The Center for Sustainable Living on the Kenosha Campus serves as a resource for Gateway students, the community, business leaders, teachers and students from kindergarten through college.
The center encompasses a residential building and two outbuildings on 5 acres of land. Its mission is to create a venue for “green” and sustainability-related training for students as well as provide a central point for the community and industry to gain valuable information on how to apply sustainability and environmental knowledge into their everyday lives and businesses
Components include hands-on training for Gateway students, a green idea and concept resource room for business and community and a place for environmental and green education for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, as well.
The center allows for engagement on cross-disciplinary demonstration projects and topics. Sustainable practices are employed at the center and nearby grounds, including using sustainable building products, organic seeds and plants and implementing energy efficiencies where practicable.
Several Gateway programs such as Horticulture, Engineering, Geoexchange Technology, Interior Design, Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology, and Gateway’s apprenticeship program utilize the center to provide hands-on training to students.
The residential building provides an environment for students and the community to learn about green building and décor. Interior Design students have already applied what they’ve learned by creating a “green room” in the center, featuring repurposed furnishings and finishes that promote sustainable and green design. In addition, signs are placed in every room to provide information about the many green building products and practices used in each room.
The grounds are as diverse as the region – an environmental backdrop including a small orchard, forested area and prairie, each presenting Horticulture students with real-life examples of topics discussed in their classroom.
In addition, Horticulture students can use the urban farm located on the grounds to put into practice the concepts they learn in the classroom. They plant and raise vegetables, herbs and flowers. They are then harvested and sold to the public at the nearby Pike Creek Horticulture Center during the growing season.
Bringing green to the classroom
The center provides opportunities for Gateway instructors to use the lab for training to infuse “green” concepts into their curriculum. Students receive hands-on training and work with other students across disciplines, mirroring a real-world business setting where many skill sets are needed to work as a team to complete a project.
One example is a solar panel, which generates power for the building as well as provides a monitoring system for students to gather information and learn about the impact on the building’s energy load.
A second example is the urban gardens established on the grounds to allow Horticulture students the ability to put into practice the growing techniques they learn in the classroom. The garden is organic and its produce is sold locally with proceeds plowed back into the program, or provided to community partners who share the food with people in need.
K-12 teachers and students can use the center and grounds as a resource for environmental education, from reading under an apple tree for small children to providing high-schoolers the opportunity to see how solar energy systems work.
The center provides a resource to the community, a venue for discussing and learning sustainability skills for business – and life. It also provides a space for businesses or organizations to identify and engage in applicable sustainable business practices.
Seminars led by experts on a number of sustainability-related topics provide training to business and community members on practices including gardening, renewable energy, home energy systems, smart recycling and more.
For more information, please contact Stephanie Sklba, Vice President, Community and Government Relations, (262) 564-2662.
The center is available for use by community groups for meetings and events. For rates and availability contact, James Gray at (262) 564-2196.