photo / Brian S. Lee, Swarthmore '14
Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) is a student-led initiative that promotes education through action, empowerment, and innovation with design-build projects while utilizing an interdisciplinary, research-based approach to create resilient structures in the built environment and realize a future of ecological, social, and economic sustainability.
Focusing on interdisciplinary project-based learning, CUSD harnesses the abundant creative capital at Cornell. In 2011, for its Schoolhouse South Africa project, CUSD designed and built a 6,000 sq. ft. passive solar early childhood development center and teacher training facility in South Africa, and made headway on their next project, the Sustainability Research Facility. Recently, CUSD has begun a new project, Sustainable Neighborhood Nicaragua, to develop a sustainable community in Nicaragua, including an ecologically sensitive agriculture strategy. CUSD also has an active Outreach team, collaborating with institutions in Ithaca, New York City, and South Africa, such as the African Leadership Academy, Harlem Children's Zone, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and the Intrepid Museum.
Formerly known as Cornell's Solar Decathlon team, CUSD completed three entries into the biannual competition for the Solar Decathlon, an interdisciplinary, design-build competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in which 20 colleges and universities from around the world compete in 10 domestic- and energy-based contests. Their most recent entry, the Silo House, competed in the 2009 Solar Decathlon.
The momentum CUSD has gained on campus has made this the largest project team at Cornell, comprised of more than 240 full-time students with members from every college on campus, as well as several graduate departments. With an advising faculty of more than 20 distinguished professors, CUSD is gaining traction within the educational culture at Cornell. In the spring 2012 semester, for the first time, several CUSD projects were fully integrated into syllabi across campus, with five related courses offered in the College of Engineering and two in AAP.
For information regarding specific projects, please contact one of the students below by email:
Schoolhouse South Africa: Jesse McElwain, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainability Research Facility: Aylin Gucalp, email@example.com
Sustainable Neighborhood Nicaragua: Nora Wright, firstname.lastname@example.org