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May 17, 2013, 2:03 pm
Schenectady, N.Y. — Union College’s Nott Memorial is one of the great period pieces of American higher education, but it has as checkered a past as any college building anywhere.
A round building on the site the Nott occupies was first envisioned 200 years ago this spring in a pioneering series of campus plans drawn up by Joseph Ramée, a French architect, and Eliphalet Nott, Union’s president from 1804 to 1866. The plans do not describe the building’s function.
But Paul Venable Turner, an emeritus art-history…
April 4, 2013, 3:16 pm
Colby College has achieved what only a handful of other higher-education institutions have done so far: The college has met its goal in the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and declared itself climate neutral. That means—essentially, with some caveats—that the college has zero greenhouse-gas emissions.
After signing the climate commitment, Colby set a goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2015—a date far sooner than most other institutions that had signed. Only three other colleges have achieved climate neutrality under the commitment: the College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, and the University of Minnesota at Morris. (However, the College of the Atlantic may no longer be climate neutral—more on that below.)
Meeting the climate commitment involves certain costs. Colby started purchasing renewable electricity in 2003 at a premium that…
February 8, 2013, 6:06 pm
Lewisburg, Pa. — Plenty of people—and you may well be one of them—skip right over every poem in The New Yorker and could not be dragged by a team of Budweiser Clydesdales to any event that had “poetry” in its name. So even though Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry regularly fills a former chapel for poetry readings and draws overflow crowds to a campus nightclub for poetry slams, it’s also laid a whole series of poetic ambushes around town, hoping to trap the unsuspecting as they wait in line for a movie or head to the playground with their kids.
Each ambush—there are 10 in all—places a poem near a local landmark to which the poem is relevant. One poem is across from a Civil War monument, another overlooks a barn that was part of the Underground Railroad, and a third—“Solstice,” by Leslie Harrison—stands beside a cemetery:
… I’m sorry for your loss I…
January 30, 2013, 4:56 am
Unity College announced on Tuesday that it would make climate change and countering climate change the central focus of its curriculum.
“Unity College’s focus is timely given the priority that President Barack Obama placed on the mitigation of global climate change during his second inaugural address,” the Maine college said in a news release. “Severe weather events from the devastating flooding in New York to record high temperatures across the globe have spiked public interest in the subject.”
The announcement gave few details, however, on how the new curricular focus would take shape at the college, or change what Unity already does.
With the rise of sustainability programs in higher education in recent years, the tiny college has garnered attention for its environmental programs. Unity made another splash recently when it announced it would drop its investments in…
January 28, 2013, 3:12 pm
For the past 15 years or so, colleges have experienced a tremendous building boom, and the most publicized aspects of the boom have been the amenities: the climbing walls, the swank student unions, and the luxury dorms.
Even in the midst of a national financial crisis, the buildings seemed to get more opulent. The Wall Street Journal, for example, recently noted the “resort living” on college campuses. A new residence hall at Saint Leo University, in Florida, features a 2,100-gallon aquarium, a relaxation room with futuristic “spherical nap pods,” big-screen televisions, and more, according to The Tampa Tribune. …
December 10, 2012, 11:46 am
The former president of a foundation that provides housing for New York City college students will pay $4.5-million to settle accusations that he and his wife improperly collected millions of dollars from the foundation through a shell company that handled phone, Internet, and cable-television service in the foundation’s facilities. An investigation by the state attorney general’s office discovered that George Scott, who was president of Educational Housing Services Inc., until last month, had been siphoning money from the foundation since 2003. Members of the foundation’s board will also pay $1-million for neglecting their fiduciary duty, the attorney general’s office announced. The money paid in the settlement will go toward reducing students’ rent and improving amenities in the foundation’s facilities.
October 29, 2012, 4:56 am
A state judge in Montgomery County, Md., has ruled against a family who sued the Johns Hopkins University, seeking to block it from developing land that the family had sold to Hopkins in an effort to preserve it from rampant development.
Elizabeth Banks sold her Belward Farm to Johns Hopkins in 1988 at a tenth of the land’s value, with the understanding that the land would be used to build a campus. But the family of Ms. Banks, who died in 2005, says Hopkins’s current plan for 4.7 million square feet of development defies what she had intended. Her family was supported by neighbors, who were concerned about the traffic that the increased development might bring and offended by what they saw as the university’s disregard for Ms. Banks’s intentions.
The university maintained that the deed did not bar the planned…
October 26, 2012, 9:50 am
• Multi-Year Overhaul of Yale U. Art Gallery Buildings Nears Completion (Yale U. image)
• ‘Common Sense’ Prevails in Federal Decision to Reimburse U. of Iowa for 2008 Flood Damage (read an earlier roundup here)
Hamilton U. has opened the Wellin Museum of Art, a 30,537-square-foot facility designed by Machado and Silvetti. The museum includes more than 6,000 square feet of gallery space, a teaching lab, and an open archives that lets the university store items from its collection where they can be seen. (Hamilton U. photo)
October 24, 2012, 3:29 pm
The Appalachian State U. entry in the 2011 Solar Decathlon is now available commercially. (Photos by Jim Tetro, U.S. Department of Energy)
In what is almost certainly a first, the modular sustainable house that Appalachian State University students designed and entered in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon is now being marketed nationwide. The house, which won the People’s Choice award at the decathlon, is available from Deltec Homes either in kit form or, for customers in western North Carolina, as a finished building.
Until now, decathlon houses have wowed visitors and drawn praise from architects, but their commercial impact has been limited. But clearly Deltec officials see promise in the Appalachian State house, which can be easily expanded by adding more modules along the length of a porch that supports solar panels to provide power. For buyers…
October 23, 2012, 2:32 pm
• Indiana State U. Recycles 1935 Federal Building as Business College (Schmidt Associates photo)
A retired Wisconsin Power and Light generating station on the Rock River could become a recreation and activity center for Beloit College, college officials say. The project, now in the feasibility-study stage, would require the college to raise $30-million and work with the utility on an environmental-remediation plan. The goal would be to create a 120,000-square-foot facility with an indoor track, a fitness center, and more….