Maria Campbell '11:
Civil Engineering Student LEEDs the Way
Maria Campbell ’11, civil engineering, spent summer 2010 researching how to bring Santa Clara’s existing buildings up to U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Existing Buildings).
Working under the direction of Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of University Operations, Campbell’s research involved taking a close look at individual buildings on campus, determining how each one is using resources, and finding possible ways to reduce each structure’s ecological footprint.
Along with consultants Swinerton Builders and Todd Jersey Architects, Campbell considered how campus buildings could be more sustainable if certain renovations were made. “We also investigated how normal upkeep could be more sustainable, and we checked into storm-water management while considering exterior hardscapes that affect building efficiency. It’s a little tricky finding ways to minimize heat gain for our campus structures while maintaining the mission aesthetic, but there are things we can do if we’re creative,” she said.
Unlike many of SCU’s students, Campbell was self-supporting as an undergraduate and worked on campus in a number of capacities before taking on the job of managing SCU’s LEED EB certification process. “I learned a lot that summer,” Campbell said. “I also studied for and received LEED green associate accreditation. Joe encouraged me to get my accreditation and the University reimbursed me as part of the project, so it was really good.”
Campbell’s LEED research is part of the University’s deep commitment to sustainability and environmental justice. “SCU has high standards and supports individuals who work hard,” she said. “I was working for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, Mathnasium Learning Center, and the Graduate Business Programs at SCU. It was a challenge to manage everything, but I definitely didn’t do it alone.”
"This school has given me a lot—helping me with scholarships and financial aid, internship opportunities, and then this project. I definitely wouldn’t have been here without SCU’s help, so it felt good to be working on something that gives back to the school and does something healthy for our planet, too.”
“Sustainability is the way of the future,” she added. “If we don't find ways to impact our environment less, we will have to face the consequences. This was a way for me to give back and help the University that helped me so much in my undergraduate career.”