Look Up and See Green

Situated roughly between the area where rubber meets pavement in the sustainability movement on campus, Look Up and See Green (LUSG) is constantly evolving the meaning of a student-led group.

Situated roughly between the area where rubber meets pavement in the sustainability movement on campus, Look Up and See Green (LUSG) is constantly evolving the meaning of a student-led group.

Led entirely by students, LUSG has accomplished more than most groups do during their time spent on campus. Headed by coordinators Derek Abe, Noah Carpenter, Patricia Graf and Dunham Sage, the group has spearheaded a large portion of the student-led sustainability projects on campus.

Working feverishly, LUSG continues to take on new tasks in order to advance the keys of sustainability socially, environmentally and economically.

“We’re really into development but with the understanding that we want to transform our urban spaces into more functional places,” said Graf. “So the [Urban Building] terrace we transformed so it’s more socially and environmentally functional.”

Following Portland State’s motto of doctrina urbi serviat (let knowledge serve the city), they are constantly striving to connect as many different people and entities to their projects, creating more robust results.

“We try to consider in all our projects how our efforts are sustainable in the long-term,” Abe said. “After we move on, how can we keep the ball rolling?”

Hitting the ground running with their first project, which also happens to be the source they drew upon for their name, involved the complete makeover of the Urban Building terrace.

Starting as a group project in Professor Barry Messer’s capstone class in 2008, they began taking submissions for ideas on how to turn the bland, gray and featureless terrace on the Urban Building into a test ground for sustainable practices.

“Barry was just great. He really has a vision of connecting education to real life and giving people the opportunity to learn,” Graf said.

After holding a design summit to spur new ideas, the group witnessed a huge outpouring of proposals from students and facility alike that was a bit eye opening. Using this momentum, they narrowed down the ideas and began seeking funding as well as more student involvement.

Spending most of their summer putting it together, the current look of the terrace is the culmination of a year of hard work that included a considerable amount of elbow grease.

Not ones to rest on their past experiences, LUSG has directed their efforts towards the design, construction and placement of a kiosk to provide all people who pass through the Urban Plaza with the opportunity to interact and grow their knowledge of sustainability.

“One of the current projects is constructing an educational and interactive kiosk,” Abe said. “We also want to put an (ecoroof) canopy on the living terrace.”

With plenty of work to keep them busy, they are always interested in including more people.

“If people have ideas and they want to help transform the landscape of the campus, then we want to hear what their ideas are and we want to help them do it,” Graf said.

If you would like to participate in LUSG or share any ideas, they can be reached at [email protected]