Green the Student Center

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wow, things are starting to get really busy... I might even venture to say ridiculously busy. Nope, maybe we are quite there yet, but we are close.

My boss predicted that 2010 would be the year of sustainability and that we would become so busy we wouldn't have time to think as we got closer and closer to the tipping point. That being said, I suppose it didn't come as a surprise when I was asked to sit in on a planning meeting for the new Student Center.

For those of you not in the know, the University of Ottawa and th Student Federation have been trying to negotiate a new University Center for years. The original Jock Turcot building was designed for a campus of about 15,000 to 17,000 students and I think that we are a little beyond that right now. So recently Physical Resources Services (PRS) and the SFUO have gotten together to finally design a new center.

Just as an aside I wanted to mention the whole University Center vs. Student Center thing. The new center that is planned is meant to be completely student owned and operated; hence, Student Center.

Sorry, back to the story. So I was invited to one of the design meetings to talk about the potential green aspects of the building. The only problem is that the sky is the limit with these kind of things. So I said that "we can basically do whatever you want... so long as you want to do things that are good for the environment, good for students, and won't bankrupt the SFUO".

Now don't fret, PRS is going to make sure that the building is absurdly energy efficient, has a wonderful look and feel, and meets the needs of the students, but... when it comes to the other green elements of the building, the whole story isn't so clear cut. So in the end we decided to leave the decision to you!

On Thursday March 11th, at 5:30 in the UCU Couch Lounge, we are going to have a design charette (a community brainstorm) and you are going to decide what this building is going to have. Wind turbines, living machines, composting toilets, geothermal... no idea is too green. And although there is going to be a pile of free food, that's not why you should come. You should come because this is an important issue, this new building is meant to be for students and so it's green infrastructure should also determined by students.

Check out the Facebook event for more info.

- jon

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