Sustainability actions are a daily part of life for Wright Hall residents thanks to a recent renovation’s focus on making the building more environmentally friendly.
Luis Chaparro Rodriguez ’19 is one of many students who has benefited from living in the newly renovated Wright Hall.
“Everything from the tidiness to the perks of having my own air conditioning unit has been amazing,” he said. “I can tell you that it has definitely made my learning and living experience a lot better. It honestly feels like I’m at home, and it’s left an everlasting impression.”
The 2015 renovation also had a significant impact on Randolph’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Last fall, the 109-yearold residence hall became the first building on Randolph’s campus to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The project included the installation of a new HVAC system, an elevator, new furniture, new laundry rooms, and remodeled restrooms. Specific improvements were also incorporated to make the building more environmentally friendly, which earned LEED Silver certification.
“It’s important for us to live by the values that we espouse, and so designing and executing the renovation in a way that was sustainable was an expression of those values,” said Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman. “It’s important for students to have the chance to see that organizations can design renovations and execute them in ways that are environmentally sustainable. And it’s important for them to see the kind of beautiful outcomes you get when you do it right.”
LEED certification is based on a point system in various categories, such as site selection, water efficiency, and energy efficiency. From those scores, buildings receive one of four possible certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
Sara Woodward ’16, Randolph’s sustainability coordinator, said Wright Hall earned points specifically for its high-efficiency faucets and toilets, access to public transportation, low-emitting materials, and energy-efficient light controls. The residence hall gained additional points because it was renovated with reused materials and because the College responsibly managed construction waste.
“This certification is yet another recognition of Randolph’s ongoing efforts to become more sustainable,” Woodward said. “Energy and water efficiency is more difficult with older buildings, so I am especially proud that we have a LEED Silver residence hall on our historic campus.”
“Energy and water efficiency is more difficult with older buildings, so I am especially proud that we have a LEED Silver residence hall on our historic campus,” Sarah Woodward, sustainability coordinator.
The renovation project was made possible thanks to generous alumnae gifts. During the grand reopening of the building in 2015, the College recognized Vita Abundantior Society members Susan Braselton Fant ’84 and her husband, Lester “Ruff” Fant, for their financial and other support throughout the project. Also recognized for their support of the renovation were Emerita Trustee Betty Nichols Street ’66 and her husband, David Street, a former trustee.
The renovation of Wright Hall is just one of many recent ways Randolph has worked toward environmental sustainability. In January, President Bateman joined college and university presidents across the nation in signing the President’s Resilience Commitment.
The document, organized by the nonprofit Second Nature, pledges that Randolph will develop a plan for climate resiliency. Per the agreement, the College will incorporate a joint campus-community task force and submit an annual review of the College’s progress.
In December, he signed an open letter from college and university presidents urging President Donald Trump and Congress to accelerate progress toward a clean energy future. The document, organized by a diverse group of higher education institutions and Second Nature, calls on elected officials to support participation in the Paris Agreement, climate research, and investment in the low-carbon economy.
“The Randolph community has taken significant steps to ensure a sustainable future for our campus, and we must do our part in the national and international effort as well,” Bateman said.