Santa Clara University

SCU Engineering News

Civil engineering student LEEDs the way

Maria Campbell
Maria Campbell ’11 takes stock of energy-related equipment on campus.

Civil engineering senior Maria Campbell stands before an aerial photograph of SCU’s campus fielding questions from a trio of architecture and building professionals with the facile manner and confidence of someone twice her age. Working under the direction of Joe Sugg, Assistant Vice President of University Operations, Maria has spent the summer 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), and she has become quite an authority along the way. “You’re smart!”, exclaimed Todd Jersey, an architect chosen as a consultant based on his experience with green retrofit projects.

Maria brushes off the compliment with a quick smile as she explains the project: “Right now, we’re looking at individual buildings, determining how each one is using resources and looking for ways to reduce the ecological footprint of the building.” Working with Swinerton Builders and Todd Jersey Architects, Maria is researching how campus buildings could be more sustainable if renovations were made. “We’re also looking into how normal upkeep could be more sustainable and checking into storm water management while looking at 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, Maria is self-supporting and has worked on campus in a number of capacities before taking on the job of managing SCU’s LEED EB certification process. “I’ve learned a lot this summer,” Maria said. “I’ve been studying for LEED green associate accreditation. Joe encouraged me to get my accreditation and the University is reimbursing me as part of the project, so it’s been really good. This school has given me a lot—helping me with scholarships and financial aid, internship opportunities, and now this project. I definitely wouldn’t be here without SCU’s help, so it feels good to be working on something that gives back to the school and does something healthy for our planet, too.”

Read more about SCU Civil Engineering.