Kennesaw State dedicates new Social Sciences Building and goes green

Georgia (Nov 1, 2007) — On Nov. 13, Kennesaw State University dedicated a new nationally certified environmentally friendly Social Sciences Building and also announced a series of initiatives that underlined the university’s commitment to ecological leadership.

Housing KSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences — KSU’s largest college — the Social Sciences Building opened to students, faculty and staff in January 2007. Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Richard Vengroff described the building as “exactly the kind of facility that the College of Humanities and Social Sciences needs. It is a superb new facility, and we are proud to provide such a first-class building for our students, faculty and staff.”

The Social Science Building’s dedication was highlighted by remarks from Mr. Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., the world’s largest producer of commercial floor-coverings and interior finishes. Long a leader in international efforts to foster sustainable development, Mr. Anderson stressed that business, government, and education communities needed to consciously adopt environmentally friendly policies.

The new building recently won recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council as a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) building for its environmentally friendly design and construction. With over 160,000 square feet, the structure features natural light that graces the halls and open areas where students, faculty and staff congregate.

According to John Anderson, KSU’s assistant vice president for facilities, more than 40 percent of the construction materials used to build the Social Sciences Building came from regional sources, reducing emissions from transport. Crews used materials with a high-recycled content, diverting materials from landfills. Also, more than 50 percent of construction wastes — including concrete, steel and wood — were recycled for other campus uses, which diverted the waste from area landfills.

Other key “green” points in the construction and design of the Social Sciences Building include but are not limited to:

  • Water-efficient landscaping, using native plantings that do not require a permanent irrigation system, which saves water;
  • The building design was shifted to save three large, old oak trees to shade the facility and provide more green space;
  • Ultra low-flow faucets and toilets were installed, which also conserve water; and
  • Adhesives, sealants, paints and coating, which emit lower levels of volatile organic compounds were used in construction, helping to improve the building's indoor air quality.

Other KSU environmental initiatives stressed at the Nov. 13 dedication of the Social Sciences building included:

  • Commitment by KSU President Daniel S. Papp to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, in line with a national coalition of college and university presidents;
  • Naming of a campus environmental coordinator who will oversee the university’s “green” initiatives and teach students as a member of the faculty;
  • Launching a new undergraduate degree program with emphases in environmental science or environmental policy within KSU’s existing Interdisciplinary Studies program; and
  • Rededication of “Spaceship Earth,” the 175-ton sculpture that serves as a reminder of the need to preserve the planet.

“We are more than willing to do our part to help the environment,” KSU President Daniel S. Papp said. “These initiatives are not just the right thing to do; they are imperative in addressing sustainability. We want to lead by example, and educate a new generation of environmental experts that will help create positive change.”

Here are more details on the various strategic environmental initiatives articulated today at the university:


Earlier this year, Papp joined more than 400 college and university presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Recognizing the threat of global warming, the effort commits signatories to lead endeavors combating global climate change at institutions of higher learning. The agreement commits Kennesaw State to proactively engaging students, faculty and staff in measuring and reducing the campus’ carbon footprint. Information about the university’s progress will be shared with other campuses and the public. Planned actions are wide-ranging, from constructing “greener” buildings such as the Social Sciences Building to promoting recycling programs and alternate transportation arrangements that reduce the number of vehicles on campus.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently named KSU one of 72 “Best Workplaces for Commuters” among colleges and universities, recognizing KSU’s excellent commuter benefits, including carpools, vanpools, guaranteed rides home and links to public transportation. Such benefits help KSU reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,379 metric tons each year. In terms of economic impact, KSU’s Cobb County employees save more than $450,000 per year in fuel costs through these programs.

KSU also has numerous recycling bins for paper, plastic, aluminum and other materials used by consumers in high-traffic locations across campus. Nonetheless, KSU’s plant operations and maintenance departments are taking recycling to an even higher level, working to recycle additional materials, such as automobile tires, computers, monitors, batteries and even the metal tips of fluorescent lighting tubes.


Papp also announced that a search will begin for a campus environmental coordinator who will both teach environmental studies and serve as the coordinator for KSU’s comprehensive “green” initiatives.

“The campus environmental coordinator will provide leadership to our goals of lessening the university’s environmental impact, and also will educate students on critical environmental issues facing the world,” Papp said. The new coordinator will have faculty status, and should be on board by mid-2008.


To ensure the preparation of the next generation of well-educated leaders who can tackle current and future environmental challenges, Kennesaw State is also offering students the opportunity to design individualized degree programs in environmental science or environmental policy. The new undergraduate degree options are being offered by KSU’s existing Interdisciplinary Studies program.

According to Ralph J. Rascati, dean of KSU’s University College and associate vice president for academic affairs, the programs will emphasize the study of human influences on the environment, and students will select from a mix of scientific and policy-related courses and experiences. Graduates will be prepared for careers dedicated to solving complex environmental issues, and will help KSU meet the strong demand among government and private industry for well-trained environmental staff.


Officials also rededicated the monument the massive 175-ton sculpture known as “Spaceship Earth” during Tuesday’s ceremonies. The sculpture, a reminder that all on Earth are passengers of a fragile “vessel” which must be cared for, is prominently situated near the Social Sciences building. The statue was created by Finnish-American artist Eino in tribute to the late environmentalist David Brower, whose life-size figure is a “passenger” on the spherical monument. Originally commissioned by Jennifer and the late Brian Maxwell, creators of the PowerBar, the statue collapsed in January and was rebuilt over the summer with private funds to specifications approved by a licensed structural engineer, with a stainless steel reinforcement system for additional stability.


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Further information about the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment is available online at


An article with further information about the Social Sciences Building is located on page 31 of the Spring/Summer 2007 edition of Kennesaw State University Magazine. It may be downloaded at


For more about the U.S. Green Building Council and LEED® certification, visit



A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia‚ Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including a new doctorate in education.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit