Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) was honored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in February with the organization’s top “Conservationist of the Year” award. The award recognized Virginia Wesleyan’s new Greer Environmental Sciences Center and the University’s dedication and vision to education the next generation of Bay leaders. CBF President Will Baker presented the award to Virginia Wesleyan President Scott D. Miller at the annual DC on the Half Shell gala in Washington, D.C.
Opening in fall 2017, the Greer Environmental Sciences Center is a 44,000-square-foot sustainable building and was LEED Gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in January. The building has indoor and outdoor classrooms and teaching and research laboratories, including the Chesapeake Bay Aquatics Lab. Energy is produced in the building through solar panels, while nearly 60 different plant species grow in its research gardens and greenhouse. The site’s constructed wetlands and extensive green roof also prevent polluted runoff from harming the Chesapeake Bay.
Using local waterways as a classroom, Virginia Wesleyan students also work on the Ocean Explorer, a 45-foot research vessel owned by VWU and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
Last fall, VWU’s Batten Honors College was launched with the goal of educating global citizens with an environmental focus, providing an international study-away experience and leadership training and development.