Clarkson University Students Explore Sustainable Building Practices in and around the Nation’s Capital

Clarkson University students in high-visibility coats and hard hats look up to inspect a construction site

Clarkson University students, including Environmental Policy and Construction Engineering Management (CEM) students, recently traveled to Washington, D.C. where they delved into the world of sustainable building practices and developed vital connections within the industry.

The trip, organized by Clarkson University’s Construction Engineering Management Program, showcased the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability, emphasizing the synergy between environmental policy, our built environment, natural resources, and the future of green building and construction.

The adventure began with a tour from one of Clarkson University’s CEM Program partners, Kokosing Construction Company, of the Arlington National Cemetery expansion site. This experience offered students a firsthand look at large-scale construction practices. Following this eye-opening experience, the students immersed themselves in the Greenbuild pre-conference workshops, where they gained valuable insights from experts in sustainable construction.

A Clarkson University student interacts with industry professionals at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

The journey continued as the students explored the Halley Rise construction project, a massive 480-unit mixed-use podium development in Reston, VA consisting of two towers over a shared, above-grade parking garage. This CBG Building Company project follows the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings which further enhanced the students’ understanding of sustainable building methods and materials. Following an exciting day on the yard, students traveled to the home of a local Clarkson alumnus who hosted the students overnight, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support.

At the heart of the trip was the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Students attended the opening ceremonies, perused the exposition hall, and engaged in various conference sessions. They also had the opportunity to attend a special “Women in Green” luncheon, where they unapologetically celebrate, sharing their experiences and honoring their impact as professionals.
Claudia Beltran, a senior studying environmental engineering at Clarkson University expressed her motivation to advance sustainability in her career and personal life. While Mo Tunkara, a senior global supply chain management student, celebrated the abundance of business connections and job opportunities at Greenbuild.

Clarkson students and professors pose in front of a large Greenbuild International Conference and Expo logo.

This field trip to Washington, D.C. emphasizes Clarkson’s commitment to providing students with hands-on experiences and industry connections, all of which prepare them for success leading up to and following graduation. Celia Darling, who is the Sustainability Club Co-President and is finishing both her Environmental Policy Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Clarkson University next year, shared “Greenbuild was a wonderful experience personally and professionally to dive into sustainability in the real world. There were insightful sessions, powerful keynotes, and lots of networking! It was the perfect week to find direction in future sustainability careers!”

Clarkson’s CEM program, recognized as one of the nation’s best at both undergraduate and graduate levels, boasts a 100 percent year-over-year placement rate. This achievement is founded on the program’s dedication to experiences such as these.

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