Sustainability Class Focuses on Green Projects

Sourced from The Knox Student

Students are getting ready to propose their ideas for making the Knox campus more sustainable as part of their final projects. Six groups in Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Peter Schwartzman’s Sustainability class have spent the term working on various projects that aim to be adopted.

“The idea is that they’ve had more time, that the ideas for the projects would be fuller – they have more people and so maybe they have greater opportunity to be realized,” Schwartzman said, comparing his class to other, lower-level Environmental Studies classes.

Schwartzman has provided the class with a list of 16 potential projects to improve sustainability in the Knox community. The ideas came from both Schwartzman and Director of Sustainability Initiatives Deborah Steinberg. The projects chosen include planting trees, installing a “green roof,” creating a community space, composting, utilizing “reuse kits” and making perennial pots for the Knox Farm.

Freshman Luis Liendo Patino chose to focus on installing a green roof. A green roof involves placing a garden on the top of a building. Depending on their soil depth, green roofs can support grass or even trees.

“Green roofs were my number one option because I’m a big fan of plants,” Patino said. “I felt that green roofs was an achievable goal of mine, and an achievable thing that the school can do as well to not only create awareness among the students, but also as a way of leading as an example.”

Patino mentioned his upbringing in Bolivia as a motivation to pursue environmental causes. The impact of pollution there made him passionate about sustainability.

“Being born in Bolivia and being exposed to all the social classes in a third-world country, I have up close and personal … seen the effects of pollution,” Patino said. “That’s why I was so passionate about green roofs. Because even if I wasn’t cleaning trash, I’m decreasing the CO2 levels in the air.”

Patino also mentioned additional perks of green roofs beyond their environmental benefits. According to Patino, green roofs would make Knox’s campus more aesthetic and more economically viable.

“Green roofs also keep heat in,” Patino said. “I don’t know how much Knox spends on heating every winter, but I’m guessing it’s a lot. Maybe you could cut the cost in half because green roofs keep all the heat inside. In the summer, too, they hold on to the moisture so the building stays cool.”

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