University at Albany

Campus as a Living Lab

Dining Services/Food:

UFSP 102 Living-Learning Community Seminar - World of Environmental Sustainability

Students in a freshman seminar class works closely with dining services to increase awareness and procurement of local foods in the dining hall. Their first outcome was successfully lobbying to get signage included next to dishes that are made with local products. In the following year, they partnered to put on a Local Food version of Iron Chef. Currently the class is documenting the local farms we purchase from in order to make educational signage and poster that will be put in the dining hall.


UFSP 100: The Science of Storms, Climate Change and Environmental Impact

AENV 250 Sustainable Development: Energy and Resources

Our energy officer has formed a collaboration with our Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Science and she often speaks in their class, discussing various initiatives we have undertaken. Last year, she gave seminars followed by a tour for Professor Lazaer's, Keessee's and Tang's classes. The seminar covers a wide variety of topics including including alternative transportation, stormwater management, energy efficiency of the geothermal system and lighting system, water efficiency, use of non-potable water for irrigation, materials used –regional, recycled content and low VOC and Indoor Environmental Quality. The seminar is usually followed by a tour of one of our LEED certified buildings, usually Liberty Terrace or the new School of Business. Note: this example also applies to the Energy category.


UUNI 310 (= A BIO 311 & A GOG 310) World Food Crisis (3)

AHIS 289 Topics in World History

In the fall of 2013, students undertook a project to create a heritage garden on campus. In spring 2014, two classes were involved in the research needed to create the proposal for the garden. These included Professor Gary Kleppel's biology class who researched potential site locations and soil quality and Professor Mitch Aso's history class who research potential crops that would align with the vision of heirloom crops that represented various time periods in Albany's agricultural history. The proposal was submitted and approved. In the fall of 2014, the garden was constructed in the location recommended by the biology class. In the spring of 2015, the crops planted were aligned with the list created by the history class and first harvest occurred in fall 2015.


UFSP 102 Living-Learning Community Seminar - World of Environmental Sustainability

Students in a freshman seminar class collaborated with the Office of Sustainability, Dining services and Chartwells to weigh the food waste that came out of one dining hall for two weeks. This was in order to get a baseline idea of food waste in order to implement a composting pilot. The information from this project was used in crafting a bid for a organic food waste hauling service. The pilot was initiated in spring of 2013 at one quad's dining hall. This service has since expanded to all of the quad dining halls.


UFSP 100: The Science of Storms, Climate Change and Environmental Impact

Our newest residential area, Liberty Terrace, has served as the site for lessons in stormwater management, highlighting it's raingardens, green roof and location next to Indian Pond, our retention basin that provides water to irrigate our fields and lawns. Classes have been brought to Liberty Terrace for tours on this topic. Most recently the incoming EOP class participated in an interactive lesson on green building and water management this past summer. Liberty Terrace has also served as a stop on the Capital Region Green Infrastructure tour.In addition, during our energy campaign, the housing managers at our apartment complexes host a "green your space" event at the beginning of the year. Water conservation, by doing full loads in the dishwasher and laundry are highlighted.

Public Engagement:

HHPM 535: Community Based Public Health

PLN 681: Planing Studio

Two professors joined forces to create an interdisciplinary effort to provide a needs assessment and recommendations for an Albany neighborhood. Professor Janine Jurkowski's Public Health class and Professor Corianne Scally's Urban Planning class collaborated with the Arbor Hill and West End Development Association. The students toured the areas, interviewed residents, conducted surveys, attended community forums and reviewed demographic data to create a needs assessment and recommendations to the community on how to get access to resources and financial aid in implementing projects. The two classes gave their report to key community members during the spring of 2014.