Student group honors staff member for work with student union

6/9/2007 | By: Staff Report  |

John Walsh, director of construction services in Facilities Services, was honored on Friday, June 8, for his hard work in maintaining environmentally-friendly features in the new Joe Crowley Student Union. The Students and Educators for Environmental Development and Sustainability student group recognized Walsh for his contributions to the green aspects of the student union's construction.

SEEDS has had a large influence on the student union project since it was first proposed. The student group proposed "green" features—items that would reduce the building's impact on the environment, to be included in the student union's construction.

Walsh managed to include the majority of these proposals within the design plan and the construction while still complying with building codes and the budget.

"Incorporating sustainable projects on time and within budget is very difficult," said Chuck Price, director of the Jot Travis Student Union. "John was very creative as he incorporated many green components into the project while still keeping it on schedule and within the budget."

Both Walsh and Price also kept SEEDS involved with the project. The student organization actively participated in the development of the design team requirements. As a result, architects and construction companies that had previously worked with green features were selected to work on the student union.

"They ended up choosing an architect that had experience with sustainable ideas," said Kendra Zamzow, president of SEEDS. "At this point, the club backed out and let the project work itself out through John and Chuck."

A number of the "green" features in the building were Walsh's original suggestions as well, according to Price.

"He combined recommendations from SEEDS, the design team and his own to create a plethora of sustainable concepts throughout the building," Price said.

One of the recommendations SEEDS made that Walsh emphasizes in the construction of the building is day lighting, allowing natural light to illuminate certain areas. This feature was emphasized in order to decrease energy usage that would otherwise be used to provide light for the building.

"I feel the day lighting aspect is one of the bigger green aspects of the project," Walsh said. "Simple day lighting methods can substantially reduce both electrical power and cooling loads generated by standard industry lighting practices. These methods should become more of a standard in the design and construction industry of our area."

Price said Walsh and his colleagues in the Facilities Services department are covering new ground by making the student union an environmentally friendly building.

"They are blazing new trails for the city and the campus," Price said. "They set new standards for the campus with the sustainable concepts added to the project."

The SEEDS president stressed the importance of expressing appreciation for faculty and staff who promote sustainable concepts.

"We are especially interested in honoring staff members and professors who are working behind the scenes," Zamzow said. "We want to let students and staff know we appreciate it."

Walsh's efforts on keeping the student union "green" stemmed not only from his desire to satisfy student's requests for the student union but from his own quest to help reduce humanity's impact on the environment.

"The human occupation on the planet resulted in substantial impact on the environment," Walsh said. "It's important that we make every effort to minimize these impacts."


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