What Is A Living Laboratory?

AASHE STARS recommends that universities use their campuses as a living laboratory.

This means that the university’s infrastructure and operations are used to foster multidisciplinary student learning and applied research that contributes to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus.

Such efforts produce substantive work by students and/or faculty (e.g. class projects, thesis projects, term papers, published papers) that involve active and experiential learning. These efforts, in addition to immersive education programs, co-curricular activities, and community service, help to create an interconnected and holistic learning system on campus.

Past Examples Of How Our Campus Has Been A Living Laboratory

  • Mechanical Engineering students conducted an analysis of North Campus windows to support the facilities department goal of reducing GHG emissions.
  • Students in courses worked with the City of Lowell's Solid Waste & Recycling Coordinator to complete trash bin audits on campus.
  • The Francis College of Engineering utilizes our campus transit, bike share and pedestrian facilities for annual teaching and research purposes. In addition, students assisted with the data collection needed for a successful USDOT TIGER grant in 2015.
  • A student completed an honors thesis on composting. In addition, Dining Services offers tours to students of the Green Restaurant certified McGauvran Dining Commons.
  • Computer science students developed a web-based data portal, used in conjunction with other science courses such as those that focus on water research in the Merrimack and Concord Rivers using a location close to UMass Lowell's Inn and Conference Center.
  • The Office of Multicultural Affairs runs a very successful Diversity Peer Educators program.