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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Summer sustainability program prompts building closures

Thirty-six buildings across the Hawk Hill and University City campuses will be closed July 2024 as part of a Summer Sustainability PILOT Program, according to a list sent in an email to faculty from Human Resources April 22.

All residence halls will close July 2024, besides Lannon Hall on Hawk Hill and the Living and Learning Commons (LLC) at UCity. 

Other buildings set to close this July include Bellarmine Hall, Bronstein Hall, Boland Hall, Claver House, Simpson Hall and Mandeville on Hawk Hill, and Rosenberger Hall and the Athletic/Recreation Center (ARC) at UCity.

The goal of the program is to reduce St. Joe’s carbon footprint, said Kevin Gfeller ’20, assistant director of public relations in the Office of Marketing and Communications. Hoped-for effects include reduced commuting emissions, increased energy conservation, minimized resource consumption and leveraged technology for communication and collaboration. 

Gfeller said most faculty and staff will be working remotely over the summer and that hoteling options, alternative work spaces on campus that can be booked for specified periods of time, will be available for employees who want to reserve space when they need to work on campus while their building is closed. 

Jessica Moran-Buckridge, Ed.D., associate dean of Residence Life, said Residence Life was already planning on consolidating summer housing into Lannon Hall and the LLC prior to the program’s announcement. 

“This is just a better use of resources and staffing, and provides students with a more engaging summer experience,” Moran-Buckridge wrote in response to written questions from The Hawk.

Mike Lyons, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the department of communications and media studies, typically works in Bronstein Hall throughout the summer with four others. He found out Bronstein was on the list of building closures when it was announced to the campus community. Lyons said some people are happy to have the remote option and others don’t mind temporarily relocating, but he wishes communication about the closure and relocation was clearer. 

“They’re fine with going to another building to use an office,” Lyons said. “It’s just the details and the process probably could have been a little bit more thought-out.”

Also within Bronstein Hall is a communications gear room, which houses audio and video equipment that could be damaged by the summer heat without air conditioning, Lyons said.

“We have a lot of gear, cameras, recorders and all kinds of things that probably shouldn’t sit all summer without air conditioning, so that’s something I need to reach out to the administration about,” Lyons said.

The April 22 email did not specify if air conditioning would be turned off completely in closed buildings.

Lyons said he is currently working on a plan to avoid damaged gear at Bronstein Hall and is considering buying a window unit air conditioner.

Gfeller said employees are encouraged to take necessary technology home during July and bring it back upon their return to campus. But it wasn’t clear what would happen to technology that cannot be easily moved, like the gear room in Bronstein or the newspaper office and radio station equipment on the third floor of Simpson Hall.

Kelly Slater ’24, president of Art Club, had been scheduled for a work exchange program in Boland Hall over the summer, which is currently slated to be closed for July.

“It’s definitely quieter in the summer, but we still have to be here to maintain and clean up the studio and get ready for the fall semester,” Slater said.

Krista Svalbonas, associate professor and chair of art and art history departments, said Boland Hall should not be closing this summer. She said she hopes Boland Hall’s listing as a closed building is a mistake as she believes students benefit when they have the opportunity to keep working over the summer.

Slater said she was looking forward to the opportunity to work on campus again this summer. 

“I feel it’s so important for students to maintain their skills over the summer, especially when they’re trying to pursue a career in art and we have this ability to do a work study or work exchange,” Slater said.

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