The PSU Living Lab program is a partnership between the PSU Campus Sustainability Office, Facilities and Property Management department, and Institute for Sustainable Solutions that matches motivated faculty and students with University staff to work on projects that support PSU’s campus sustainability goals.
The Living Lab program aims to bridge the gap between opportunities in education and improved campus operations by bringing together a diverse team of campus stakeholders to solve a problem, explore an applied research question, or ignite an initiative that assists the University in achieving its sustainability goals. Operational staff benefit from high-quality research on projects directly targeting campus plans. Faculty benefit from the support of brokers such as ISS to implement course projects that deepen learning by engaging students in real campus sustainability issues. Students benefit from gaining tangible skills through experiential education focused on campus sustainability issues.
Campus Tree Inventory
Students in the capstone course “Empowering Communities with Asset Mapping and GIS” collect quantitative and qualitative data of campus trees to establish a campus-wide tree inventory that will allow PSU to track the overall health of its urban forest and to promote its benefit to the campus community. The outcomes of the project connect directly to the Campus Tree Care Plan, which outlines strategies and goals for long-term management of campus trees. Read more about the Tree Inventory project here.
Staff champions: Campus Sustainability Office and Campus Planning Office
Faculty partner: Meg Merrick
WALL-E: Waste Audit Living Lab Experience
Currently in its second year of the Living Lab program, WALL-E is partnering with four University Studies Freshman Inquiry courses aimed at conducting a year-long applied research project on the topic of waste. Via student-conducted waste sorts, valuable waste data is collected for the Campus Sustainability Office and students work to develop and implement various interventions to address waste reduction on campus. Read more about WALL-E here.
Staff champion: Tony Hair, Waste Management Coordinator, Campus Sustainability Office
Faculty partners: Jones Estes, Jeff Gerwing, Annie Knepler, and Leslie Batchelder
>>See all active Living Lab Projects
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