Classes Explore Features of Howard Hall
Even before the official ribbon-cutting, Howard Hall is educating students. Lewis & Clark faculty have used the conceptualization and construction of Howard Hall—its "green" features, in particular—to illustrate textbook concepts in environmental studies, geology, and economics.
"These kinds of assignments give students an education in the real world, where they have to come up with constructive projects that are practical," says Evan Williams, professor of chemistry and chair of the environmental studies program. "They are powerful teaching tools."
Alyssa Babin, Marie Boisvert, and Elana Guiney give a thumbs-up to the posters they helped create for Environmental Studies 160. The colorful posters, which hang along the construction fence surrounding Howard Hall, address the six LEED categories of sustainable building practices. Snapshots of the posters appear at right.
Environmental Studies 160:
Introduction to Environmental Studies
Instructor: Evan Williams, professor of chemistry and chair of environmental studies.
Students: Alyssa Babin ’05, Spencer Fransway ’05, Brian Kasavana ’05, Marie Boisvert ’06, Elana Guiney ’06.
Project: The team devised six posters to explain and educate the community about Howard Hall’s green features. The professionally designed posters, which correspond to the six categories of LEED, a national standard for sustainable buildings, currently hang along the construction fence surrounding Howard Hall.
Babin says the assignment helped her appreciate the importance of conveying technical design features to a lay audience and brightened her outlook on environmental protection. "Green building is a symbol of forward thinking," she says, "and a good way to communicate how important environmentalism is."
Geological Science 280:
The Fundamentals of Hydrology
Instructor: Elizabeth Safran, assistant professor of geological science.
Students: Nathaniel Arrigoni, Marjorie Bell ’03, Joseph Bielecki ’02, Andrew Chen ’05, Cassie Comeau ’03, Robert Genova ’03, Graham Gilbert ’02, Brian Kasavana ’05, Justin "Cosmo" Prindle ’04, Paul "Billy" Warlick ’04, Niels Zellers ’02, Rebecca Zentmyer.
Project: Students analyzed this question: How much storm water can be expected to hit Howard Hall’s roof, and how can all of that water be used on-site?
The students gathered, organized, and analyzed historical rainfall data, then applied hydrologic principles to determine the building’s optimal gutter sizes, expected water-flow rates, and storage needs, among other things. Landscape architects and engineers from Walker Macy, hired for the Howard Hall project, not only used the rainfall data in their own calculations, but also were inspired by the students to install more drought-tolerant plants, minimize lawn area, and explore additional water-storage locales. "Their passion really drove us to look for new ways to make this work," says Eric Bode, project manager with Walker Macy.
In groups of two or three, class members authored final papers that proposed ways to capture, store, and recycle all of Howard Hall’s storm water. Their ideas ranged from diverting the water into the building’s toilets (plumbing-code requirements made this option prohibitively complicated and costly) to using it to irrigate the surrounding landscape (part of the eventual award-winning design to capture all runoff and direct it to either the on-site water-quality gardens or the reflecting pool reservoir, depending on how much is collected).
"We had a tangible sense that the information we were gathering would be used, and that felt great," says Prindle, an environmental studies major.
Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
Instructor: Eban Goodstein, professor of economics.
Students: Cassie Comeau ’03 and Paul "Billy" Warlick ’04.
Project: The students evaluated the economic aspects of capturing, storing, and recycling rainwater from the Howard Hall roof.
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