Perkins Project Funds City Tech Student Tour of Pratt Institute’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies
Student members of the RARE Women Club and others enrolled in the College’s ACCESS for Women (AFW) program visited the Center for Sustainable Design Studies at Pratt Institute in April 2011. ACCESS is a program in City Tech’s Division of Continuing Education that provides professional development activities for women students in nontraditional technical areas of study. RARE Women is sponsored by AFW. The trip was the last of three Perkins Program-funded activities offered this year to expand targeted women students’ exposure to and knowledge of environmental developments that apply methods, systems and materials that do not deplete natural resources, harm natural cycles or endanger all living species that call Earth home.
The Center works to support responsible innovation in the development of environmentally responsible products from everyday household items to building materials and is the centerpiece of Pratt’s transformative leadership in sustainable design education. The Center is open to students, faculty and alumni, and is used by industry professionals who are partners in its work.
Carolyn Schaeberle, the Center’s assistant director, conducted a tour that began with the materials library. On display were materials developed through the use principles and sciences of sustainability: a disposable cup made of organic material that is totally biodegradable, an environmentally safe seat covering made of material that does not have that “new car” smell which is the scent of toxic gases emitted from traditional interior materials. Other environmentally safe materials were presented in a discussion about the latest trend in “marketing green” and the need for consumers to do their own research about the products they purchase and use.
A presentation on the “Dorm Project” described how Pratt students worked on a room refitting project with environmental engineers, alternative energy consultants and local fabricators to equipped it with energy efficient lighting, motion sensor lights, a “greywater” bathroom system that uses the same water supply for toilet and sink, a glass shower that does not require curtains (thus avoiding the emission of toxic gases from plastic shower curtains), storage compartments on rollers housed under beds, stackable furniture made of recycled clothes chests, and energy efficient kitchen appliances.
One of City Tech’s four students majoring in architectural technology who participated in the tour asked if she could return to the Pratt campus and use the Center to conduct research for some of her own projects. She and the other students were told they would be welcomed, and ACCESS for Women will work with the Center to finalize future visitation arrangements. A group of Pratt students will be invited to tour City Tech classrooms, labs and other facilities.
“This was an enlightening experience for all the students,” says ACCESS Project Director Nona Smith. “The Center serves as a hub for Pratt Institute’s commitment to producing environmentally responsible citizens. Both RARE Women and ACCESS are grateful to Carolyn Schaeberle for the exceptional experience she provided the City Tech students.”