Skip to content

Returning Students Greeted by Campus Improvements

Note: A photograph of the Jade Parlor that originally ran with this story has been removed as work on the space is ongoing. Renovations are expected to continue through the fall and will honor the history of the space.

While Vassar’s students were away from campus, the College seized the opportunity to make some upgrades and improvements that will make their lives safer and easier now that they’ve returned.

Conversion to LED lighting will greatly reduce energy costs—and the College’s carbon footprint.

Crews from Facilities and Operations substantially improved the ventilation systems in many buildings throughout the campus, installed more than 5,000 LED light fixtures, refurbished two classrooms in Blodgett Hall and the Gold Parlor and Jade Parlor in Main, and installed a new elevator in the College Center. In addition, the installation of two electric car charging stations with four charging ports was completed, and the College ramped up its recycling program. The new elevator replaces one that was 44 years old. 

Bryan Swarthout, Vassar’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, said the campus-wide upgrades reflected the College’s ongoing commitment to making facility renewal a priority. “All of us—students, employees, and visitors (when they're allowed)—spend a lot of time in the buildings on campus,” Swarthout said. “The renewal work we do in the residences over the summer, and the parlors and classrooms this winter, help make Vassar a place where people want to be, and enjoy being. Additionally, as we renew these spaces, we improve the insulation and make energy efficiency upgrades which, like the lighting project, help us make progress toward our goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Ventilation systems were upgraded in the following buildings: Rockefeller Hall, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, Skinner Hall, Blodgett Hall, Kenyon Hall, Ingram Library, Sanders Physics, Sanders Classroom, Taylor Hall, Thompson Library, Swift Hall, Ely Hall, Chicago Hall, New England, the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, Olmsted Hall, and Powerhouse Theater.

Director of Sustainability Micah Kenfield said the new LED fixtures that were installed this winter will reduce the College’s energy consumption by nearly 250,000 kilowatt hours a year. Ultimately, the full conversion of the College’s lighting to LEDs will decrease Vassar’s electricity use by more than 10 percent, Kenfield said.

He also shared that 300 new trash and recycling bins had been purchased over the break as the first step towards a comprehensive waste management plan. These bins, along with new signs explaining their use, would be distributed throughout the campus, before the end of February. “Reducing contamination of our recycling is one of the most important steps to decreasing Vassar’s environmental footprint. Standardizing bins and signage across campus is an important step in moving towards zero-waste campus-wide.”

Director of Sustainability Micah Kenfield arranged for the installation of new EV chargers on campus.

Kenfield said the work done over Winter Break would reduce Vassar’s total environmental footprint substantially, “with even more ambitious work still on the horizon over the next 18 months.”