St. Clair County Community College on Friday, Oct. 4, hosted representatives from 30 community colleges from across the nation to showcase SC4’s Living Labs and campus sustainability efforts. The conference, “The Campus as a Living Lab: A Workshop on Using the Built Environment to Revitalize College Education,” was presented by the American Association of Community Colleges, its Sustainability Education and Economic Development Center (SEED), Siemens and the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow Network. Living Labs are parts of a college campus that also serve as teaching tools. Living Labs turn SC4’s heating, cooling and electrical components into instructional spaces, giving students the chance to study on actual building technologies before they enter the working world. During the conference, SC4 and some of the country’s most sustainable colleges discussed how they are integrating these projects into curriculum where students conduct campus greenhouse gas inventories, monitor classroom building energy use and install rooftop solar panels. Conference attendees listened to presentations, including those by SC4 faculty, staff and students, participated in discussions and toured SC4′s campus. SC4 President Dr. Kevin A. Pollock said the college’s Living Labs provide students a real-life link to promising careers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, also known as STEM. “We are excited to share our Living Labs concept with colleges from across the United States. The Living Labs go beyond helping the environment. They give students the tools they need for strong careers.” The American Association of Community Colleges’ Sustainability Education & Economic Development Center, SEED, advances sustainability and clean economy education and training practices at community colleges by building and sharing innovative models. SEED includes more than 470 community colleges representing over three million students as members. “As community colleges redesign and retrofit campuses in greener ways, we can use these projects as hands-on learning opportunities for our students,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. Eric Heinemann, SC4 instructor of mechatronics/alternative energy, said students using the Living Labs are working toward careers in alternative energy, mechatronics, robotics, engineering and facilities management. “Most of our students are hands-on learners,” he said. “These are something real, in front of them, humming and moving. They leave with a sense of success and confidence.” See photos of the event at www.sc4.edu/green.