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Green Campuses
Alex Steffen, 24 Mar 05

More and more schools are focusing their curricula on worldchanging matters. Even those bugbears of the Leftist imagination, the MBAs, are competing to create social ventures and (like our new friends at Triple Pundit) launching do-good blogs. But it's one thing to talk about changing the world, it's another to actively engage in worldchanging. Can campuses not only teach a bright green future, but manifest it?

That's starting to happen with increasing frequency. Smart administrator are recognizing that not does greening their campus look good in the brochures and save them money, it actually better prepares students for the future in which they'll be living.

How much momentum does this campus greening movement have? This overview takes us back to school:

Rob Gogan, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was startled by what he found while accompanying his son on college-campus tours. Sparkling dorms with wireless Internet in every room? Of course. But guides bragging about geothermal energy and furniture made of conscientiously harvested wood? "Unbelievable," Gogan says. He claims such innovations would not have existed even five years ago. ... 91 percent of people ages 16 to 25 say the environment is important to them, according to a poll by Look-Look Inc., a research and marketing company specializing in youth culture.

The examples cited are inspiring. the Yale Sustainable Food Project features "menus based on local, seasonal, and organic ingredients"; CMU's New House Residence Hall is eco enough to be a Green Building Alliance case study; Clemson students are tigerish about recycling; while Colorado State's students are ponying up a small extra fee to completely power their dorm rooms with wind energy (presumably they're also using some of that windpower to download music, thus saving even more energy.) A glaring, though oft-hyped, omission is the Oberlin College Center for Environmental Studies, which folks say is about as worldchanging a campus building as has yet been built in the U.S.

(Got an example to add to the list? Is there a cool program at your alma mater that Worldchangers should know about? Share it in the comments section below!)

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As a matter of fact...the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School is sponsoring a series of seminars early next week "on the structure and work of Energy Systems Labs (ESL) in university settings, addressing performance and innovation in the buildings sector. The workshops will be led by Professors of Engineering Daniel Turner, PE of Texas A&M and Mingsheng Liu, PE of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Directors of ESL's at their respective institutions."

The primary goal of the series is to explore the possibility of establishing an ESL in the CUNY system, in part to contribute to how CUNY is managing its own properties, in part to increase CUNY's contributions in this arena to NYC overall.

Here's a Word file with more on the workshops, and how to register (I'm as sure as I can be that it's virus free, but download at your own risk).

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 25 Mar 05

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA has some great sustainable design features (the newest building - Seminar II - applied for LEED gold certification).
While I was there, we worked to close the food cycle by providing eggs and produce for the dining hall from the on-campus organic farm. All the food scrap was then composted at the farm and reapplied to the fields.
One example of some good work going on there.

Posted by: Justus on 25 Mar 05

All of the retrofits and new buildings on all UC campuses are slated to be LEED certified, due to the work of the CSSC (California Student Sustainability Coalition)

University of California Office of the President: Green Building factoids

Press release: UC Green Buildings

UC Regents Green Building and Clean Energy Standard

Posted by: Tawn Kennedy on 25 Mar 05

The National Association of Environmental Law Schools has a program on this. See:

Posted by: Stephen Martin on 26 Mar 05



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