LEED the Way

Logo: Sustainable JWU: Grounds & Landscaping

Explore the ways that JWU’s Providence Campus is making our buildings, grounds and gardens as energy-efficient and green as possible, from LEED-certified facilities to bee-keeping on campus.

A significant portion of JWU Providence’s Harborside Campus sits on reclaimed industrial land that was formerly part of the Providence Shipyard, which built Liberty Ships during World War II. Federal “Brownfields” and EPA cleanup grants received by the school in 2005 and 2006 helped pave the way for converting polluted parts of Fields Point into the Harborside Campus, including academic buildings, residence halls and other facilities.

LEED-Certified Buildings at JWU

JWU’s Providence Campus has four Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-certified buildings:

  • Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence (CCCE)
  • Grace Welcome Center
  • Center for Physician Assistant Studies
  • John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation

LEED certification is a green rating system, overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), that encourages sustainable building and development practices. As the most widely-used green building rating system in the world, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. Certification is a globally-recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

“This is a legacy we leave our campus community,” says Providence Campus President Marie Bernardo-Sousa, L.P.D.,’92, who cited the LEED-certified buildings as a “wonderful example of how we manage our facilities.”

RELATED READING: About the LEED Rating System

Green Buildings on Campus

Certified in 2011, the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

Certified in 2011, Grace Welcome Center became JWU’s second LEED-certified building. As a first stop for many prospective students and their families on campus tours, its light-filled lobby and thoughtfully-framed campus views make it naturally impressive, in addition to being environmentally-friendly.

In addition to earning LEED certification, the Center for Physician Assistant Studies was honored with a 2014 Providence Preservation Society (PPS) Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Award — one of 8 preservation projects honored that year. The building also earned a 2015 Smart Growth Award as an Outstanding Smart Growth Project.

From its ground-floor gallery spaces to its robotics, biology and engineering labs, the John J. Bowen Center for Science & Innovation showcases the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary education. Certified in 2016, the building also complies with with National Grid’s Advanced Buildings Program for increased energy efficiency.

LEED Gold Certified Buildings, clockwise from left: Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence, Grace Welcome Center, Bowen Center for Science and Innovation, Center for Physician Assistant Studies.

Green Spaces, Gardens and Grounds

In 2019 and 2020, JWU Providence was honored by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management with Tree Campus USA® recognition.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. JWU achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include:

  • maintaining a tree advisory committee
  • a campus tree-care plan
  • dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program
  • an Arbor Day observance
  • student service-learning project

Green Collaborative Gardens

In 2017, the Green Collaborative — comprised of 5 like-minded student groups, including Student Activists Supporting Sustainability (SASS), Bee the Change, Club for Culinary Excellence, Cooking Asia and the Nutrition Society — began to plan a collaborative garden space adjacent to the Harbor View residence hall.

Starting in 2018, they began laying down a walkway with bricks donated by facilities. The following spring, they built 6 of the raised bed gardens had an official ribbon cutting event for the planting of the first seeds.

Since then, they have added more garden beds, with the goal of having a total of 15. Their most recent growing season yielded nasturtiums, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, onions, rutabaga, peas and sunflowers.

Bee the Change also keeps two hives on the garden plot. Advised by JWU faculty members Richard Miscovich and Cindy Sharp, this student beekeeping group focuses on educating the public about the value of pollinators.

JWU Providence’s Green Collaborative garden (left) and beehives (right).