Sustainability News from the Drexel University Sustainability Council

A Note from the Chair
Drexel Blackout/Campus Conservation
Farmers Market
Philly Spring Cleanup
Earth Week 2013
Earth Day Student Photo Contest

Academy of Natural Sciences
UC Green Seeks Board Members
Westphal Introduces Sustainability Minor
LeBow's Sustainability Courses
ISB Accolades

A Note from the Chair

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year here at Drexel, and that’s especially true for Drexel Green. The next three months are jam-packed with sustainability-related programs and events on and around campus, including the annual Earth Day Block Party celebration on April 22, which will be held simultaneously on all three Philadelphia campuses. Consult the Drexel Green Event Calendar at for a full listing of upcoming events. If you are interested in getting more involved in Drexel’s sustainability efforts, please consider attending our Sustainability Council meetings (open to faculty, professional staff and students). All meetings are held from 12 to 1:30pm in the Liberty View room, 6th Floor of MacAlister Hall. RSVPto Our Spring Quarter meetings will take place:

  • Tuesday, April 16
  • Tuesday, May 14
  • Tuesday, June 18

— Kyle Kephart

Drexel Blackout/Campus Conservation Nationals

The annual Drexel Blackout began Monday, April 1, for students living in the residence halls and in the 34th Street Greek Houses. Electricity usage in the residences will be measured during the month of April and compared to last year’s usage. The house with the highest percentage decrease will win a trophy and party at the beginning of May. The results will also be submitted to the Campus Conservation Nationals, where Drexel is competing against more than 130 other schools nationwide to achieve the greatest possible energy and water reductions in residence halls. This month-long campaign to save energy is being coordinated by a team from Drexel Business Services and University Facilities, in partnership with the Sustainability Council. The Drexel Green website has an Energy Saver Guide [PDF] with a few tips to get you started on saving electricity.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the annual RecycleMania competition this year, which wrapped up on March 30. Drexel Green is in the process of submitting the University’s recycling collection data. Look for our final standings to be published on the Drexel Green website.

Farmers Market Returns!

For the 5th year in a row, the Drexel Farmers Market returns to campus this term, starting on April 2. The weekly Drexel Farmers Market can be found on the University City Campus at 33rd and Market Streets (the Dragon Statue) on Tuesdays from 11 am to 3 pm. Drexel Business Services is proud to feature this weekly offering of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit from King’s Dutch Country Goods to the campus community. Baked goods, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, cheeses, and yogurt are also offered. Every Tuesday, the farmer is available for all patrons of the market to meet, get to know and ask questions about the food they are buying — an essential component of a local, sustainable food system.

Philly Spring Cleanup: April 13

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has made Saturday, April 13, 2013, Philly Spring Cleanup Day and has requested Philadelphians to join him once again in hopes of having the largest citywide cleanup event in Philadelphia. The cleanup will take place from 9am-2pm throughout the city. Drexel wants to show their support of this worthwhile initiative and needs your help to make this a success.

We are working with the City to send teams of Drexel students, faculty and staff to specific locations throughout Philadelphia. Drexel will provide shuttle service, t-shirts and refreshments for volunteers. Shuttles will depart at 8:45am from Race Street, between 33rd and 34th Streets, and return at approximately 2pm. Click here to register.

For more information on the Philadelphia Cleanup, you can also visit the Philadelphia Streets site.

Earth Week 2013

Drexel Green’s annual Earth Day Block Party will be held on Monday, April 22, from 11am to 2pm along Lancaster Walk behind the Drexel Recreation Center on the University City Campus. Simultaneous Earth Day events will also take place on the Queen Lane and Center City Campuses. Vendors and organizations from within the University and the local community will set up tables with educational materials, giveaways, refreshments, trivia and activities celebrating the natural environment and sustainable practices. Highlights include:

  • Goodwill Clothing Drive, kicking off a month-long partnership with Goodwill. Bring clothing, shoes and accessories to donate. Donation bins will also be on campus from April 15 to May 17 at: S Lot (behind Caneris Hall); behind the Rush Building, between Market and Arch off 33rd Street; U Lot, next to the James E. Marks Intercultural Center. Revenue generated will fund employment training for West Philadelphians. You can pick up a donation receipt at the Human Resources Office or Creese Student Center Information Desk.
  • Scavenger Hunt and DIY herb planting hosted by the Sierra Club
  • Upcycle table and pop-up shop hosted by the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s d&mShop
  • Vehicles from Zipcar and Enterprise Car Share
  • Refreshments and giveaways

Other events taking place during Earth Week include:

  • Saturday, April 20, 9am: Clean Air Council 5k Run/3k Walk for Clean Air. E-mail for details on joining the Drexel Sierra Club’s team.
  • Monday, April 22, 6-8 pm: The Imperative to Address Climate Change: Voices of Faith Speak Out, a panel discussion at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Wednesday, April 24:
    • Sierra Club Clothing Swap, 11am-3pm, Race Street Lawn
    • A Healthier U’s Urban Riding Basics Workshop on bicycle safety, 12-1pm, MacAlister Hall 2019/2020. Co-sponsored by Drexel Green. E-mail to reserve your spot!
    • Sierra Club’s Bike Maintenance Class, 7-8pm, Recreation Center Lobby. Hosted by Keswick Cycles of West Philadelphia. E-mail to reserve your spot!
  • Thursday, April 25, 8pm: Sierra Club Outdoor Movie Screening of Tapped on the Race Street Lawn
  • Friday, April 26, 11am-2pm: Sierra Club Vegan Bake Sale + Bike-Powered Smoothies, cosponsored by Fresh Food Hub, at the Dragon Statue (33rd and Market Streets)

For complete event details, see the Event Calendar at

Earth Day Student Photo Contest

Drexel’s laundry vendor, Mac-Gray, is soliciting entries for its 2013 Earth Day Photo Contest. In the spirit of Earth Day, the contest aims to inspire and reveal the many ways to be green and contribute to the sustainable initiatives of college and university campuses across the country. Students are encouraged to enter the contest by taking a photograph of a place, object or person that captures the spirit of being green on campus, or whatever represents the importance of protecting the Earth and its environment for the future. The contest opened on March 25, and entries must be submitted by 11:59pm EST on April 12. Judging will begin on April 15 by a panel of experts from the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and Winners of the $500 Amex Gift Card Grand Prize and $50 second and third place prizes will be announced on April 22. The top three photos will be featured as Mac-Gray’s Facebook cover photo and Twitter profile for a month. Submit your entries at

What’s New at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The following events will be held during the Spring Term at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University at 19th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For more information on these and other events coming soon to the Academy, visit the Center for Environmental Policy’s website.

  • Green Design in Mind: Can we see past what we imagine?
    April 18, 2013, 6:30-8pm

    More than 25 years ago, Dr. David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College, organized studies of energy, water and materials use on several college campuses that helped to launch the green campus movement. In 1996, he organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus, Oberlin’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center. The Center purifies all of its wastewater and is the first college building in the U.S. powered entirely by sunlight. (Sponsored by Resonate and the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.) This discussion and book signing is free and open to the public; registration is requested via
    *Professor Orr will also be on the University City Campus on April 18 to present his vision of full-spectrum sustainability in an event sponsored by the Drexel Smart House. All members of the University community are welcome to hear him speak from 1pm-3pm in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building Atrium.
  • From Tracks to Parks: The Next Generation of Urban Green
    April 29, 2013, 6-8pm

    Next City and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University invite you to hear from the visionaries who are transforming the industrial relics of our past into urban parks of the future. Inspired by New York’s High Line, cities across the U.S. are adapting aging rail infrastructure into linear parks and recreation paths. Through a moderated panel discussion with representatives of Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, New York’s High Line, Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct and St. Louis’ Trestle, we will explore how these projects are redefining our notion of the local park and engaging urban dwellers in shaping the future of our cities. Free and open to the public; registration is requested via
  • Unconventional Dwellings: Are there sustainable options for challenged communities?
    May 23, 2013, 6-7:30pm

    With global population on the rise and the climate changing rapidly, housing challenges will only continue to grow. There will be ever-greater needs for imaginative, sustainable, cost-effective and easily constructed dwellings. We also need to look at cost-effective retrofits for the types of existing housing stock we have in Philadelphia. Join us for a lively evening exploring a wide range of alternatives to traditional housing with Bridgette Meinhold, architecture editor of Inhabitat and author of Urgent Architecture, and Jonah Reynolds of Earthship Biotecture. (Sponsored by Resonate.) Free and open to the public; registration is requested via
  • Beyond Green: How can sustainable design transform our lives?
    May 30, 2013, 6-7:30pm

    Join this discussion with Rob Fleming, LEED AP, as we consider ways to lay the groundwork for new and transformative approaches to sustainable design that are ambitious, authentic and ultimately lifesaving. The leap from the current low standards of greening to more ambitious sustainable design requires a fundamental shift to a regenerative model where buildings clean the air and water, send energy back to grid and produce zero waste. This conversation enables us to think beyond green as an afterthought as we use sustainable practices to demonstrate our own adaptation and resilience. (Sponsored by Resonate.) Free and open to the public; registration is requested via

UC Green Seeks Board Members

Attention Faculty & Staff: UC Green is looking for faculty and professional staff members at Drexel University, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Academy of Natural Sciences who are interested in becoming Board Members. Celebrating its 15th year, UC Green is a local organization working to improve University City through partnerships, education and community service. Those interested in joining the Board are encouraged to contact Rita LaRue, Senior Associate Vice President of Drexel Business Services and Chair of the Board of UC Green, by telephone or e-mail: 215-895-1534 or For more information about the organization, please see the UC Green website at

Westphal Introduces New Sustainability Minor

Sustainability in the Built Environment, a new minor program at Drexel, is part of a University-wide trend to provide students with the tools needed to analyze future projects from a sustainable perspective. Originating in the Department of Architecture + Interiors in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the minor is an interdisciplinary set of courses focusing on current and future issues of sustainability in the modern era.

“Creating an interdisciplinary curriculum was the goal of this minor, as well as giving students resources and insight into the topic of sustainability to be integrated into their existing disciplines,” said Diana Nicholas, a professor in the Architecture + Interiors program and coordinator of the new minor. “It’s becoming more and more necessary for students to have experience in the understanding of this topic.”

Debra Ruben and Nicole Koltick, assistant professors in the Department of Architecture + Interiors, are the creators of the new minor. “While sustainable design principles have become a thread throughout our curriculum, Architecture + Interiors students were expressing an interest in more in-depth knowledge and content related to sustainable design,” Ruben said. “That was what initially prompted the idea for the creation of the minor. At the same time, it was the perfect opportunity to expand the dialogue among students and disciplines — we wanted to encourage these connections.”

The minor consists of 15 required credits and nine free elective credits pertaining to sustainability. The courses integrate collaboration and interdisciplinary teamwork to help students understand how to incorporate sustainability principles into their future careers. The curriculum goes beyond the stereotypical design courses, working in interdisciplinary collaborations, and the minor is meant to be flexible so it can easily fit into a student’s schedule. Non-design students are encouraged to take the minor.

For more information on the minor, e-mail Diana Nicholas at or visit the website.

LeBow Expands Sustainability Course Offerings

The LeBow College of Business is also growing its sustainability-related course offerings with a new course offered this spring entitled, “Sustainability: Business and the Global Environment,” created by Dr. Suresh Chandran, an assistant clinical professor at LeBow. The curriculum aims to provide different ways to approach sustainability while preparing students to take leadership roles in addressing sustainable issues within business.

Max Zahniser, an adjunct professor of architecture in the Westphal College, is also designing a new sustainability-related course, with the help of Koedyker. Zahniser’s course will allow students to consult with non-profit organizations, to help them obtain a sustainable business certification from B Lab, a non-profit organization dedicated to using businesses to solve environmental problems.  The certification from B Lab makes sure that businesses meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

You can read more about the LeBow College of Business’ focus on sustainability in Drexel Now.

Another Accolade for the Integrated Sciences Building

Drexel’s Constantine N. Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (ISB) was awarded the Philadelphia Project of the Year by the Pennsylvania chapter of the March of Dimes on March 12, 2013. Jim Tucker, Senior Vice President for Student Life and Administrative Services, accepted the award on behalf of Drexel at the March of Dimes’ 20th annual Transportation, Building and Construction Awards Luncheon.

“Since it opened in September of 2011, the ISB has become one of the most iconic buildings on Drexel’s campus, rivaled only by the historic Main Building a block away,” said Tucker, who thanked Vice President for Facilities Bob Francis and his Planning, Design and Construction team for their work on the 130,000-square-foot research and academic building. Also present at the award ceremony were College of Arts and Sciences Dean Donna Murasko and Associate Dean Aleister Saunders, who helped design the building, as well as representatives from the architectural firm Diamond Schmitt and general contractor Turner Construction.

The Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building is certified LEED Gold and has earned accolades for its distinctive 5-story living wall of plants, which serves as both a sustainable design feature and a research tool for Drexel faculty and students.

Contact Us
Drexel Green and the Sustainability Council continue to grow, and we want to hear from you with ideas or offers of expertise. If you'd like to join the Council let us know.

Kyle Kephart, Director of Quality Services, Student Life and Administrative Services

Visit the Drexel Green website for more information on how to get involved.

Drexel University

This message to Drexel Official Mail was approved under the authority of
James R. Tucker, Senior Vice President for Student Life and Administrative Services

Philadelphia Health & Education Corporation d/b/a Drexel University College of Medicine
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