$3 Million Gift Ensures Construction of Oberlin's Green Building

Environmental Studies BuildingOberlin's Environmental Studies Center (ESC) came another step closer to realization when Cleveland philanthropist Adam Lewis recently donated $3 million to the project.

Designed by William Mc-Donough, whom Time magazine has called one of the most visionary green architects, the ESC will create space for the Environmental Studies Program and provide a model for ecological design and education in the next century. Construction will begin this summer, and the center will be ready for occupancy in fall 1998.

The interdisciplinary venture's benefits will extend far beyond the program. "The project will squeeze as much pedagogical value as possible out of a 14,000 square-foot building," says Professor of Environmental Studies David Orr. "I hope it has the effect of increasing our understanding of how things are connected."

"If we are to make the transition to a sustainable and decent future in a world of 10 to 12 billion people in the next 50 years, the size of the human footprint must be reduced by 50 to 90 percent," he says, "requiring broad changes in our ideas, perceptions, and values, making it, in large part, a challenge to educational institutions."