Students build sustainable charging stations for university; Kent Wired; April 30, 2019

By Samantha Farland, The Kent Stater

A new eco-friendly charging pavilion station will be placed by Campus Center Drive near the Schwartz center before May 10.

This 10-foot tall structure will be the third charging station for phones and laptops on campus. Each USB port is powered by two solar panels on the roof of the structure. It will be next to a walking trail that goes around the ponds.

Seven students are currently enrolled in the Build Workshop, a class that allows students to design and construct a project in a span of a semester.

The university was looking into buying some picnic benches for the campus that have charging capabilities, but these were too costly, University Architect Michael Bruder said.

To avoid high costs, students were asked to design and construct the structures instead.

The students worked to design and build the new charging pavilion stations, as well as the two current on-campus stations, throughout their course work.

The first charging station on campus was created by students in spring 2017. The station was located at a wooden bus stop near the Architecture Building on South Lincoln Street, but no longer serves as a charging station due to vandalism.

“On the first one, the students were really focused on the design and geometry of the seat… we had them (USBs) secured but obviously not well enough,” Associate Professor Gregory Stroh said.

The vandalism posed as a learning experience for the next year’s project.

“We learned two things from the vandalism: how to make the hubs visible, yet protected,” Stroh said.

The second charging station was completed in spring 2018 and sits in front of the honors dorms and across from Bowman Hall. This station has a secured plastic face plate on the USB ports.

A grant funds the materials for the stations and Associate Professor Gregory Stroh oversees the project.

“We thought it would be a great learning opportunity for some of our design students,” Bruder said.

The class provides students with a hands-on learning experience that is unique to other classes offered in the architecture program.

“It has definitely given us a really big insight on the real-world experience of practice versus the studio side of architecture,” graduate architecture student Christopher Brown said.

The class initially conducted research from example projects, and then spent a few weeks where each student created designs. The class reviewed them together and collected key attributes for the final project.

The build workshop focuses on teaching students how to work with a project team on a specific goal. Students work with fabricators and engineers to get shop drawings for the project to be constructed, Brown said.

“The class may eventually evolve to build pavilions in other areas of campus in order to work with some other departments,” Stroh said.

Samantha Farland is the construction reporter. Contact her at

POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 12:00 AM
Updated: Monday, November 4, 2019 02:23 PM