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Keep the Center for Environmental Studies in the UEL

To the Editor:

As a recent graduate and environmental science concentrator, I was shocked to learn that the University plans to destroy the building that housed my department, the Urban Environmental Lab, to make way for the Mind, Brain and Behavior building.

In a century in which "carbon" has become part of our every day vocabulary, the Center for Environmental Studies at Brown deserves to stand alone in its own building.

The UEL is one of the only spaces of its kind remaining on campus. It's old, it's quirky and it's certainly not perfect, which is precisely why it is so important to preserve. The atmosphere within the UEL fostered an environment of intellectual discussion where I knew my professors by their first names. It was this atmosphere that represented all that made my Brown experience both worthwhile and enjoyable, and its destruction represents a short-sighted and, dare I say, stupid decision on the part of the University. The 100-year-old refurbished carriage house not only has passive solar design, a greenhouse and a kitchen, but an environment that facilitates the exchange of ideas and grassroots activism that represents CES and the larger Brown community. I hear that spaces such as the UEL are slated for destruction because they do not represent efficient uses of space in terms of quantitative measurements. However, is it truly efficient to confine students to spaces that inhibit creativity and stifle discussion?

Laura Genello '07Nov. 1


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