UCARE project aims to increase sustainability practices

A UCARE project has paired Wayne Drummond, dean of architecture, with student Gabee Cho. Watch a video about their project at http://go.unl.edu/5fo.
A UCARE project has paired Wayne Drummond, dean of architecture, with student Gabee Cho. Watch a video about their project at http://go.unl.edu/5fo.

University campuses are like small cities, College of Architecture Dean Wayne Drummond said. How they address the comprehensive issue of sustainability can have an effect on the entire community.

So to help make UNL campus more environmentally-friendly, Gabee Cho, an architecture major, is working on her UCARE project with Drummond designed to make UNL more sustainable.

Cho and Drummond are looking for the best practices in sustainability to help shape UNL's policies.

The first year of Cho's UCARE project, she researched the best sustainable practices around the world.

Watch a video about the project at http://go.unl.edu/5fo.

The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences program has undergraduates working directly with faculty members, participating in research and other creative activities on campus. The two-year projects give students the opportunity to add valuable experiences to their education.

This year she is researching sustainability practices at Big Ten universities. So far she has looked at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

"We are going to be constantly compared to (Big Ten schools) in these areas," Drummond said of their new benchmark.

Cho and Drummond will present a report of their findings to the Chancellor's Commission on Environmental Sustain-ability when they have finished their research. Drummond is the co-chair of the commission.

Sustainability has many definitions, Drummond said.

"Essentially, it is the responsibility of one generation to take care of its resources, use them wisely, and be able to pass these resources on to the future generations so that the quality of life can be maintained or in fact improved," Drummond said.

For Cho, sustainable practices are those that understand the relationship between nature and human life.

Sustainable practices can range from conserving energy to promoting recycling. They can include constructing and remodeling buildings to make them more efficient or limiting water consumption.

Cho's interests in art and math grew into a love of architecture when she came to the United States. The Incheon, South Korea, native went to high school in South Dakota, where she saw single-family homes for the first time. Most people live in apartments in Korea, Cho said.

She was inspired by the individuality of all of the different houses.

"They were all uniquely designed and some of the buildings were very amusing to me," she said.

Cho enjoys architecture because it gives her a chance to create spaces for people and affect how they feel when they walk into a building.

In addition to learning about research, working with Drummond has helped Cho learn English and expand her vocabulary.

Cho "can't list all the new words" that she has learned, she said.

Drummond has also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Cho.

"It's a delight to have her here and I always enjoy her discoveries," Drummond said.

Both Cho and Drummond would like to see some changes on campus. Cho would like to see students have more information about how to be sustainable on campus.
Sustainable issues will follow Cho even when she leaves campus. For Cho and other architecture students, sustainability is no longer an option.

"It's a requirement," she said.

- Christine Scalora, Undergraduate Studies

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/5fo