During the spring 2019 semester, students in the EDP 404: Environmental Design Project class worked with the Faculty Student Association (FSA) as their client to reimagine the plaza outside Shop Red West.
With the renovation of the Stony Brook Union, the construction of Tubman and Chavez residence halls and East Side Dining, this area has seen an influx of new activity and attention. It will be one of the first spaces that prospective students experience when they visit campus.
“Our class has worked hard this semester to rethink the function and aesthetics of this space, which now serves very different needs than it did when it was originally designed,” stated Assistant Professor Donovan Finn, Sustainability Studies Program, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS).
Students in the class conducted surveys to find out what students want most in this new campus hub. Their ideas included academic, social and cultural development for the space.
On May 9, students presented their designs outlining their ideas for this “new heart of campus” outside Shop Red West (ground floor of the Melville Library facing the Stony Brook Union). Common themes reflected in their presentations included making the area a community space with outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater, art installations, preserving the trees at the site as well as adding more lush greenery. Many students suggested adding more food trucks to Toll Drive.
All students agreed that revitalizing the space to befit a modern-day campus will help foster the academic, social and cultural development of Stony Brook University. “It is important that we make the area as inviting and lively as the rest of the campus,” said Lindsey Hughes ‘19, Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning major.
Some unique and sustainable ideas included permeable pavements on Toll Drive to solve flooding issues and give a pop of color on rainy days, as well as adding rain gardens as an environmentally sound way to address stormwater runoff and enhance the visual appeal of the areas walkways.
“I look forward to continue working with Stony Brook students to incorporate these ideas and develop a ‘Wolfie Plaza’ that is a vibrant central gathering space that will inspire students to use it for performances, eating, studying, socializing and learning,” stated Amanda Alicea, FSA Business Manager.