Making East Campus A Beast Campus

GUEST POST by Rachel Hare UMD for Clean Energy

Since developer Foulger-Pratt pulled out of plans for the University of Maryland’s East Campus Development project last fall, the entire endeavor has been thrown into uncertainty.  The university has reconsidered the project’s design, the timeline, and even toyed with the idea of postponing or abandoning the plan.  But among the growing uncertainty, there is something else: an opportunity.

The East Campus project presents an opportunity for the University of Maryland to become the benchmark for sustainable development in Maryland.

On April 5, UMD for Clean Energy will host Green for College Park II: Making East Campus a Beast Campus, a panel discussion exploring green initiatives to make the East Campus project a pioneer in environmentally sound development.  The panel will consider innovative solutions including green building, storm water management, smart growth, and transit-oriented development.

The event will bring together sustainability specialists Tom Liebel, an architect and one of the first 25 U.S. professionals to receive LEED accreditation, an internationally recognized green building certification; Ralph Bennett, Director of Purple Line Now, an organization that advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of the community, businesses and the environment; and James Foster, president of the Anacostia Watershed Society, an environmental group that works to protect the Anacostia River.
The university has recently committed to ambitious environmental standards, including the Climate Action Plan for a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 and complete carbon neutrality by 2050.   By adopting initiatives such as the Climate Action Plan, the university has placed itself at the forefront of energy conservation and green development.

The East Campus Redevelopment project presents another opportunity for the University of Maryland to take a stand on the climate issue and make a statement to institutions across the nation.  The university should set strict and firm goals for this new undertaking; goals that take into account sustainable building practices, the surrounding environment, and smart growth, and advance the university’s position on the front lines of climate action.
The East Campus Project could set a new standard for environmentally sound development and urban planning.
The red and white has a chance to make a big green statement.

7 thoughts on “Making East Campus A Beast Campus”

  1. I read with much interest Rachel Hares comments about the East Campus project and “lost opportunities”. The uncertainty of that project has put to rest plans for a small graduate student housing project near Campus Drive and Mowatt Lane. A three acre parcel was being considered for a project that incorporated several green initiatives ( smart cars, bicycle accessibility, close proximity to Purple Line, plus several design features) as well as providing what seems to be a need for Graduate student housing.
    Rather than allowing discussions to proceed with this project, the University broke off support in order to reconsider the plans for East Campus.
    Since the East Campus project is years away, it seems to be short sighted to let what could be a signature statement on the west side of campus slip away. This project could be completed in much less time and would show the U of MD’s committment to graduate Housing and the Green Initiative to pave the way for future development.

  2. RE: Dennis White comment.
    Full disclosure… I believe it is your family that owns that 3 acre plot of land?

  3. Clay,
    Regarding full disclosure-
    Yes, the property in question is one of the many links to the U of MD and my family and I stand to gain financially from the sale of the property . Purchased in the late 1800’s by my grandfather,Thomas H. White,the property is currently owned by my sister and myself. Thomas H. White emigrated from England and worked in the University’s greenhouses and was awarded an honorary Master’s Degree for his horticultural achievements. My father, and most of his seven bothers graduated from the university with degrees in the sciences. My uncle, the late Dr Charles E. White, was Professor Emeritus of the Chemistry Department. The lone female sibling, my Aunt Kate, worked at the library for over forty years and rented rooms to GRADUATE students at the U of MD for many years.
    My father met my mother there, I met and married my wife there and many cousins are graduates of the university as well. My son, who recently received his Master’s degree in teaching from the University, currently lives on the property.
    It could, in a sense, be a perpetual link between the University and the White Family if the property could be used in a manner befitting their mutual bonds. The property is located where it could be fully utilized by the Smith School of Business, the School of Architecture, and Hillel. A green initiative there would be a perfect gateway to the University on the west side of campus, balanced by the future plans for the East Campus.

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