Faculty Resources

Campus sustainability and climate action initiatives connect to a diverse and fascinating spectrum of issues ranging from the philosophical and moral (how do we consider the social cost of carbon and the urgency of environmental justice) to the deeply technical and practical (how can we build net zero infrastructure and renewable-based operations), extending into the psychological (what motivates change? what is climate anxiety?). From politics, business and law to the natural sciences and humanities, sustainability issues are directly connected to the important topics discussed in our classrooms every day, and campus sustainability projects can make great learning opportunities.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) offers resources and workshops on integrating sustainability across the curriculum, including the Guide for Applied Sustainability Learning and Projects. For a copy of the guide and more information on connecting with AASHE and other resources, contact the Office of Sustainability and Energy Education (OSEE).

Already have a sense of how you would like to incorporate sustainability in your class but looking for campus projects to serve as a case study or applied learning opportunity? Campus resources and initiatives accessible as sustainability teaching tools are listed below, organized by general topic. Contact OSEE director Jane Stewart for additional information and enthusiastic brainstorming.

NOTE Funding for new course development is available through the University Sustainability Committee's Sustainability Integration Grant.

Campus Resources, Projects, and Initiatives Available as Sustainability Teaching Tools

Data Analysts

  • Sub-Meter Data Live interval and historic electricity data is available on the W&L Energy Dashboard. Contact OSEE for log-in information to access multiple data views and analysis tools.
  • Campus Utility Data All electricity, natural gas and water data is available through W&L's comprehensive EnergyCap database. Contact OSEE for log in and instruction.
  • Solar Production Data Information on solar production from on-campus arrays is displayed in real-time on the campus Energy Dashboard. Off-campus array information is available monthly through OSEE by request.
  • Campus Waste Data  Compost collection data is available by week; E-Waste is available by term, and landfill and recycling data is available by year.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data W&L's annual GHG report details emissions from energy, transportation, purchasing, waste, paper, water, landscape management and more. Basic overview is accessible  through the SIMAP Public Reporting Home. Detailed access by request through OSEE.

Design and Engineering

  • Campus Solar Arrays Three on-campus solar PV arrays and one solar thermal array are available for study. Coordination through OSEE and the University Engineer.
  • Power Plant & Utility Infrastructure Current power plant and energy distribution design is accessible for study. Engineering planning underway for the transition away from fossil fuels can be accessed through coordination with the University Engineer. 
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification All W&L construction and renovation projects must be certified LEED Silver or higher. Access to LEED scorecards, reports, and planning through OSE and the Office of Capital Projects. 
  • Campus Compost System W&L's 2-bay, commercial-scale compost system includes an underground leachate pumping mechanism and is accessible for study.

Place-Based, Tours and Trips

  • KIHKǪSPÉ:HLA Living Lab Owned and stewarded by the indigenous led non-profit, NDPonics, and focused on conservation of ancestral land of the Eastern Siouan peoples, this 6-acre property in Irish Creek offers place-based study across disciplines through a special partnership with W&L. Applications for use are accepted through a link on the Provost's Office website.
  • W&L Campus Garden The campus garden produces food for campus dining and local hunger relief programs. In addition to its role as a production garden, it serves as demonstration space for sustainable small scale production and as a resource for research and projects.
  • Central Power Plant Tours of the University heating & cooling plant offer students a sense of the practical aspects of physically running the campus.
  • Colice Hall, Off-Campus Solar Array Roughly 4 hours from campus, just over the NC boarder, this 100 plus acre array offers first-hand review of technical, environmental and social factors in siting large- scale renewables. OSEE can coordinate visits with site manager. 

Policy, Administration and Change Management

  • The Climate Action Plan  is W&L's guidance document on university carbon reduction goals and strategies. This document is updated periodically and there may be opportunity for student engagement in assessment and revision.
  • W&L's No Idling Policy  This recent policy prohibits vehicle idling on campus. Engagement could include reviewing challenges between policy creation and implementation, and opportunities to create awareness campaign and measure results.
  • Carbon Accounting Students can review and assess university policy on purchased carbon offsets, efforts underway to establish an internal cost of carbon, and new tools for tracking carbon associated with university spending, including travel.

Help Wanted

The Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with campus and community partners, is actively seeking student and faculty engagement in the following:

  • Design of a shade structure for the Campus Garden.
  • Design of industrial size sifter for campus compost operations.
  • Accessibility designed planters for the Campus Garden.
  • Marketing campaigns for waste reduction.
  • Research on reducing local single-occupancy vehicle commuting.
  • Plant selection for Woods Creek Restoration project to replace invasive species with native plants.
  • Development of a student survey to assess sustainability culture on campus.