When construction is completed in spring 2022, the new Science Center will offer a variety of necessary accommodations for students, including modern equipment and newly designed lab spaces. Included in the unveiling will be an innovative, interdisciplinary sanctuary, The Frost Center for the Environment, which is designed to promote discussion on vital issues regarding the environment and sustainability.
“This is a super exciting project for Wellesley! This campus needs to seriously evaluate its efforts in promoting sustainability in the world, and this is a huge step in the right direction,” said Chantal Valdivia ’22, an intern for the office of sustainability at Wellesley.
The new center for the environment was first proposed at the end of the last academic year following a brainstorming meeting attended by students, staff and faculty. According to environmental science professor and faculty leader of the project Erich Matthes, the purpose of the space is to cultivate “a diverse, innovative and collaborative community across the liberal arts, galvanizing generations of Wellesley students to be the teachers, researchers, activists and storytellers who will shape a more just environmental future.” Additionally, the hope is for the center to serve as a hub for environmental groups on campus to come together.
Matthes explained that the idea for the project originated at the end of last academic year and that a “kickoff meeting” was held this Sept. to brainstorm, with 30 students, staff and faculty in attendance. However, the idea itself has been floating around for many years following a donation to the environmental studies department from Camilla Chandler Frost ’47, after whom the center is named.
According to Matthes, the center will occupy space in the Science Center that will house the environmental science faculty, any faculty doing research on the environment and a space for students and staff to hang out. The space will also offer special programs that allow for students and community members to engage in discussions related to the environment, such as a book discussion that is slated for next fall.
Additionally, Matthes described a “practitioner-fellows” program the center is hoping to host which would allow specialists in different fields of the environment — such as journalists, farmers and researchers — to visit Wellesley for short periods of time in order to teach specialized classes and do research. The goal is for students to provide input over whom they want to visit. However, Matthes stresses that this likely won’t be implemented until fall 2021.
“I am thrilled about the creation of the Frost Center,” Matthes said. “Environmental issues have never been more pressing, and the Frost Center will be a home where our whole community can come together to learn, explore, grapple with our past and plan for the future.”