Living Lab Project & Partner Highlights

Examples of Partners

The work of Living Lab projects is primarily done by students in collaboration with faculty and operational staff. Check out who has been involved in Living Lab projects and how student, faculty, and staff partners have shaped PSU planning efforts and the physical campus.

Academic Partners

Living Lab projects have been tackled by students and faculty across a variety of PSU academic departments and programs. Some examples include:

  • Urban Studies & Planning
  • University Studies
  • Architecture
  • Biology
  • Engineering & Technology Management
  • Engineering: Civil & Environmental; Mechanical & Materials
  • Art
  • Business
  • Environmental Science & Management
  • Geography

Staff Partners

Most Living Lab projects start with an idea from University staff or are otherwise directly supported by a staff member when the project interacts with a department’s mission. Here is a list of some departments that have partnered on Living Lab projects, with some notes about the types of projects or topics they have supported:

  • Campus Planning Office (now the Planning & Sustainability Office)- transportation, retail, and open space planning
  • Transportation & Parking Services - transit and commuter programs and tracking; outreach and marketing; pedestrian-centered design
  • Facilities & Property Management - landscaping, trees, and ecosystem management and advocacy; infrastructure planning
  • Capital Projects & Construction - sustainable building design and material selection; building systems optimization; energy systems design
  • Emergency Management - seismic and disaster preparedness
  • Campus Sustainability Office - climate mitigation and resilience planning; utility and waste metrics; outreach and marketing design
in the planning phase the project team is formed and the scope is finalized then the project launch happens then in the project phase the project is underway and staff visit class as needed then there is a mid project check in then during the evaluation face there are final presentations and students complete an assessment and there is a faculty staff debrief and all documentation is finalized
The typical phases of a Living Lab project

Typical project process

Each Living Lab project is supported by a member of the Living Lab team, a "liaison". The typical process for a project includes three main phases: 

  • Planning phase: during the planning phase, an idea is proposed and scoped out, and the team is formed. An official project launch, such as a presentation to class, or meeting between key stakeholders, marks the transition from the planning to the project phase.
  • Project phase: during the project phase, students work on the project through coursework, independent study, an internship, or in whatever way has been determined for the project. Usually, there is a mid-project check in to review progress.
  • Evaluation phase: students typically present the results of their work through a final presentation and report. We also like to evaluate and identify student learning, potential operational outcomes, and opportunities for future projects.

Ultimately, the Living Lab process is flexible! If you're interested in getting involved, email

Living Lab Project Archive

The table below captures the most recent Living Lab projects. See the full archive for projects since 2015.

Project Name or Topic Project Type or Course & Year Faculty Partner(s) Staff Partner(s) Brief Overview & Link(s)
Art Accessibility Course: UNST 131A, 2020-2021 Sarah Wolf Newlands Sarah Kenney: Planning, Construction & Real Estate Develop process for making the PSU art collection accessible physically and digitally

Stormwater Management Assessment

ESM group masters project, 2019-2021

Jen Morse Max Nielsen-Pincus Sarah Carvill

Liz Hoekstra, Campus Planning Jenny McNamara, Campus Sustainability Office

Examine PSU stormwater management, outcomes, costs, benefits, and impacts

Exploring User Patterns at Campus Rec Course: ACTG 407, Fall 2020 Kristi Yuthas Jenny Welnick & Leslee Peterson: Campus Rec Use available data to recommend how Campus Rec can meet its strategic goals
Bioswale & Green Wall Design for SW Montgomery Student org: ASCE, Fall 2020 Evan Kristof Liz Hoekstra, Campus Planning Conceptual site design for a bioswale and green wall along SW Montgomery for submission to the EPA Rainworks Challenge

Waste Awareness & Behaviors

Course: UNST 108, Spring 2020

Leslie Batchelder

Brandon Lesowske, Campus Sustainability Office

Examine waste diversion knowledge and develop infographics about waste diversion at the residential through campus-wide level

Living Building Feasibility Study

Capstone: CEE 484/494, Winter & spring 2020

Evan Kristof

Liz Hoekstra, Campus Planning Quinn Soifer, Capital Projects Jenny McNamara, Campus Sustainability Office

Feasibility study and conceptual design for Harrison Street Building to be renovated to Living Building standards

Montgomery Street Plaza Capstone: CEE 484/494, Winter & spring 2020 Evan Kristof Liz Hoekstra, Campus Planning Susan Gust, Capital Projects Clint Culpepper, Transportation & Parking Services Schematic design and engineering study for Montgomery Plaza block that maintains bike access
Parking Structure 1 Traffic Study Capstone: CEE 484/494, Winter & spring 2020 Evan Kristof Ian Stude & Jeff Sevilla, Transportation & Parking Services Cameron Patterson, Capital Projects Alternative designs to improve traffic flow; reduce vehicle-pedestrian issues; and reduce idling at PS1
Water Filtration System, wells phase 3 Capstone: CEE 484/494, Winter & spring 2020 Evan Kristof Cary Morris, Facilities Emma Stocker, Emergency Management Design and operational guidelines of installing DIVVY water filtration system on campus
Residential Compost System Evaluation Course: UNST 108, Winter 2020 Annie Knepler Brandon Lesowske, Campus Sustainability Office Survey student residents to determine how residential compost system is being utilized in Ondine and Broadway
Life Cycle Assessment Applications for PSU Course: EC 522, Winter 2020 Sahan Dissanayake Emily Quinton, Campus Sustainability Office Explore how life cycle assessment can be used to inform purchasing and design decisions at PSU
Skybridges Network Course: USP 410/510, Fall 2019 Ellen Shoshkes Liz Hoekstra, Campus Planning Design an intervention to activate the PSU Skybridge Network at the section between SMSU & Cramer
Food Waste Awareness Course: UNST 124, Fall 2019 Jeff Gerwing Brandon Lesowske, Campus Sustainability Office Explore food waste prevention programming through activities and observation
Broadway Arboretum Interns Internship, Summer 2019 Jeff Gerwing Jenny McNamara, Campus Sustainability Office Ecosystem services valuation modeling for SW Broadway & control street
Green Building Interns Internship, Summer 2019 Elliott Gall Quinn Soifer, Capital Projects Air quality, occupant comfort, and building performance study of Karl Miller Center