Vegan cake, biodegradable supplies and party hats made of newspaper were all fitting decorations for the one-year birthday of GW’s first green roof on Oct. 26. Guests gathered on the seventh floor terrace of 1957 E Street, NW, and enjoyed birthday cake and tours of the 1,600-foot green roof—which was covered in icing for the occasion.
Before he helped cut the cake, President Steven Knapp told partygoers that the green roof symbolizes GW’s University-wide commitment to sustainability, which includes changes to construction, operations and landscaping. “This is a great, ‘roof-breaking’ example of this mission,” said Dr. Knapp. “It’s a practical implementation of sustainability at the University. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in this project.”
The roof was first announced at an Earth Day ceremony on April 22, 2008, when Dr. Knapp signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Last October, students from organizations Net Impact and Green GW, faculty and students from GW’s sustainable landscape design program, staff from Facilities Planning and Environmental Management and Facilities Project Management, and GW alumni worked with Culbertson Company and Furbish Company to install the roof.
Since installation, Facilities Planning and Environmental Management has hosted more than 16 maintenance sessions in which students from Campaign GW, Net Impact, Green GW, Colonial Cabinet, Alpha Pi Omega and Revolution Green have helped care for the roof. Maintenance has included weeding, planting and distributing cuttings.
Director of GW’s landscape design program Adele Ashkar, who designed the green roof, says the celebration demonstrated that the project was both “successful and thriving.” “I am extremely proud of GW for having taken the giant step toward this first green roof on campus, and of the NetImpact students who shepherded the project through the approvals and funding stages,” says Ms. Ashkar. “The project provided our sustainable landscape students a perfect opportunity for hands-on learning, and seeing the green roof now makes that cold rainy day last year when we installed the roof worthwhile!”
Nancy Giammatteo, director of planning and environmental management, says the party was the perfect way to mark the occasion and thank the many GW community members involved. “It was great seeing all the many areas of GW come together at the green roof birthday party -- from faculty to students to staff members from the many departments who helped make this project happen,” she says.
Project Coordinator for Planning and Environmental Management Samantha McGovern calls the green roof “a growing symbol of GW’s commitment to the environment.” “I am very proud of the students’ involvement with the green roof, including their participation at 8 a.m. on Monday mornings to help pull weeds and tend to the roof,” says Ms. McGovern. “I believe that it will be this kind of student drive that will continue to increase GW’s environmental conscience.”