The Campaign for MIT has hit the three-quarter mark with little sign of flagging. By March’s end, the total had reached $1.14 billion, or just over 75 percent of the $1.5 billion goal.
“This wonderful achievement shows that the alumni and friends of the Institute recognize how important MIT is to our modern world,” says Ray Stata, a member of the Class of 1957 and the campaign chairman. “It also demonstrates that many of them are willing to contribute their time, effort and financial resources to ensure that MIT can continue to thrive.”
In fact, the campaign has already let MIT promote innovations that might have been hard to pursue otherwise, including several with an environmental cast. And many of these take advantage of the current construction boom on campus.
In some cases, the results will be obvious. Take the new undergraduate residence, Simmons Hall. The building, due to open in 2002 on its Vassar Street site, features walls of a special glass that help keep energy use down by maximizing reliance on natural light. In other cases, the results will be all-but invisible. In the new Stata Center for Computer, Information and Intelligence Sciences, sophisticated energy reclaiming systems will recycle both escaping heat and — in summer — escaping cool air.
Several of the new buildings, meanwhile, will feature collection networks that trap rain-water, says Hans Antonsson, a senior project manager for the Department of Facilities. While such water’s not suited for drinking, it’s fine for other purposes.
The efforts aren’t restricted to new structures. The Dreyfus Building, which is just beyond the Kendall Square end of the Infinite Corridor and houses the Department of Chemistry, is undergoing a massive renovation. The brand new exhaust hoods for its labs will be bigger than the old ones, but will require far less air, and thus, energy.
The building-related initiatives are part of a broad push to boost MIT’s environmental performance. Last year alone, the Institute increased its use of “green products” by 21 percent, and greatly expanded its already ambitious recycling program.
There are guidelines for carrying out these and numerous other efforts. But, notes Antonsson, nothing says you have to stop at those in seeking ways to save energy or protect the environment.
“When we started renovating the Dreyfus Building,” he notes, “a small private school in Maine asked if we had any use for the old lab benches. We said we didn’t, and the school just sent us a picture of these benches in their brand new math and science building.”