architecture is also being utilized to develop a framework for sustainability in the update to the UA campus master plan that is currently being developed.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
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 Energy:

UA recently hired its first dedicated Energy Manager position, and has taken steps to secure support for student engagement in campus energy management functions through the UA Green Fund. The first students have been hired for these efforts, and while they do not have formal connection to curricula or faculty at this time, efforts are underway to build educational outcomes for these students that will result in industry skills certifications for participating students.


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:

The University of Arizona is committed to using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food. The Student Unions and Compost Cats collaborate to collect food waste from various campus restaurants for composting, and Student Unions catering services collaborate with student/staff teams leading zero waste athletics events to collect and compost much of the food waste at these events. A new Campus Pantry has now been installed in the Student Union to provide better access to food for food insecure students, faculty, and staff. In addition, Student Unions are actively exploring development of new gardens to provide fresh, local produce to the Campus Pantry and campus restaurants, while local grocery stores are being solicited to supply edible fresh foods that would otherwise go to waste for the Campus Pantry. MycoCats is a team of students led by a plant pathology professor growing mushrooms from campus organic waste. These mushrooms are sold to campus restaurants and students, faculty, and staff.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
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 Grounds:

Through the efforts of Facilities Management, the Campus Arboretum and student groups at the University of Arizona making our Grounds more sustainable. The Campus Arboretum works with Facilities Management as well as plant sciences students to test out ways to better manage trees on campus and implement best practices the promote tree health and an active Arboretum. The UA Linking Edible Arizona Forests (LEAF) project has for several years organized students, faculty, and staff to harvest edible foods from campus trees for processing and sale at the UA Bookstores. Through these efforts and more, the University is actively improving the effectiveness of grounds management practices while engaging the entire University community.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
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 Purchasing:

The University of Arizona adopted a Green Purchasing policy in 2012. The Office of Sustainability has utilized financial support from the UA Green Fund since 2012 to hire and supervise students in green purchasing outreach, training, and decision-making support for purchasing staff in a range of campus departments. This program helps campus purchasers follow UA policy, as well as to facilitate greater participation in key campus waste management strategies. This has had its largest impacts in the Residence Life division, which has seen a significant shift in paper purchasing toward more recycled content paper. Another area of significant progress has been the implementation of more sustainable purchasing practices for large campus events where Green Purchasing Project students join with other student groups such as Students for Sustainability, Compost Cats, and the Green Team to collectively implement Zero Waste Events for campus. Through these efforts, purchasing practices are aligned with waste practices, and students are a key driving force for change. The Office of Sustainability also engages its Faculty Fellow, an expert in life-cycle analysis, to support these students in studying the impacts of purchasing decisions on overall environmental outcomes.


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:

The University of Arizona’s Parking and Transportation Services is actively implementing and looking into ways to promote alternative transportation, public transit and pedestrian safety on campus. Through infrastructure improvements and bolstering awareness the University has been able to become a Gold Rated Bicycle Friendly school by the League of American Bicyclists. The University has also developed partnerships with Zipcar to have rental cars on campus and with Zimride to promote ridesharing and carpooling. UA has a new alternative modes coordinator in Parking and Transportation, and this position will be reformulating the Bicycle Advisory Committee to involve students and other stakeholders in shaping UA's alternative transportation programs.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
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 Waste:

The University of Arizona uses campus to test new ideas for waste collection and diversion. Facilities Management works with Students for Sustainability to improve waste and recycle bin placement in all buildings and at large events such as athletic events and University hosted events like the Spring Fling carnival. Additionally, the University is pursuing nontraditional waste diversion through large scale composting through efforts of Compost Cats as well as through the reuse of used cooking oil to make biodiesel.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
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 Water:

The University of Arizona is situated in an arid environment that is becoming hotter and drier with climate change. Needless to say, water use and conservation is taken seriously at the University of Arizona. Facilities Management monitors water use and looks for ways to improve water conservation through partnerships with business and students to test new methods of improving the health and water retention of soil. Students on campus also design water harvesting and xeriscape areas as part of a water harvesting class. In addition, Students for Sustainability and Facilities Management are completing installation of a new 20,000 gallon cistern to harvest stormwater from a nearby parking garage for use at the UA Community Garden. These efforts and others help improve water conservation and education on campus and in the community.


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

The University of Arizona is committed to engaging the entire university community in decision making and governance. Through committees such as the President’s Advisory Council on Environmental Sustainability, students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members are given the opportunity to help steer the direction of the University to complete its mission. Additionally, students are given opportunities to serve in leadership roles outside of student government such as the student led Green Fund committee and the Student Services Advisory Fee Board. These opportunities are engaging students through active management of University processes.


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:

The University of Arizona is committed to Diversity and Affordability as stated in the Strategic Plan but also through the University’s mission as a land grant institution. Students at UA have mobilized in recent years, and in collaboration with the staff of 6 different cultural centers that offer support to minority and marginalized student populations. This mobilization has most recently taken the form of the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona (MSUA). Together, this student coalition has worked with university administrators through a presidential Diversity Task Force and the ongoing UA Diversity Coordinating Council to advocate for and advance support programs for marginalized students at UA. A range of faculty and staff have worked with students in both governance groups, and each of the cultural centers for marginalized students also have faculty and academic department alliances to consult and partner with students working on these efforts. New investments in support for marginalized students are beginning to be implemented on a number of fronts, including substantial new social justice programming in the UA residence halls, reinvestment in central leadership through the Office of Inclusive Excellence, and additional new resources devoted to UA cultural centers, among others. UA continues to strive to improve the inclusive atmosphere on campus, and students are a huge driving force in these efforts, in partnership with many staff and faculty throughout the university.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
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 Investment & Finance:

None


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:

Unknown


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
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 Wellbeing & Work:

Student Health Advisory Committee works to influence health policy and advance health programs at UA. They recently successfully lobbied to establish a Tobacco-Free Campus policy for UA, which was implemented in the 2015-16 academic year. In addition, this group of students works with staff and faculty through the cross-functional Healthy Campus Committee on broader health and wellness efforts for campus such as implementing the annual UA Food Day event in the middle of each October to raise awareness on campus about healthy food choices and sustainability issues in food systems.


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:

None


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.