Living Lab Program

students looking at eco roof on science building

Shape our campus, operations, and policies by pitching projects and participating in the Living Lab program!

About

The Living Lab Program engages students and faculty in campus-based applied sustainability projects in partnership with operational staff. By bringing together the academic and operational side of PSU, the Living Lab program empowers students, faculty, and staff to apply creative and innovative approaches to campus-based research questions or challenges, and advance and inform campus sustainability goals. Students and faculty across disciplines such as engineering, business, urban planning, arts, and sciences have participated in the program. Staff partners include Campus Planning, Capital Projects & Construction, Transportation & Parking Services, and more. The program is facilitated as a partnership between the PSU Campus Sustainability Office, Facilities & Property Management department, and Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Mission

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.

Benefits

Everyone involved in a Living Lab project has the opportunity to spur meaningful changes in campus practices, policies, and built environment. Students benefit from increased knowledge about a range of sustainability-related topics and by gaining tangible skills through experiential education. Working on a Living Lab project provides students with experiences that build leadership and professional development skills and extend learning outside the classroom. Operational staff benefit from high-quality research and innovative recommendations on projects directly targeting their work and department's role in meeting campus sustainability goals. Faculty benefit from access to campus resources and the support of Living Lab team "liaisons" to implement course and research projects that deepen student learning.

See the project highlights page for examples of Living Lab projects integrated into coursework and independent student projects.

How to Participate

You can be a part of the Living Lab program by pitching, planning, supporting, and implementing Living Lab projects. Review the projects currently seeking participants below and email livinglab@pdx.edu if you are interested in learning more about any of the projects. If you are interested in an on-campus sustainability related project but don’t see a good fit here, we encourage you to contact us with your interests!

Sometimes projects are brought into the classroom by faculty and sometimes projects are led by students as an independent project. Whatever the path, the Living Lab team is here to help!

 

Pitch a project

Do you have a campus-based project idea that relates to sustainability? Reach out to us at livinglab@pdx.edu to begin a conversation! If you are a staff member, tell us more about your project idea by filling out the Project Profile form. Faculty and students can pitch their ideas as well, and once we find a staff partner, the project team can work together to develop the Project Profile. Even if you're not sure if a project meets our Living Lab mission, you are more than welcome to reach out if you have a course or research project needing access to campus resources.

Projects Seeking Participants

eco roof

Campuses across the world are using their campus as a living laboratory

PSU is actively engaged in the movement to make higher education campuses available for student learning, faculty research, and community innovation. Our team helps facilitate resource sharing through the Campus as Lab Community of Practice, which brings together practitioners for monthly webinars.