Climate Impacts of the Creative Quad

The Miller Creative Quad is Hendrix College’s newest dorm and budding artistic hub, an attempt to bolster admissions in a big way. Anyone who marched across our often rainy campus to the art building can attest to the excitement of moving much of Hendrix’s fine art community to a central campus location, and the prospect of a chic, modern dorm is enough to brighten any underclassman’s day. However the 2018/2019 academic year showed that not everyone was as consistently overjoyed about its construction. Primarily, complaints came from the sudden detours in morning commutes, sending students racing to class after their usual path was blocked by what felt like miles of fencing (or worse, makeshift bridges that held a maximum of two people, but were meant to momentarily compensate for the obstructed courtyard). 

Between the caf’s Meatless Mondays, the ECC’s recycle bins students may check out for the year , and the Hendrix College Campus Arboretum, an ever growing, educational collection of Arkansas-native trees, one would assume Miller would be on the forefront of Hendrix’s cutting edge environmentalism. Much of the building is considered ‘eco-friendly’. There are water-bottle fillers around the halls to encourage the use of reusable bottles, equipped with a tracker that displays how many bottles have been filled thus far. The outside of the building is covered in shingles from Hulen Hall, the building Miller is replacing. These are just two of the ways the Quad is striving toward a more sustainable dorm environment. 

However, no building is perfect, and especially no building under construction. Noise pollution caused by the Quad’s ongoing construction has been a major complaint for approximately a year. “It’s disruptive to most students throughout the day, wakes me up in the morning, and continues until I leave for dinner at 4:30,” Sophomore Miller Resident Assistant Lily Berry said. “I can understand how it would be disruptive not only to the students insid, but to the surrounding wildlife as well.” The Quad is situated in the middle of campus, and while the construction’s sounds are most damaging to the students inside the building, they can be heard across campus. 

Noise pollution spanning extended periods of time adversely affects the surrounding environment as noise-affected animals and insects flee. Hendrix has a carefully constructed micro-ecosystem, with specially planted vegetation, and our own cat colony! Additionally, the campus-wide student body has voiced concerns regarding the use of fossil fuels to construct the building. The most common pollution generated from a construction site is air pollution, caused both by the smog from heavy machinery and construction dust pollutants. While the effects this construction will have on our surrounding environment cannot be known, we do know the strides the Quad is taking toward sustainability are successful. 

Lily Berry explained that the water-bottle fillers on her floor had hit impressive numbers, anywhere from 500 filled to over 1000, and those numbers are continuously climbing. The students seem to remain excited about the installations in Miller, and show no signs of cooling their enthusiasm. The building is certainly new, cutting edge, and drawing a lot of attention. Whether these strides toward more sustainable living compensate for the climate concerns caused by the construction, regardless of their popularity, remains to be determined.

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