Ohio University

Schoonover is going green through work of Voinovich School, University collaborators

Schoonover Center for Communication

Starting next spring, Ohio University’s Schoonover Center for Communication will get a green roof. Not green metal or shingles, but a garden of living plants that can serve as an outdoor learning lab as it saves energy and reduces runoff.

“A green roof is a vegetated roof that captures rainfall and reduces runoff from the roof. It slows water flow to storm sewers and reduces energy demands of the building through higher insulative value leading to lower heating and cooling costs,” Natalie Kruse, Voinovich School associate professor, said. 

The roof will be constructed with an Academic Innovation Accelerator grant through the Office of Instructional Innovation. The AIA grant will cover building and upkeep of the roof, data collection equipment, and outreach efforts to regional schools to provide them with green roof models they can use in their classrooms. Support was also provided from PepsiCo in the form of a $10,000 grant through their Zero Impact Fund. 

An 1804 Fund award of about $43,000 supports a graduate assistant who is assisting in connecting students and faculty from around the University with the green roof project. The graduate assistant is also exploring how other universities use their green roofs and reaching out to faculty to find out what resources to offer to help them utilize the space.

The project team currently is represented by faculty from the Scripps College of Communication (Julio Arauz), the College of Arts and Sciences (David Rosenthal, Amy Lynch), Russ College of Engineering (Greg Kremer), and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs (Natalie Kruse) through the leadership of Kim Thompson, assistant professor in the department of environmental and plant biology. 

The goal for this project, other than reducing environmental impact, is to create avenues for collaboration between students, researchers and faculty. 

“The green roof is an ideal learning environment because it allows students to connect to local data and local change; this exposure to green technology is a vital component of building environmentally conscious professionals,” Kruse said. 

Established in 1945, the Ohio University Foundation serves as the fundraising entity for OHIO. It handles all private gifts, including those that endowed the Baker Fund Awards, The Farfel Prize, The Russ Prize, and the 1804 Fund.

The 1804 Fund promotes innovation and collaboration to enhance undergraduate and graduate education. The fund has supported over 600 projects and programs at Ohio University since 1980.

For a full list of the funded projects this year, visit the Ohio Today website.