Drexel Offers Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshop
December 1, 2010
The Provost’s Council on Academic Sustainability, which is part of the Drexel Green Initiative, the Provost’s office and the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence are sponsoring the first Sustainability Across the Curriculum workshop as part of a University-wide push to incorporate sustainability.
The University, which is dedicated to transforming the campus into a sustainability leader, already has undertaken numerous “Green” projects and has been named a Top 100 “Cool School” by Sierra Club Magazine. Now Drexel is planting the seeds to take this issue directly into the classroom with this workshop.
Drexel is also in the process of forming a sustainability institute and modifying its University 101 class, a mandatory course designed to maximize a student's potential to succeed, to incorporate basic sustainability principles.
In the long-term, “We hope to have courses with sustainability content in all of the colleges and schools at Drexel, as well as civic engagement projects that involve sustainability. We already have significant research related to sustainability, and we hope to foster further research activity in this area,” said Dr. Patricia Gallagher, an associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering and Provost's Fellow in Sustainability.
The 18 faculty members who will participate in the workshop are expected to revise at least one course within the next year to incorporate sustainability as a significant component.
The Dec. 2-4 workshop will engage faculty in exploring what sustainability means to them and present methods to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. Integrating sustainability into the classroom will allow students greater opportunities to learn about the issue and its importance and interrelationship with other key issues of the day.
“We will see a growth of sustainability-related academic programs (majors, minors, graduate) over the next five years,” said Dr. Richard Cairncross, a workshop facilitator and associate professor of chemical and biological engineering in the College of Engineering. “This is a crucial topic for students who will be facing issues related to sustainability in their careers, so as educators we have a responsibility to give them the tools to make appropriate and informed decisions in their careers.”
The workshop, to be held in the Drexel Faculty Club in MacAlister Hall at 33rd and Chestnut Streets, will be led by a team of faculty trained by Geoffrey Chase of San Diego State University and Peggy Barlett of Emory University, editors of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change. It will offer presentations, exercises, discussions, reflection, and planning as participants become familiar with the philosophy of green curricular development.
The workshop includes a presentation by Gallagher, who has taken time off from her Drexel duties to help raise endangered whooping crane chicks, and a trip to the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center.
Drexel was recently honored by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, with a Green Power Award for leadership in energy efficiency, including deploying an energy monitoring system at the main campus. Additional sustainability efforts include using biodiesel fuel for shuttle buses, purchasing hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, a free bike share program, implementing a multitude of energy-saving controls and lighting efficiency measures, use of ice thermal energy for cooling and wide-ranging recycling efforts.
Other Drexel Green initiatives include:
• The purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates equal to 100 percent of the University’s energy use, making Drexel one of the top 50 purchasers of wind energy in the nation.
• The new five-story Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building will include a living, filtering bio-wall to improve indoor air quality.
• The Drexel Smart House is a student-led, multidisciplinary project to construct an urban home to serve as a “living laboratory” for exploring cutting-edge design and technology. Participants conduct research and develop designs in the areas of environment, energy, interaction, health, and lifestyle.
• Drexel Park, 32nd Street and Powelton Avenue, has been redeveloped into open green space serving as a recreational facility for students and the Powelton community.
• Millennium Hall, 34th Street and Powelton Avenue, was constructed with a green roof to insulate the building, manage storm water and reduce the heat island effect. It also features low flow toilets and shower heads.
• The Recreation Center, 33rd and Market Streets, is designed to eliminate the use of electric lights during the day in 87 percent of interior occupied space. A rainwater reuse system manages storm water and reduces the amount of potable water used for flushing toilets.
News media contact:
Chris Silvestri, Drexel News Bureau