I’ve been dying to write a blog about my school’s new science building since it officially opened in September, but it wasn’t until my microbiology professor last term explained exactly what makes it so special did I want to do my write up.
When I first started to going Drexel in 2008, they started a Green initiative program to help the university help decrease it’s carbon footprint. This included programs for reduction of water use, increase recycling, and monitoring energy use. One of the coolest things they did both for the Green initiative and for the Biology department was to build this massive guy below.
Named after our late president, the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB) is Drexel’s first Silver LEED-certified by the US Green Building Council. This means that the building has, as determined by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, been built to promote environmental health and quality.
Besides housing research and teaching labs and lecture halls for biology, biomedical engineering, and organic chemistry, the building features this thing called a “biowall.” What it does is that it sucks the air from the building and brings the air through a built in wall of plants (all indigenous species to Philadelphia!).
These plants’ roots house microbes which live in a very complicated community and are able to remove volatile compounds from the air to make it cleaner. My prof explained that one of her facets of research included figuring out what types of microbes exactly inhabit these plants and how they work to remove these dangerous substances.
Yes, that is a spiral stair case next to the biowall. It so happens to resemble one strand of helical DNA. I’m pretty sure the Bio department was thrilled about that (so was I!).
I never really had an eye or interest in environmental science. However, since coming to Drexel, as well as volunteering at the Academy of Natural Sciences, I realize that not only are environmental issues, such as climate change, the fight for sustainable energy, preservation of biodiversity, are quickly getting worse, but as a developing scientist in the world I should have an active role in helping contribute to these issues, even if I primarily am interested in medicine. Besides, what does it matter if I can help people out with medical treatments if we have no place to live :P? What about the future of my children and the rest of the people in the world? We should want to take care of our planet so that future generations, as well as other life, like plants and animals can enjoy it, too.
Many professors that I have had are excellent examples of how I want to be. They do not just focus that humans are the center of the world, but rather we are all a part of a community consisting of many organisms and species living on Earth.