College Student Takes Campus Environmental Issues Into Own Hands

A construction management senior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah has channeled his passion for the outdoors into teaching others about making buildings more environmentally friendly.

Dave Robinaugh, from Grand Rapids, Mich., discovered an interest in green building and sustainable construction in one of his first classes.

After looking into the subject matter more, he realized there weren't many resources on campus for students to learn about sustainability. As a result, Robinaugh decided to start the Sustainable Build and Design Club more than a year ago.

"The idea of the club is to help people realize that what they do has an impact on the world around them and that everyone in their specific area can make a difference," Robinaugh said. "To me, it's just about building responsibly. I think for so long the majority of my industry has built in a manner that was irresponsible and people have demanded buildings that didn't show respect for the world around them, the people around them or the creations of God."

As part of the club, Robinaugh and other club presidency members help prepare students to take an exam on the Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. This national test serves as a report card to show how green a building is.

The team takes four Saturdays a semester to help prepare for the test and takes students on a tour of a green-friendly building to help solidify the principles they have been learning.

"He's a born teacher," said Kevin Miller, one of Robinaugh's construction management professors. "He never makes the person feel uncomfortable. He's equal with everybody no matter what level he's at and is able to help them and lift them up."

Robinaugh enjoys the opportunity to teach other students.

"I think that's the most rewarding part," Robinaugh said. "I know that we've all enjoyed that very much and that's certainly been one of the greatest things for me to feel like I'm really assisting the other students in the program."

The program has been gaining popularity.  At the beginning of the year, only two students were accredited in LEED, but there are now 16. Another dozen students are expected to take the test at the end of the semester.

In addition to being president of the Sustainable Build and Design Club, Robinaugh was captain of a team that took second place at the Associated Schools of Construction national competition in the LEED category in February. At the competition, the team played the role of LEED consultants.

"It was really rewarding," said Jeremy Kuhre, a senior from South Lake, Texas, who was part of the team. "We all decided that it was the first thing of real merit we had ever done."

After graduating, Robinaugh will go to work in energy services in Seattle, putting into action the principles he has been focusing on.

Whenever things get difficult for Robinaugh with all that he is involved in, his wife Tiffany helps him to keep going.

"She has been beyond patient and always supportive when it comes to the extra time I have put in for the club and the other things I have been involved with," Robinaugh said. "It is sometimes difficult to stay motivated and she certainly helped with that through the last few years."

This story was filed by UWIRE, which offers reporting from more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide. Read more at