Ever since environmental trailblazer Rachel Carson
studied there, Chatham University
in Pittsburgh has had a decidedly green approach to education.
That has become evident in recent years with the establishment of its School of Sustainability and the Environment
, the hiring of its first sustainability coordinator and the addition of an Environmental Biology track to its Master of Science in Biology program.
Last week, Chatham announced its latest and most ambitious sustainability initiative yet: the nation's first university campus to integrate sustainable development, living and learning.
Chatham's Master Plan to develop the Eden Hall Campus
in nearby Richland Township calls for the School of Sustainability and the Environment--the second of its kind in the U.S.--to be housed there on a 388 acre site north of the school's Shadyside Campus.
The plan puts Chatham "at the leading edge of a global movement toward a sustainable future," says Chatham President Esther Barazzone.
"Together, the school and the campus will be a one-of-a-kind living laboratory, advancing understanding and progress as we seek sustainable answers to the world's social, economic and environmental concerns."
Philadelphia landscape design firm Andropogon Associates
contributed landscape design for the project, which is located on a parcel gifted to the school by the Eden Hall Foundation in 2008. A new campus will be built from the ground up, featuring innovative climate-positive buildings and landscaping and sustainability education and research.
The project is significant in that it can not only revolutionize how people live on a college campus, but in larger communities as well.
The new campus will be able to handle 100 students, which is expected to increase to 1,500 in the next decade, and will include four districts:
Mueller Center Campus--Restoration and preservation of existing facilities, construction of academic and residentail facilities and landscape restoration, with long range plans for an EcoCenter, commons building, greenhouse, agricultural fields, amphitheater, sports complex, constructed wetlands and art studio.
Elsalma Center--Interaction with the public on northwest corner of campus through a conference center, teaching kitchen, classrooms/workshops, orchard, farm market, aquaponics and wellness center.
Stanford Hill: Includess academic and residential buildings set in forest, streams and meadows.
Elizabeth Meadows: Includes parking facilities, townhomes for faculty, students and staff and additional constructed wetlands.
The first phase of the construction will take up to three years and cost $30 million.
Joe Petrucci is managing editor of Keystone Edge. Send feedback here.Sign up here to receive Keystone Edge in your inbox for free every week.
Photo courtesy of Chatham University.