Staff settles into green IGC

By Katie Havranek

After extensive planning and construction, staff members finally moved into the Institute for Global Citizenship in June, and the institute had its first high profile visitor: Kofi Annan. “It was an honor to have him here [at the unveiling] and students always find him very inspirational and gracious,” said Karin Trail-Johnson, Associate Dean of the IGC and Director of the CEC.

Since it’s opening, the staff has given tours for neighbors, local school groups, community nonprofit partners, representatives from other colleges and alumni. In July, over 200 staff members came to a coffee and tour.

“There was a lot of interest in the building this summer,” Suzanne Hansen said, Sustainability Manager. “It gained a lot of attention from other colleges and the community.”

Hansen said much of this is due to the green aspects of the building. Many of the tours were for community groups and architects looking to build similar buildings. Macalester applied and is currently waiting for certification for “platinum status” from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-the standard green building rating system.

“Platinum is a significant level to get to,” Hansen said. The IGC is 75 percent more efficient than a standard building. “This is the sort of structure everyone needs to be building.”

Trail-Johnson pointed out that most LEED certified buildings on college campuses are now built for science buildings. The decision to create a LEED certified building for the IGC was unique.

“I think it is exciting to have a programmatic or ethical connection by having a program which encourages social responsibility for a common good in a LEED building,” she said.

Many aspects of the building are meant to promote conservation, including showers to encourage the staff to ride their bikes. Trail-Johnson said, several staff members have ridden their bikes to work this summer.

Trail-Johnson said the staff has found the building comfortable and aesthetically pleasing thus far. “It’s great to work in a healthy building that isn’t emitting toxic fumes and is energy efficient.”

Those who worked on the design and implementation of the IGC hope that staff and faculty are not the only ones to enjoy the new building. The staff has worked to ensure there are visible aspects of the sustainability of the building. For example, there is a monitor in the IGC that gives real time data of the energy and water use.

“I hope people will use the data for educational opportunities,” Hansen said, “I would be happy to support any student.”

In keeping with these goals, students are encouraged to attend the Kagin Ice Cream Social and take a tour this Friday as well as participate in the IGC Student Council. The IGC is also meant to encourage the pursuit of internships, travel abroad opportunities, and the Global Citizenship Concentration.