Monday, May 5, 2008

SIS vs. SOC in the Go Green War: Final!

The plants are not the only green part of American University as it begins construction on the first all green building in Washington, but other projects are being left behind in the new School of International Service’s pollution-free dust.
“The facility’s design will reflect the responsible and equitable use of resources, in terms of both building materials and energy consumption,” said SIS’s AnewAU website. “The architects will use ingenuity and technology to make sure the building exists in harmony with its environment.”
While SIS may be going completely green, a project recently started at American University, other upcoming construction projects, like the new School of Communication building, which will finally be moving out of the third floor of the Mary Graydon Center, are not catching the green bug totally.
“I don’t know of any plans for SOC to go green except for keeping the Media Production Center’s green roof,” said sophomore Chris Marotta. “I guess going green is just not a big concern for SOC at this point in time, considering all of us students are just happy to finally be getting our own building.”
School of International Service students like sophomores Victor Rotolo and Ryan Pickett think there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons behind American University’s decision to only make the new SIS building green rather than both SIS and SOC.
“It is because of the school’s basis,” said Rotolo. “It’s the School of International Service, and being green and helping the environment is an international issue, so it just makes more sense to fork out the money for a completely green SIS than is does for the School of Communication.”
It is SIS’s involvement in the environment as a world issue that makes it the ideal candidate for a completely environmentally-friendly facility, or at least this is the reasoning behind other students’ thoughts on the topic of a green SIS versus a green SOC.
“I heard there is going to be a solar-paneled roof for the sun energy,” said Pickett. “It’s going to collect rain water for water purification and I heard there is going to be a waterfall for hydroelectric power. SIS students are going to be able to take what they learned from this environmentally-friendly building and bring their knowledge about this technology to the countries they eventually get to work in.”
The big debate for this project comes in when students are reminded that while SIS currently has a building, SOC is compacted onto one floor of another building. This is not a factor, though, in Rotolo’s opinion.
“The current building is so outdated and poorly constructed, there aren’t even elevators to the second floor!” said Rotolo. “What if I was in a wheelchair and had class upstairs? I wouldn’t ever go because I couldn’t physically get there! A new facility is needed to fix problems like this!”
According to the proposed floor plan for the new SIS building, featured on the AnewAU website, the lack of elevators and much more will be addressed and fixed. The goals for the new building listed on the website assure both students and faculty of this.
“Provide office accommodations for all SIS faculty and programs in a single building,” the goals read. “Develop specialized SIS classrooms that incorporate state-of-the-art technology, create a positive physical environment consistent with the school’s international standing, and establish a state-of-the-art training facility.”
With the plans for the completely green SIS already finalized, SOC as a community has found other ways to catch the green bug instead of building a completely green facility.
“We already have a green roof on the Media Production Center,” SOC professor Chris Palmer said. “And we require all film students to use completely green film techniques. The Center for Environmental Filmmaking also puts a large focus on making high-quality films that highlight environmental issues and promote green filmmaking.”
The latter part of this statement is proven every other Tuesday, as the Center for Environmental Filmmaking teams up with Ecosense, an environmentally-friendly group on campus, to show environmental films in Weschler Theater on the SOC floor of Mary Graydon.
“We want to make the AU community aware of environmental issues both here and abroad,” said Claire Roby, a senior CAS student and president of Ecosense. “People need to know what is going on around the world in terms of the environment, especially with American’s construction of the first green building in DC and Neil Kerwin’s signing of the Presidents Climate Commitment, which is an agreement to move towards carbon neutrality and decrease as much as our pollution as possible.”
While all these actions prove American University is definitely moving towards becoming a green community, some students, like Marotta, are unfamiliar with the green techniques Palmer and others talk about.
“We use rechargeable batteries, but I have never been instructed on other green techniques,” said Marotta. “We would need special lights and solar powered cameras and things like that, and so far, I have had no experience with anything like that.”
Despite this lack of knowledge that is shared by many of the twenty SOC film students polled, these students do try their best to stay as green as possible.
“I metro or bike to anywhere I am shooting a film,” said Marotta. “My car eats gas and does not appreciate gas prices currently, so I would rather save money and put a little less pollution into the air than waste my four dollars on a gallon of gas I would probably waste sitting in traffic here in DC.”
As gas prices continue to skyrocket and the green bug spreads its influence, American University students, or at least future SIS students, just have to wait for the sun to come out to power their education as SOC students simply wait for some sort of facility as class continues, green or not.

Working Lead!

Since Blogger has decided to stop hating me, I am finally putting everything up that has just been sitting saved on my computer.

Working Lead

Four dollars for a gallon of gas is a worry of the past for American University as it is swept up in the "Go Green" movement with the construction of the first all green building in Washington, but is leaving other areas of the campus in its pollution-free dust.

An SOC Student Speaks Out...Sort of!

Since I had already spoken with two SIS students, well, two students who are lucky enough to have their interviews posted on this blog, I figured it would only be fair and balanced of me to get the opinion of an SOC student, said student being Chris Marotta, a sophomore Visual Media major here at AU. While our interview was over 2Amys pizza, which, by the way, is probably the BEST pizza I have ever eaten, and relatively short, I still feel it gives a good "other side" to the story I want to tell.

LB: So Christoph, how are you?
CM: I'm great, enjoying my pizza, so ready to talk about how green AU is according to my knowledge.
LB: Well then, let's get right to it, as a current SOC student, what does SOC do to stay green?
CM: Well, I know the media production center has a green roof, whatever that means, but that's about it that I know of.
LB: It's been said by some professors that AU film students use green film techniques though?
CM: I mean, we use rechargeable batteries, but I have never been instructed on other green techniques.
LB: So that's it?
CM: Yeah, I don't know where you heard that we are required to use green film techniques, but then we would need special lights and solar powered cameras and things like that, and so far, I have had no experience with anything like that.
LB: If you do not use green film techniques, then how do you think SOC stays green?
CM: Well it's nothing like the new SIS building, which is going to be like completely self-sustaining with collecting rain water and everything. I don't even think the new building, whenever AU decides to start building it, is going to be green at all.
LB: Why do you think AU chose to make SIS the first completely green building in DC then and not SOC?
CM: Probably because SIS has more people and there are actually majors geared towards environmental studies. I think it's dumb because SOC does not even have a building yet. We're all cramped on the third floor of Mary Graydon while SIS students already have a building.
LB: Do you think it's a money issue?
CM: I mean maybe, since SOC already requires a lot of money to make new film studios and buy new and improved equipment, but still, students pay so much money to this school already, the least AU could do is put out some of it to make a building for SOC, green or otherwise. I'm more concerned with maybe being able to use brand new facilities for my senior projects, which probably isn't even going to happen anyway, than have a "green facility."
LB: So does that mean that you are not concerned with being green?
CM: Of course I'm a little concerned, the world is running out of natural resources, but right now I'm more concerned with getting a good education and gaining enough skills and experience to get a job in two years when I graduate.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ryan Pickett Interview!

So for my second published interview on my blog, I decided to podcast a short chat with Ryan Pickett, an SIS student who has traveled to Burma and seems to know a lot about going green and such.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Victor Rotolo Says SOC's Just Jealous

Since the new construction project directly affects students both in SIS and SOC, I decided it would be a good idea to not only get the opinions of professors and those involved in the projects, but also the opinions of the students in these respective schools. So, I decided Victor Rotolo, a sophomore at American and SIS student, would be a fabulous person to ask some questions. Considering he is one of my best friends, though, the actual interview process was a bit interesting.

LB: So Vic, are you familiar with the new construction projects at AU, specifically the new SIS building and the plans for an SOC building?
VR: Yes, I know about them, I just want SIS to get done before I graduate.
LB: Why is that?
VR: Because I want to be able to use the new facility! The current building is so outdated and poorly constructing, there aren't even elevators to the second floor! What if I was in a wheelchair and had class upstairs? I wouldn't ever go because I couldn't physically get there!
LB: Yes, improvements like elevators are being added to the new SIS, but why do you think American decided to make the building completely green?
VR: I think because the state of America and the world as a whole is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. I mean, after Al Gore's film, I know I certainly took into account how much pollution I was contributing on a daily basis. So, I mean, if American is constructing a new building, why not make it self-powered and completely green?
LB: But why only SIS? What about SOC?
VR: I hate to be arrogant, but I think SIS is just more nationally recognized. It's in DC and it's an international service school! So, American probably decided if they were going to fork out the money to make a building green, why not put the money into its highest ranked program?
LB: Is that fair, though, considering SIS already has a building and SOC does not?
VR: I just think there are more students in SIS, both undergraduate and graduate, so they needed the space more than SOC. Besides, SOC is going to get a nice building eventually, just not right away.
LB: I mean, maybe, but why do you think that SOC is not going to be completely green as of right now and SIS is?
VR: Again, it is because of the school's basis. It's the School of International Service, and being green and helping the environment is an international issue, so it just makes more sense to fork out the money for a completely green SIS than it does for the School of Communications.
LB: SOC is also ranked nationally, though, so why not put the money into both?
VR: But SIS is still more well known, and besides, SOC students are just jealous because many of them will not go out into the world and try to make a difference in places like Bangladesh, while many SIS majors are oriented with specific areas around the world and plan on working there after college.

Locked out of Blogger?

So apparently Blogger is still acting up, because I just tried to post a post similar to this and it would not let me, ugh! But, maybe this one will work, if I'm lucky... Buuuut, because I am no longer locked out, I will be putting up my interviews with two SIS students

Locked out of Blogger?

So I have been locked out of blogger for some reason for the past almost week, so lame! But, it now works again so I will be posting up my lead and super awesome interviews with two SIS students, and an interview with Chris Palmer from SOC will hopefully be coming soon via PODCAST!!!!