Concept of progress

Today is Sunday, December 2nd. This marks the beginning of the last week of classes for the semester. It also marks the beginning of the last week of the green roof project for 2012. Obviously, there are mixed emotions about this, but I feel like they largely stem from the fact that at this point we haven’t completed quite as much of the green roof as we assumed we would. As of this week, not all of the modules have been planted. Considering the nature of a “green roof” project, this feels slightly problematic to the overall success of the project, and there may have been some slight frustration about this last week.

However, we can’t forget that we actually have accomplished so much of a flagship project, and this accomplishment is worth our attention. We propagated plants, set up roof protection tiles, built modules, began planting, and installed irrigation all within the limitations of trying to match everyone’s changing weekly schedules. We all learned a significant amount about the process of building a green roof and about how different disciplines of study come together to complete such a project. We even had fun.

And if that isn’t worth it, we might finish our planting in the next two weeks – in enough time to call the project “finished” and “a success”.

On a more philosophical note, the fact that we aren’t quite done with what we had planned to complete during this semester alludes to a larger concept of progress. Once we finish planting, the green roof project still cannot be considered “finished”. The green roof is never “over”. The plants will still require attention; the irrigation system will still need to be monitored and manipulated; the roof will still need to be visited in order to be beneficial to the education of students. Data will be collected and analyzed; the source of that data will need to be protected and prolonged over time. The green roof project will not end. The need for the green roof project in education will not end. The need for the green roof concept in development will not end. The need for people with experience like we have gained by taking part in this project will not go away.

For these reasons, I am thankful. It makes me enthusiastic about continuing to work on the project and on future projects that are similar to it. I hope that students and faculty share this sentiment and will pass it on to those involved with the project in the future.





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