Creating a sustainable Student Center

On Saturday, the Student Government Association (SGA) Sustainability Committee hosted Greenovation, a case competition to promote sustainability in campus construction. The competition asked the seven teams to look at how the Student Center could be improved for sustainability.

“We were thinking, ‘why don’t students have more say in how our campus looks’ and we threw around a lot of ideas and eventually … we thought, ‘what if we could renovate campus buildings more sustainably?’” said Namrata Kolla, SGA Sustainability Committee Co-Chair. “So then the next step was thinking what buildings were up for renovation so that whatever idea comes out of this is actually used and implemented. And when we went to talk to Capital Planning and we talked to a few different stakeholders around campus and the Student Center kept coming up and we found out there is a Student Center Expansion Committee and we thought, ‘oh this is perfect.’”

According to Kate Curnow, Communications and Marketing Manager for the Student Center, the Student Center Expansion Committee will use the ideas that came from the competition.

“Obviously campus starting to take a very heavy look at sustainability and how important that is, and we were just thrilled the Student Center was going to be their first case since we are at that prime time of data gathering that we’re doing right now,” Curnow said. “This is exactly the kind of information we’re looking for.”

The first place winners, Engineers for a Sustainable World Hydroponics Team, gave a presentation pitching for plants to be grown hydroponically in a renovated student center. The team received a check for $1,000 for their accomplishment.

“Our main goal in Hydroponics is to promote hydroponics on campus, and we thought that this [competition] would help us achieve our goal,” Jamie Curtis first year MSE and member of the Hydroponics Team.

Other members of the team included Jeffrey Landau, fifth year ME, Nicole Kennard, second year MSE, Bianca Costa, first year EnvE.

The runner-up team Northern Lights which, among other things, proposed moving all dining to the second floor of the Student Center and adding a online ordering and pickup option for food.

“We’re glad that we were able to showcase some of the different needs of the student body in a quick 10 minute presentation that was actually heard by a lot of the important, and decision-making faculty and staff of Georgia Tech,” said Ishaan Patel, 1st year BA and member of Northern Lights. “I think it was a great idea to host an event that actually had such a big impact on the community.”

According to Curnow and other judges, who spoke during the awards ceremony, the Student Center Expansion Committee plans to consider some of the best ideas for the expansion such as a thrift shop or swap meet and the integration of hydroponics.