Project: Waste Eliminators

Built for a 120-student Environmental Sciences class with funding from a Situated Learning award and with support from the Office of Sustainability, Waste Eliminators is a multi-role tour of seven buildings on campus conveying elements and examples of six aspects of Sustainability (Carbon footprint, Human health, LEED certification, Water, Waste, and Ecology). It was designed to be played by teams of three players, each taking on a role with epistemic “superpowers” — 1) the Engineer who sees through walls to see underlying systems; 2) the Historian who communicates with historical/cultural figures: and 3) the Naturalist who understand ecological systems.

In the two-hour class experience, each location focuses on one or two themes, and builds on prior ones. Throughout the game, players photograph and tag campus sustainability challenges and solutions to better understand systems and constraint. Evaluation and assessment of conceptual understanding are measured through Google Forms.

Highlights included visiting the boiler room in North Hall to compare the original wood heat with the steam tunnel system that now criss-crosses campus, talking to a banana in the Grainger cafeteria about its carbon footprint (and how tired it is of traveling), and viewinf the campus as a system from the top of Van Hise with virtual reality panoramic overlays pointing out various “birds-eye” views of the power plants, waste plants, etc.

Recently awarded a grant from the Office of Sustainability’s SIRE grant, development of a second iteration, Sustainable U, is now underway!