“It’s a fascinating dynamic of WKU for me to watch all the things our students faculty, staff and partnerships across the community are doing in the name of sustainability,” WKU President Gary Ransdell said at the LEED recognition ceremony in the building that bears his name.
Gary Ransdell Hall became WKU’s first LEED certified building in 2011 and achieved LEED Gold certification. USGBC also has recognized Music Hall as LEED Silver and Augenstein Alumni Center as LEED Certified. Plaques were unveiled at each building.
“WKU strives to be a leader in sustainability,” Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan said.
Sustainability has a rich history at WKU, which has been a member of USGBC since 2007. “We, as a university, need to set the pace and lead by example,” Dr. Ransdell said.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® green building program is the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings. USGBC awards LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at four levels – Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Jeff Stivers of RossTarrant Architects said that in addition to meeting LEED standards and sustainability goals, all three buildings were designed with students in mind. Gary Ransdell Hall, the home of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, was designed as a building to teach and train teachers; Music Hall was designed to provide acoustically excellent space for music and choral students; and Augenstein Alumni Center was designed to create a home for everyone in the WKU family.
The projects were completed through the collaboration of architects, engineers, contractors, elected officials and WKU faculty, staff, students and administrators, Stivers said. “The achievement of LEED certification is worthy of celebration,” he said.
Greg Guess, director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, said WKU is leading by example in its sustainable building strategies.
Emily Ashburn, advocacy chair of USGBC Kentucky, said the LEED certification represents WKU’s commitment to sustainability and to the well-being of its faculty, staff and students.
“We applaud you for helping raise the bar on what we expect from our building projects,” Ashburn said.
Student Government Association President Jay Todd Richey said students support WKU’s efforts on sustainability and on creating an environmentally friendly campus. “The student body is determined to build as green a campus as we can,” he said.
The Campus Sustainability Day event continued at Music Hall and concluded with a reception at the Augenstein Alumni Center, where WKU announced the recipients of the 2015 Sustainability Scholarship. Each year, the M.A. Social Responsibility & Sustainable Communities, Office of Sustainability Green Fund and University College partner to offer a scholarship to students engaged in sustainability-related research and action.
This year the Sustainability Scholarship committee awarded four scholarships, two undergraduates and two graduate students. Recipients are Elizabeth Willenbrink of Louisville, Jennifer Ottersbach of Crestwood, Aiste Dobrovolskaite of Kaunas, Lithuania, and Josh Corlew of Nashville, Tennessee.
The winners of USGBC Students Green Building Trivia Challenge were Aaron Gatlin, Martina Gibson and Dawn Winters.
For more about WKU’s LEED-certified buildings and Campus Sustainability Day, visit www.wku.edu/gogreen and follow #GoGreenWKU on social media.
Contact: Christian Ryan, (270) 745-2508