Univ. Awarded as Greenest School in Conference
Margarita Lazo, Amanda Pellegrino, Tower Staff
April 20, 2012
Filed under News
Catholic University was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the university that supplies the most green-power out of every university in the 8 member Landmark Conference. In addition, the University was also listed in the The Princeton Review’s annual Guide to Green Colleges as one of the most environmentally friendly universities in the United States.
The University has made many efforts to increase sustainability on campus. A solar powered picnic table was designed outside the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center in 2011 and two green roofs were installed on Gibbons and Flather halls. The University was also ranked as 117 out of 226 in the 2011 Recyclemania contest and recognized as a 2011 Tree Campus USA School.
In February 2012, President Garvey committed to Mayor Vincent Gray’s College and University Sustainability Pledge (CUSP), pushing to help make Washington the most sustainable college city in America. As part of the pledge, the University hopes to reduce the number of cars per person on campus by 5 percent, anticipating that this contest will help it reach its goal.
The entirety of the University’s annual electricity usage is included in the 43 million kilowatt-hours of environmentally friendly power, which is comparable to saving enough electricity to power about 6,000 passenger vehicles or 4,000 homes in the United States, according to a University press release.
The University is currently hosting a contest for students to build a solar powered bus stop. The administration hopes that a safe, well-lit, and protective bus shelter will help make the university’s shuttle service more convenient and reliable, as well as decrease the amount of vehicular traffic and pollution on campus. An improved service will encourage students to use the shuttle more and drive their personal vehicles less.
Nareg Khachadorian, a sophomore architecture and engineering student, joined the contest with two of his friends. His team is planning to build a shelter with double glazing glass, which can adjust to different weather conditions.
“It allows sunlight to come through, but also keeps out cold air. During the summer, it will deflect the sun,” said Khachadorian. He hopes this material will make waiting for the bus a more pleasant experience, describing his shelter as “a comfortable little nook.” Since safety is the main focus the bus shelter, lighting will also be an important element in the design.
“With a good amount of lighting, you feel that sense of security,” Khachadorian said.
Brian Alexander, Director of Energy and Utilities Management at the University, says that the shuttle service needs to be improved and he hopes that the shuttle contest will help the service become more user-friendly.
The bus stops will help “create a more vigorous and robust shuttle system” in order to decrease the use of cars per person, Alexander said.
“Part of [the changes are] maybe different routes, maybe more frequent shuttles, maybe shuttles that look differently, that stand out,” he added.
Students should consider not only how the new bus stop will look, but also how it will work, he said.
“Right now there isn’t much letting you know about the shuttle service times and locations. The bus shelters on campus will definitely publicize it more effectively,” said sophomore Amy Nogowski.
The teams who entered the contest must have at least one engineering student and one architecture student. Teams have to submit their designs with one three-dimensional perspective drawing, a poster detailing the designs, and a one-tenth scale prototype to represent the materials used for the actual shelter. The designs will be judged on architecture, aesthetics, marketability, functionality, innovation, safety, and teamwork. The teams will be awarded a maximum of 20 points in each category. The winning team will receive a $3,000 cash prize.
The Princeton Review recognized CUA for “convening ‘scholars in theology, philosophy, and religious studies [with] scientists, engineers, economists and political scientists… to help develop concepts and polices for ethical stewardship of the Earth.”
The University also provides degrees in environmental studies including Master of Science in Sustainable Design and Master of City and Regional Planning. The Princeton Review also notes that 35 percent of the University’s food budget is spent on local foods, 95 percent of cleaning products used on campus are green certified and 30 percent of campus is maintained organically.
As the University hopes to improve its sustainability over next 15 years, there are many changes and improvements to come. But Alexander hopes that students will learn to look at alternative modes of transportation as an additional way to reduce the amount of energy used.
“The mini bus shelter is one vehicle, no pun intended, to get us to that point,” Alexander said.