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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 Platinum
Overall Score 85.51
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date July 27, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of New Hampshire
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jennifer Andrews
Project Director
Sustainability Institute
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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:

Student interns are involved in helping collecting data for UNH's annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory updates, and student representatives on the campus Energy Task Force have played an important role in updating the university's climate action plan through participation in the campus Energy Task Force.
Student researchers also work with a wide variety of faculty across campus on a broad array of climate research, some of which utilizes the campus facilities; see https://issuu.com/unhmag/docs/unh_spark-16_web-singles.


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:

Students in the ESci 405 course ("Global Environmental Change") take on new projects every year that use the UNH campus as a focus for thinking about energy and climate change solutions. They have been involved in helping UNH buildings apply for Energy Star labeling, worked with the UNH Energy Office assessing building energy use, evaluating possible building retrofits and upgrades, and more.
Sustainability Fellows have also worked with staff and faculty on a number of research and educational projects focused on making UNH facilities more sustainable; see for example http://sustainableunh.unh.edu/sites/sustainableunh.unh.edu/files/media/Fellows/unhadaptation_final.pdf.


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:

Students in the ESci 405 course ("Global Environmental Change") take on new projects every year that use the UNH campus as a focus for thinking about energy and climate change solutions. Students are asked to research and develop feasible energy solutions for reducing the University's carbon footprint, increasing efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and reducing energy costs.
In addition, every summer there is at least one Sustainability Fellows project devoted to campus energy systems; for example see http://sustainableunh.unh.edu/sites/sustainableunh.unh.edu/files/media/2017_wildcapenergystorage_final_0.pdf.


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:

Students are involved in growing food for campus dining halls as part of the research and curriculum at campus farms, helping to develop healthy and nutritious recipes served in dining establishments on campus through the Nutrition program, and providing food to the Waysmeet Community Center, among other food-related work.

Recent research has also focused on the question of food-insecurity among students on campus (see http://scholars.unh.edu/urc/44/), and on the impact of campus menus on the overall campus nitrogen footprint (http://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2017/04/hows-your-nitrogen-footprint).


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:

Students are involved in working with faculty researchers to measure the water quality of College Brook, which flows through campus, and recommending strategies for improving it.
Likewise, student and faculty research examines the health and ecosystems in College Woods, and considers how to maintain and improve sustainable campus forestry practices.
As just a few additional examples of many, see the work of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students collecting and studying bee species at UNH's organic Woodman farm at http://www.rehanlab.com/research.html (the video labelled "UNH Bee Research"); the work of forestry researchers on campus at
http://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2017/06/rare-experiment; and the work of soil researchers at http://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2016/10/getting-dirty.


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:

Students have helped research and inform policy decisions around campus food and beverage purchasing policies. Also, student interns are working with sustainability staff and faculty to update the Eco-Cat Calculator, which is designed to inform and support sustainable fleet vehicle purchasing decisions by providing the life-cycle fuel, operational and maintenance cost as well as life-cycle greenhouse gas pollution impact. This involves modeling life-cycle impacts, researching and justifying the use of available emission factors and cost assumptions, and presenting the findings to fellow students, staff and faculty on the Energy Task Force.


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

Students have been involved in collecting and analyzing data for UNH's transportation survey, developing an EcoCalculator to guide departmental vehicle purchasing decisions, implementing ZipCar on campus, and more.
In addition, students in the ESci 405 course ("Global Environmental Change") take on new projects every year that use the UNH campus as a focus for thinking about energy and climate change solutions; these include transportation-focused solutions.


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:

A variety of UNH departments, from the Sustainability Institute to Dining to Facilities to Housing, involve students in auditing UNH's waste and recycling efforts and making recommendations for improvements.
At UNH’s Organic Dairy Research Farm, UNH faculty have launched an innovative composting program that provides a high-quality compost product and captures the heat energy for use elsewhere on the farm. Student researchers paly a significant role in the project, working alongside the faculty. See http://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2016/11/bye-waste-hello-warmth for the story.
UNH students run Trash 2 Treasure, which handles student move in and move out waste, as part of the business school's "social enterprise" curriculum with mentorship from faculty. See as part of the business school's "social enterprise" curriculum, with mentorship from faculty.
Students are also part of the UNH Zero Waste Task Force and have worked with faculty to the impact of improved recycling signage in campus residence halls.


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?:
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 Sustainability Institute involves student interns in the collection and reporting of data to STARS, which relates to many of the institutional planning and coordination efforts underway. Likewise, student representatives (both graduate and undergraduate) participate actively in the Sustainability Task Force, the Committee on Investor Responsibility, the Energy Task Force, the Ecosystem Task Force, and the Zero Waste Task Force--all of which undertake significant planning and coordination roles for the University.


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

Students have worked with the UNH Foundation, the Sustainability Institute, the Carsey Institute and the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics to research sustainability endowment best management practices, ROI's, and more. Students have presented this information to the UNH Foundation Board and at the Undergraduate Research Conference. In 2016 a Sustainability Fellow worked with mentors from the Sustainability Institute, the UNH Foundation and the Paul School to develop recommendations for increasing the amount of sustainable investing activity undertaken by the Foundation. And student representatives have an active role in the newly established Committee on Investor Responsibility.


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

Students are involved in the research and engagement of Climate Solutions New England, Food Solutions New England, and other sustainability engagement across campus.
The Sustainability Institute employs outreach interns who are asked to learn and reflect as a cohort on effective public engagement and outreach strategies.
Likewise, Sustainability Institute mentors the Environmental Advocates--student volunteers living in UNH residence halls who sign up to be part of an outreach and education cohort in their dorms, and who receive training, conduct campaigns and pilot programs, and come together regularly with SI mentors to reflect on successes and challenges in engaging their peers.


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:

Students in the Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences program have worked with faculty mentors to explore such questions as "Beyond Dining and Recreation Services: How Does the Greater UNH Campus Support a Healthy Lifestyle?" (http://scholars.unh.edu/urc/402/) and "How to Succeed at UNH Without Really Trying: A First Year Wellness Guide" (http://scholars.unh.edu/urc/25/).


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)?:
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 other areas:

Students frequently work with faculty and staff mentors on applied research and learning in the arts, through creation of public art installations across campus. These exhibits give students a chance to instigate dialogue and community conversations related to sustainability. For example, sculptures that also serve as bike racks: http://cola.unh.edu/thecollegeletter/2014-09/fine-art-bike-racks. Also, temporary sculpture exhibits focused on littering: https://unhcola.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/new-sculpture-on-the-great-lawn/ as one example.
And in spring 2017, a display installed in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) to help with education about street harassment, gender equality and sexual violence, created by a freshman journalism major and SHARPP community educator with help and guidance from the media outreach coordinator of SHARPP, Connie DiSanto. The student created a short survey to gather statistics from UNH students on their experience with street harassment and used them to inform her display.


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.