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President's Message - September 2009

Dear Purdue Supporters,

As a Purdue Boilermaker, I, like most of you, proudly wear our gold and black. But there is another hue that is becoming a stronger influence on our lives — green. I am proud of where we are headed in addressing both local and global "green" initiatives. All of us — Purdue students, faculty, and staff — are broadening our understanding of the issues and cultivating sustainable practices through our curriculum, research, and our own personal actions.

Instilling "green" into our curriculum and campus community will better prepare our students for careers. Classroom coursework, campus competitions, and 16 environmental organizations are stimulating student-inspired ideas on sustainability. The President's Leadership Class, a wonderful group of talented freshmen, will explore many facets of sustainability this year through one-on-one interactions with faculty teachers, researchers, and leaders. And Boiler Green Initiative , a student organization that recently completed installation of Purdue's first green roof, continues its work on environmental issues. Not only does the vegetation on Schleman Hall's rooftop look great, it is increasing the lifespan of the roof and providing insulation for lower energy waste and noise pollution while also reducing rainwater runoff.

Schleman Hall Green Roof
Schleman Hall Green Roof

More than 300 of our faculty members are collaborating on research and the social, economic, and political issues surrounding energy and the environment. Just last month, Purdue was tapped as part of the federal stimulus program to develop degrees and Indiana workforce training programs for electric vehicles with a $6.1 million grant. We will partner with the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University Calumet and Indiana University as members of the Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium. Purdue also was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance work in biofuels with a $20 million grant that will fund a new Energy Frontier Research Center.

We are helping Indiana business and industry to be and see “green” too. The Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is delivering an energy efficiency services (EES) program and a green specialist certificate program to Indiana business and industry. Haynes International Inc., a performance alloys company in Kokomo, is one of the current participants. By taking part in TAP’s EES program, Haynes has realized $500,000 in natural gas and $24,000 in electricity usage savings in just a three-month period.

Preschool through high school educators are also a part of for our sustainability efforts. Indiana teachers and administrators recently visited campus for a conference on energy issues. The program gave them new ways to go beyond “reduce, reuse and recycle” in their curriculum through a problem-based platform for teaching math, science, economics, citizenship and critical thinking.

On campus, we are building and upgrading existing buildings with sustainability in mind. Construction on the Roger B. Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building has started and will be our first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building when it opens in 2011. We also have become better at using our storm water through a recently completed aquifer recharge system below the new football practice fields that cleans and stores up to 304,000 gallons of storm water.

“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” is an integral part of campus life among our students, faculty, and staff. Nearly 100 percent of staff members participated in a pilot program for desk-side recycling in Freehafer Hall this fall. Dozens of student volunteers are combing Ross-Ade Stadium and the parking lots before and after each home football game for recyclables — more than 4,500 pounds at the Toledo game. And our campus-wide “personal” recyclables rate has increased 11 percent since last year.

I am proud of the sustainability initiatives and research that Purdue faculty, staff, and students are collectively pursuing. These highlights are just a sampling of what is being done at Purdue to sustain our world. I encourage you to follow our progress and learn more about our Green Week 2009 celebration by visiting




France A. Córdova