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"Campus as a Living Lab" Program

​​​​​As part of the 2014 CSU Sustainability Policy​, the California State University is tasked with integrating sustainability into the academic curriculum.

To that end, CSU campus faculty have developed courses in which students confront real-world sustainability problems and address the planet’s environmental challenges. One of these is the “Campus as a​ Living Lab” (CALL) grant program, an outcome of funding from the National Science Foundation.​

For additional information regarding the Campus as a Living Lab Grant Program, please contact Elke Schreiner, Grant Program Coordinator at sustainability@calstate.edu. CSU campus faculty and staff can submit an application here.

Partnering on Campus to Solve Real Problems

The CALL initiative set an ambitious goal: to seek interested faculty and facilities operations staff who would work together to incorporate a specific university challenge into the curricula of courses.

Simply put, the program helps to address a sustainability goal while at the same time providing students with an opportunity to work to solve a real-world campus problem. Faculty redesign a course to incorporate student learning and activities that respond to that particular campus’s challenge.

‘Ca​mpus as a Living Lab’ at Work

To date, 57 CALL projects have been developed, including two learning communities. Here are some examples:

Restoration Ecology Sonoma State 
Restoration Ecology
Sonoma State

Students collected data about the ecology around Copeland Creek, which runs through the campus, to help inform future restoration of the area.

Re-use of Green/Food Waste CSU East Bay 
Re-use of Green/Food Waste
CSU East Bay

This project assessed the feasibility of restoring the Hayward campus using green/food-waste-derived compost and other campus resources.

Building Energy Analysis CSU Northridge 
Building Energy Analysis
CSU Northridge

Students in civil engineering studied how ecologically efficient CSUN’s buildings are and identified ways to make them more efficient.

To Trash or Not to Trash 
To Trash or Not to Trash
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Theatre and dance students looked at the waste created by theatre set and architectural model construction to make these processes more sustainable.