AC 8: Campus as a Living Laboratory – version 2.2
Frequently Asked Questions
How has this credit changed between STARS 2.1 and 2.2?
Minor changes to the criteria were made for consistency with the Academic Courses credit. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.
Do projects have to take place on campus?
The credit recognizes the use of an institution’s own infrastructure and operations as a living laboratory for applied student learning for sustainability. A project that utilizes the local community as a living laboratory to advance sustainability may be reported as a Public Engagement project.
What types of programs count for this credit?
The intent of this credit is to recognize substantive work that involves active and experiential student learning and contributes to understanding or advancing sustainability. Examples include, but are not limited to, class projects, thesis projects, term papers, published papers.
Can projects be counted under multiple categories?
Yes. Projects that address multiple topics can be counted in each of those areas. Institutions earn 0.4 points for each area covered, regardless of how many projects there are in each area.
What is the difference between co-curricular activities and campus as a living lab activities?
Living lab activities have a course or classroom dimension (i.e., there are opportunities to formally document and assess what students are learning). In contrast, co-curricular activities typically do not have a formal course or classroom component.
Can employment opportunities or internships be counted for this credit?
Yes. Employment opportunities and internships that contribute toward sustainability can be claimed in this credit as long as there is a clear curricular or learning component reflected in the description.
- British Columbia Institute of Technology – Detailed examples and documentation of student and faculty living lab projects. Living lab efforts are largely centralized under a Living Labs program, and a list of recent projects is maintained.
- Carleton College – Detailed examples and documentation of student and faculty living lab projects, including the course titles in which experiential learning projects were implemented.
- Cornell University – Detailed examples and documentation are provided. Living lab efforts are centralized under the Cornell Living Laboratory Campus initiative.
- Pennsylvania State University – Detailed examples and documentation are provided. Some living lab efforts are centralized under the Penn State Living Labs program.
- Portland Community College – Detailed examples and documentation are provided. Good reporting example for two-year institutions.
- Western Technical College – Detailed examples and documentation are provided. Good reporting example for two-year institutions.
Common Issues Identified During Review
- Living laboratory or immersive learning projects must have a clear curricular or learning component. Supervised student internships, co-curricular activities and non-credit work may count only if there is a formal learning component that is outlined in the descriptive response (i.e., there are opportunities to document and assess what students are learning).