Wiewel wins award for green effort

PSU leads the nation in eco-friendly design

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Portland State President Wim Wiewel its Presidential Award.

PSU leads the nation in eco-friendly design

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Portland State President Wim Wiewel its Presidential Award.

karl kuchs/VANGUARD STAFf

PSU president Wim Wiewel will be honored at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

The prestigious award recognizes exemplary and bold leadership in sustainability on campuses and in the community nationwide.

“This is the gold medal of sustainability achievements,” Wiewel said. “It’s gratifying because we have been trying to position PSU as a national leader in sustainability for years. Sustainability is a key institutional priority.”

The USGBC is an organization that is best known for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building certification program. Portland has eight LEED-certified buildings on campus. The USGBC is committed to advocating for public policy that supports and encourages green buildings and communities.

“The Presidential Award aims to highlight change-makers who are truly setting the bar for excellence when it comes to system-wide sustainability in the higher education community,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, in a press release.

During his five years as president, Wiewel has focused on sustainability within the institution.

“In 2007 and 2008, PSU’s top administration officially designated sustainability as a top institutional priority, and later that year we received the $25 million gift from the Miller Foundation to support our sustainability programs,” said Jennifer Allen, director of the Institute of Sustainable Solutions at PSU.

The sizable Miller grant was received one month into Wiewel’s first term. Since then, Electric Avenue has been created—PSU’s state-of-the-art electric vehicle
charging corridor—and a new green building research lab has been built.

Other green-minded projects include the Take Back the Tap campaign that installed hyrdation stations on campus, the Solutions Generator and the Clean Air Corridor, which will go into effect in the winter of 2013.

“We have had support for sustainability efforts from our students, from faculty across campus and from our administrative leadership. Few institutions can claim the same level of cross-campus engagement,” Allen said.

Wiewel has also been actively engaged with the executive committee of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which is an effort to address global climate disruption by a network of colleges and universities that have made commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations. Additionally, the ACUPCC seeks to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to restabilize the earth’s climate.

On Nov. 15, Wiewel will go to the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Francisco to accept the award before a crowd of 40,000 people. The conference attracts trade, academic and professional associations from across the nation.

Showcased at the entrance of the conference will be the PSU Department of Architecture’s very own mobile green building classroom. The prototype of this innovative design will be showcased before the county’s leaders in sustainability.

“We have the potential to go much further with this,” Wiewel said. “We can make PSU into a laboratory for sustainability.”