Community & Society / Science & Technology

Green Campus Visionary Sets Sight on Drexel’s Green Initiatives and Buildings

Noted environmentalist and author Dr. David Orr will visit Drexel April 18

Drexel’s Smart House initiative has been spearheading cutting-edge environmental research and design at Drexel for the past few years, from their groundbreaking lightweight green roof to their grey water reclamation project and intelligent temporary agricultural structure. This week, the team will have the opportunity to show off their handiwork to one of the biggest names in green building, noted environmentalist and author Dr. David Orr.

On Thursday, April 18, Orr will get a personal tour of the Drexel Smart House, a former frat house that will serve as the location of a future “living laboratory” for environmental innovation and design.

He will then participate in a discussion about interdisciplinary Drexel’s Smart House initiatives as well as the urban environment, community engagement and sustainability. The discussion, entitled Sustainable Urban Revitalization: A Conversation with David Orr, will take place from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (33rd and Chestnut Streets).

The event will take place in the atrium of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building

The event will take place in the atrium of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building

The event will include a 15-minute address by Orr and a Q+A session with the audience, followed by casual conversation. Orr will also have the opportunity to view student research posters which will be on display in the atrium, and to offer feedback about the challenges of operating in the urban environment in terms of sustainability and larger issues of growth and sustainable communities.

The event is hosted by the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the Drexel SMART Initiatives Program. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend and refreshments will be provided.

Orr also will be appearing at the Academy of Natural Sciences (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) later that evening for a networking reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a discussion at 6:30 p.m. entitled Green Design in Mind: Can We See Past What We Imagine?

Orr will tour the location of the future Drexel Smart House

Orr will tour the location of the future Drexel Smart House

A visionary in the field of sustainability, Orr organized studies of energy, water, and materials use on several college campuses that helped to launch the green campus movement more than 25 years ago. In 1996 he organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus, Oberlin’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center. The Center purifies all of its wastewater and is the first college building in the U.S. powered entirely by sunlight.

Orr is a Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Ohio’s Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Hope Is an Imperative: The Essential David Orr (2011) and Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (2009), among other books.

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