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We are already adding blankets to our beds here in Vermont, and it's still dark when my husband and I get up for our early-morning run. Looks like time to wean the kids off their late-to-bed/late-to-rise schedule and remember the meaning of the phrase "school night."
More than a hundred colleges and universities across the U.S. are campus-wide subscribers, so here at BuildingGreen we've been busy getting ready for the back-to-school season too--writing new discussion questions to go with feature stories (just scroll down to the bottom of any feature from 2011), creating and posting a sample syllabus for a sustainable design course, and talking with professors and sustainability directors about how they use BuildingGreen and what would make it even more useful.
I reached Jim Wasley, AIA, who chairs the department of architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, just after he had cleaned his office in preparation for the fall semester. When I asked him how long he'd been reading EBN, he confessed that he had just recycled all twenty years' worth, including Volume 1, Issue 1 (fortunately, he can still find our very first feature story, "Rigid Foam Insulation and the Environment," online).
Wasley has been using EBN in his classroom since 1996--initially as photocopies, but now he just sends his students to BuildingGreen.com instead. He assigns EBN feature articles as the primary text for his graduate Green Building and Professional Practice seminar. It's a good fit, he said, because for the seminar "you can take almost any topic and dig deeply instead of skating on the surface"--and "you can do all that within EBN."
It's not just architecture programs that use EBN as a textbook. Charles Kibert, Ph.D., P.E., professor and center director at the Powell Center for Construction & Environment at the University of Florida–Gainesville, uses it as the primary text in all three of his master's courses in sustainable construction. "I try to bring them up to the most current information immediately," said Kibert. His students read each issue as it comes out and use EBN as a source for research papers.
"Historically it's always been fair and dispassionate and objective," Kibert said. "I don't always agree," he added--"but it's objective." The lack of manufacturer sponsorship is a major selling point for Kibert, as it is for many professors. "There are a lot of publications out there now, but they are taking advertising," Kibert told me. With BuildingGreen, as he put it, "there's no contamination."
Our outreach director, Jerelyn Wilson, has been on the phone a lot lately (I know this because I sit right across the hall from her). Not only is it back-to-school time, but in the bigger picture, more and more schools are adding sustainability programs and hiring sustainability directors, and they are all looking for independent, up-to-date green building resources that don't rely on commercial interests for financial support.
If you're interested in bringing BuildingGreen's content into the classroom--whether you already have a campus-wide subscription or not--I encourage you to check out the new syllabus or email Jerelyn directly. From what other academics tell us, there's nothing else like it, and we want to make sure everyone who wants it is able to use it.
We'd love to hear more about how you use or would like to use BuildingGreen content in your classroom--including what we can do to make it easier. Feel free to send your feedback to us by email or just discuss your needs in the comments.
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