UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY

State University of New York

 

Green Campus Project

| The Situation | Our Vision | Project Details | Future Goals | Biographies | References |

 

 

The Video: The Green Revolution

 

Our Current Forest Area....

 

Our mission

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?”-Kermit the Frog
           
In light of the University at Albany’s campaign to “go green” the students of AWSS 282 would like to take a proactive role in shaping the “green dream”. Our University sees that we need a change; other environmental groups have already started to introduce “green” back into our campus. One idea already in progress is “The Purple Path,” this project is aimed to promote unity within the campus and the surrounding neighborhoods by making a pathway for exercise and accessibility. Another project that is beginning is “The Golden Grid” which is endorsing public convenience and promoting the utilization of congregating areas. Although the campus has taken many steps in progressing environmental utilization and sustainability, with attempts at a pedestrian and biking path, issuing an environmental task force etc. It is our contention to not only add environmental “friendly” structures, but to change the minds and reconstruct the entire campus into a “green environment”. It is one thing to add on to the University, but it is much more innovative, and pervasive to utilize the earth around, and work with your own surroundings. Our plan stands to place environmental issues, at the forefront of the University’s inner workings. Drawing on the history of the University’s campus development, our project offers a vision of transforming and revitalizing the forgotten areas of the uptown campus. This includes forested areas and other natural sites that will be redeemed for sustainability.
           
The Problem

“It’s not easy being green”-Kermit the Frog
           
The University at Albany which at many times is referred to as the “Concrete jungle” has been ranked the second largest structure in United States behind the Pentagon. Being ranked behind such an ominous symbol of military and national protection speaks to a certain message. On the uptown campus there is a war being waged, nature versus man. This is not the message both the University and its students want to convey; Humans are apart of nature. One student within the Urban Planning department on the environmental committee initiated by the University was roughly quoted in saying “The Uptown Podium pushes to the margin any green spaces”. Over the years the Uptown podium has become less and less conducive to its natural sites. It is important to begin with the few “green” spaces on the Uptown Campus because it is at the core of our counter-narrative; to highlight the green of our institution. The campus may be made out of concrete and metal but there was once earth, and there still is earth. In architectural development, and construction rhetoric there is always this consensus that land needs be cultivated and built on; this is commonly defined as development. However land is not an empty space, there is life and use in it; a naturally developed commons that has been forgotten. On our campus such sites have been sectioned off, eventually leading up for destruction and rebuilding. But the sectioned parts play an intricate role in environmental injustice.

The uptown campus is built on a hill, and the forgotten land once entitled “Indian Lake” is elevated at the bottom of the slope; access water fills into the body of the lake in the heart of the space. The site then becomes the concentration for the campus’ water runoff, which consists of rain fall and snow build up. Because of its ignorance, a large amount of water is wasted. This lake is located behind Indian Quad, the freshman dormitory on the uptown campus; it and a retention pond on the opposite side of the campus irrigate the neighboring athletic fields. The entire area itself has been neglected for quite some time now and needs to be reclaimed, and transformed.

Water has been placed at the center of the Uptown Campus many times before. The podium houses the largest fountain in the entire University. Every April, a day is commemorated to the turning on of that fountain and many others in the nearby vicinities. Over time this day has become associated with underage drinking, influx of sexual harassment and sexual violence. However it has never been the day memorialized around water conservation or environmental awareness. The darkening of the area that ingests a majority of “water waste” only furthers the argument that water has only served to celebrate negatives of college life, but never linked to the creation and savior of life. Not to mention that because it is one of the darkest spots on campus “Indian Lake” contributes to the many dangerous elements in regards to residential safety.


Forgotten land allows a discussion for development, and insignificance; the land is not being used so it must be developed and made “useful”, otherwise it is insignificant in its relevance to the rest of the entire campus on its own. One of the most damning representations of this is neglecting to name the space. “Indian Lake” is the title awarded to the body of water with in the natural site; this does not apply for the entire forested land. Without a name it does not exist as an autonomous space; it is a blank canvas that needs paint to make it art. It is also located to the side of the podium and most of the time is left out when mapping the entire area.


The immediate line between nature and the campus architecture speaks to the morale of the University as a whole. It was once said that U-Albany students waste water, and other natural resources because it is all covered in their tuition, thereby displacing the responsibility back onto the University. This has driven a void between college life and connection to the earth. Wasting natural resources can not be ignored and should not be discouraged purely for economic stipulations. To change the entire University we can simply reconstruct its structure and academics, we must change the soul, and the mind of all that inhabits its walls.
           
The Promise

“Someday we’ll find it; the rainbow connection”-Kermit the Frog

The University has realized its disconnection from the earth and environmental issues, it is now moving towards a greener outlook. We as students as stated before would like to be proactive in this campaign. Working on the foundations that the University has laid for us, we are going to transform, revitalize and reconnect nature into the campus physical, emotional and mental state. In hopes that one day we can say “It is easy being Green”, and inspire many others to not just think that national protection negates the protection of the earth.