Garden of Eden: Chatham's new campus will focus on sustainability
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Chatham University's plans to make its new campus at Eden Hall a center of sustainability studies are appropriately ambitious and forward-looking.
Eden Hall, a 388-acre farm in Richland on the northern edge of Allegheny County, was donated to the university in 2008. Since the gift was made, Chatham President Esther Barazzone has intended that it be a center of sustainability studies and related fields, consistent not only with what Chatham already teaches, but also faithful to the traditions associated with one of its most famous alumnae, Rachel Carson.
Now Chatham has a multi-phase plan designed to be implemented over 20 years, starting in late spring, that ultimately could have an economic impact of $80 million to $100 million and far-reaching results on a regional and potentially a national level. Its program will not be unique in America, but its combination of facilities and curriculum will make it a trailblazer in a century in which environmental consciousness and living "green" have increasingly become hallmarks of modernity.
The Eden Hall campus eventually will be able to host 1,500 students (1,200 as residents) and offer a cross-discipline curriculum to include master's degree programs in sustainability and food studies as well as undergraduate opportunities.
Chatham already has raised $20 million to develop the Eden Hall site, including $8 million for construction. The university will need help to develop the new eco-friendly campus, but its capacity for growth is demonstrated by the fact that it has put some $90 million into its Shadyside campus over the past 15 years.
Eden Hall is on the road to becoming something the city and the region can be very proud of. Chatham University should be praised for its efforts.
First Published January 13, 2011 12:00 am