President's Message

Philadelphia University demonstrates its commitment to sustainability on campus both through our actions as a community and in our curriculum:

  • We signed the American College and University President's Climate Commitment.
  • Last year we submitted our Climate Action Plan to the ACUPCC, outlining our plan to reach climate neutrality by 2035. The plan includes space efficiency, green power, and efficient gas boilers/IT infrastructure improvements.
  • Our campus master plan is focused on making our campus cohesive in nature so that it may operate and be maintained as efficiently as possible.
  • In 2011, we launched a campus-wide energy education and awareness campaign with Honeywell called Act! Earth. It developed educational events and student activities to promote improved energy management practices. Aligning with PhilaU's commitment to student centricity, Act! Earth appoints a graduate student in sustainable design to be the Act! Earth Coordinator.
  • We have partnered with Autodesk, which is 3D Design and Engineering software, and participated in a pilot of their Green Building Certificate, which teaches students how to use digital tools to predict energy performance and create designs that reduce carbon footprints.
  • We have been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council since 2003 and we participate in the education sub-committee to promote sustainable curricula across the country.
  • We built the SEED Center and the Lawrence N. Field DEC Center to LEED Standards.  The Field DEC Center was just completed in 2012, but it has already been externally recognized:
    • by Environmental Leader and Energy Manager Today for the aluminum veil’s application;
    • by Aluminum Architecture Magazine for the veil design;
    • by Engineering News Report as a Best Project in 2013.

Now the DEC Center has been Awarded LEED Gold, PhilaU’s second LEED Gold building. The first is our SEED Center.

  • We are committed to teaching sustainability and innovation. Over 150 students have graduated from our M.S. in Sustainable Design program since its founding in 2007. The program embodies PhilaU’s transdisciplinary educational philosophy.
  • Our diverse professors come from real-world backgrounds of architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, interior design, geodesign, and construction management.
  • Indeed, our built environment curriculum is one of the broadest and deepest in the country.
  • Our educational mission is to provide students with a professional competitive advantage.  The deep understanding of their chosen profession with a transdisciplinary, collaborative, project based curriculum and an emphasis on innovation is a powerful combination in the marketplace.

PhilaU’s sustainability efforts produce results.  I am thrilled to report that our 2013 update to our greenhouse gas inventory showed a steady decrease in overall emissions, despite a substantial increase in facility size since 2011, including the DEC building. Our reduction in total carbon emissions is the equivalent of taking 75 passenger cars off the road for an entire year. However, we still believe we have an obligation to further reduce our emissions associated with transportation and travel.

Our students, faculty, and staff have worked incredibly hard to make PhilaU a more sustainable community. I thank them for their efforts in education, outreach, mitigation and research that help sustainability and innovation to enhance campus community life and future careers of our students.

Best wishes,
Stephen Spinelli, Jr., Ph.D.