Student-led Effort Establishes 'Green Roof' at UNL

A student-powered fund created to expand sustainability programming at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has set down its first roots.

Through a project led by Kylie Tucker, a junior fisheries and wildlife major, a prototype green roof has been established on a balcony area at the Rec and Wellness Center on East Campus. Project funding was provided through a $2,500 Association of Students of the University of Nebraska Green Fund grant.

The fund, which was approved by a student vote in 2015 and launched in spring 2016, collects a $1 student fee each semester to support student-led sustainability projects at the university.
Tucker learned about the fund through a presentation by Prabs Shrestha, the university’s sustainability coordinator.

“I’m the type of student who wants to be outdoors getting exposure to all kinds of green spaces,” Tucker said. “When Prabs came to class to talk about the Green Fund, I thought it was an incredible opportunity to do a micro-project that would expand sustainability on campus and, possibly, inspire other students to do the same.”

Consulting with Richard Sutton, an agronomy and horticulture/landscape architecture professor who led the environmental sciences course Shrestha visited, Tucker and two other students — Colleen Ocken, a junior biological systems engineering major, and Julia Cambridge, a sophomore horticulture major — opted to pursue a green roof project.

Sutton, whose research is focused on developing less expensive and more reliable methods to grown native prairie grasses and wildflowers in green roof applications, helped focus the project by suggesting the balcony area on the East Campus recreation building.

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