Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

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EnAct’s Second Annual Symposium: Green Building

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(Art/Kayla Zhang ’24)

Over the past three months, the Environmental Action (EnAct) club has been working tirelessly to plan and host EnAct’s second annual symposium. The symposium is a climate conference hosted by PDS students that aims to educate the student body about a single environmental issue. This year, the symposium was centered around “green building,” which refers to sustainable architecture that is both resource-efficient and environmentally friendly. Here is an overview of the program EnAct planned, as well as student insight about the event!

The Green Building Symposium began with a comprehensive and engaging presentation from keynote speaker Matt Lewis, an architect at the company ARC who specializes in green building. Lewis worked on several projects throughout his lifetime, one of which included the construction of PDS’ very own Athletic Center. Built over the pandemic, PDS’ athletic center is LEED-certified and sustainable. During his presentation, Lewis and the ARC team explained in detail how they incorporated elements of sustainable architecture in the Field House. For example, using sustainable materials was a main focus of the project. Another aspect that was central to the construction of the building was natural lighting. These included ceiling windows and wide glass panes to maximize the amount of sunlight and minimize the usage of electricity. 

Next, the symposium featured a variety of workshops to educate the students about the topic of sustainable architecture. PDS alum Jerah Siegal ‘17 led a workshop to talk about his business BioDome. BioDome is a company that designs and constructs sustainable domes for food production and agriculture. Presenting about the process of environmental entrepreneurship, Siegal explained his company’s goal and led students through an interactive activity that pushed them to think about ways they could start a business to solve green building-related issues. EnAct students also hosted two additional workshops. The Education Committee organized a green building drawing competition that helped students think about ways they could implement green building in their own homes, while the Service Committee planned an activity that involved students using thermal guns across the school to model passive and active heating. Overall, these workshops helped enhance the students’ exposure to sustainable architecture.

Finally, the symposium ended with a Q&A panel including Mr. Siegal, architect and Chair of the PDS Board of Trustees Mr. Chris Bobbit, and PDS Director of Facility Operations Robert Clemens. Through the panel, the students were able to ask additional questions regarding their experiences with green architecture and learn more about the field.

Overall, the Green Building Symposium was met with positive feedback from students. Sophomore Michael Xue thought that keynote speaker Matt Lewis was especially interesting: “I learned from [Lewis] that 90% of emissions have to do with building, so something as simple as changing daily habits could promote sustainability.” Freshman Jaysna Tuladhar also expressed that she learned a lot about green building following the symposium: “Before the symposium, I didn’t really know what green building was, or how applicable its practices and principles are to everyday life. I thought that making sustainable choices related to green building was something that only architects or designers could do, but I learned that even small choices, like shutting doors to save energy, make a big impact as a community.” Thus, the PDS community was able to grow and benefit from the knowledge presented at the symposium.

Thanks to the hard work of EnAct members, the second annual EnAct symposium was a success, effectively educating members of the school community in an engaging and exciting way! We hope to see you next year for EnAct’s third annual symposium!

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