Campus as a Living Laboratory

Connecting FSU students and faculty to campus and community partners to tackle real-world sustainability challenges


The Campus as a Living Laboratory (Living Lab) program is an FSU Sustainable Campus initiative. A Living Lab is any educational use of the campus or Tallahassee community. Living Lab projects have a course or classroom dimension and involve experiential student learning that contributes to understanding or advancing sustainability.

At FSU, the Living Lab program connects university faculty and students to campus and community partners through multidisciplinary learning and applied research projects. Through the program, students gain hands-on experience and connect with professionals in the field while campus and community partners benefit from university resources, research, and faculty.

Living Lab process

Project proposals can be submitted at any time, and applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Once a project has been identified, the Living Lab Program Coordinator connects university faculty to the proposal and helps both parties navigate the implementation process.

All projects begin with a Memorandum of Understanding, which is signed at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester. The project is introduced to the class in the first weeks of the semester. At the end of the semester, students present their work and submit deliverables.

Explore living lab projects



Community Partner


Course Code

Cycling Savvy Advertising Campaign

Jaejin Lee

Sustainable Campus, Transportation and Parking Services

Fall 2019

ADV 5007

Sustainability Research in the Community

Tingting Zhao

Sustainable Tallahassee

Fall 2019

IDS 2227

Sustainable Behavior Change in Dining

Jaejin Lee


Spring 2019

ADV 5007


living lab resources for fsu faculty/staff

What is an ideal Living Lab course?

Living Lab courses can take many forms, and all sizes of classes and levels of student education can be accommodated within the program.

The most successful Living Lab courses share the following characteristics:

  • The course provides students with the opportunity to focus on an environmental, economic, and/or social sustainability challenge.
  • The course includes project-based learning and/or group work.
  • Students are prepared to research and network outside of the classroom setting.

What are my responsibilities as a Living Lab instructor?

Faculty or staff members teaching a Living Lab course should be open to working with campus and community partners to create experiential learning opportunities for students.

The Living Lab program requires instructors to:

  1. Work with a campus or community partner to identify related project proposals
  2. Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the partner (using the Living Lab MoU template)
  3. Design appropriate learning objectives and modifying syllabus requirements to incorporate experiential learning
  4. Reserve at least two in-class sessions for a beginning-of-semester project introduction and end-of-semester student presentations (as agreed upon in the MoU)
  5. Guide and mentor student project implementation

Is there funding available to support Living Lab courses?

The Green Fund offers Living Lab Grants to faculty members in support of the Campus as a Living Laboratory (Living Lab) initiative. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and the limit of the grant request is $500 or less.

Funds can be used to support:

  • On-campus infrastructure development
  • Research
  • Site visits
  • Other related experiences that take place at FSU or in the Tallahassee area

Submit a Living Lab Grant application »

How can my class get involved with the Living Lab program?

All campus faculty and/or staff members teaching a course at any academic level are invited to participate in the program by requesting a Living Lab consultation.

To schedule a consultation, please email Laurelin Haas at


What is an ideal Living Lab project?

Projects should demonstrate a clear connection to environmental, economic, and/or social sustainability and engage students in real-world challenges.

  • Environment: Environmental sustainability projects enhance our ability to live within the means of our natural resources. Ex: A small group of students worked with their university’s Facilities Management department to assess water usage in campus buildings. They conducted inspections, placed work orders, and researched awareness campaigns. 
  • Economy: Economic sustainability projects support growth that positively impacts the social, environmental, and cultural aspects of a community. Ex: A small group of students worked with their university’s Housing department to draft sustainable purchasing guides to encourage the campus community and its suppliers to lower their environmental impact.
  • Society: Social sustainability projects promote systems, structures, and relationships that support the creation of healthy and livable communities for all. Ex: A Mechanical Engineering class worked with an Adaptive Sports & Recreation Club and their university’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to upgrade wheelchairs for student athletes with disabilities.

Who can submit a project proposal?

All campus departments and community organizations are invited to participate in the program by submitting project proposals. Community organizations can include government departments, local businesses, non-profit organizations, and other groups in the Tallahassee area.

Campus and community partners should (at minimum) be committed to:

  1. Developing a project proposal
  2. Establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the faculty/staff partner (using the Living Lab MoU template)
  3. Attending two in-class sessions (beginning-of-semester project introduction and end-of-semester student presentations)
  4. Providing guidance to students throughout the project in the form of in-person meetings, phone conversations, email communications, and/or site visits (as agreed upon in the MoU)

How do I submit a project proposal?

Apply Offline

Apply Online

  1. Download the Offline Living Labs Project Proposal form.
  2. Email the completed form to
  1. Complete the Qualtrics survey.



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[BLOG] Students Partner with Sustainable Tallahassee to Address Sustainability Concerns in the Community

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