- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

May 10, 2013

Laying green groundwork

SLIPPERY ROCK — Award-winning green architect and Slippery Rock University graduate Robert Kobet returned to his alma mater Thursday to share his success stories and help lay the same groundwork for SRU.

"If you get something started, hang on," he told a small crowd of his best advice - not to give up.

Kobet, a 1993 SRU graduate, appeared as part of the school's "Earth Days 2013" program and spoke on "Changing Cultures and Communities Through Integrated Sustainability Education."

He is chief executive officer of Kobet Collaborative, an architecture consulting firm in Pittsburgh. He has worked in 12 countries on five continents creating innovative places to live, work and learn.

He created the design and construction plan for SRU's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research as his master's degree thesis for his degree in sustainable systems.

He was the project's original architect of record, taught in SRU's MS3 program and wrote the curriculum for its build environmental track. His work earned him the first Three Rivers Award for Environmental Education in 1997.

Kobet on Thursday showed photos of an elementary school system in Beijing, China, located on the former site of the Olympic Village where the athletes stayed during the 2008 summer games.

"They took what we take for granted - stormwater management - and they did art," he said of one photo that showed pipes reconfigured into an artistic design.

Kids in other countries, like those Beijing students, know at a young age about sustainable projects like plant-based water treatment systems.

"Those kids enjoy going to school," Kobet said, comparing them to U.S. students.

Many jobs are being and will be replaced by "green" jobs, so kids need to be prepared for that kind of future as soon as possible, he said.

"This isn't cutting-edge stuff anymore," he said.

Kobet spoke on the late architect Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee, who achieved his goal to provide dignified housing for poor folks in the south, where he grew up. Those homes came with a catch - the families had to pay it forward and help the next family build their home.

"Samuel Mockbee as an educator had a green heart. He's one of my heroes," he said.

Kobet highlighted one of his firm's projects in West Palm Beach, Fla. -- the Pine Jog Elementary School, which is run in a unique partnership with the adjacent Pine Jog Environmental Education Center and Florida Atlantic University.

"We had a world of people thinking differently," he said.

The best part is the curriculum because the lessons are so hands-on, Kobet said. The students maintain gardens and the property is shared with a gopher tortoise preserve they help protect, making it "nature's classroom."

"Look at those kids. They're having so much fun," he said of a few photos of students tending fruits and vegetables.

And school gardens are now mandatory in that school district, the Palm Beach County School District, he said.

SRU needs to continue to develop more "green" curriculum and look beyond the campus, using Pine Jog as an example.

"Right across the street we have a high school and a middle school," Kobet said of the Slippery Rock Area School District.

And keep in mind the late Macoskey's global vision for SRU; the university needs to lead the initiative to form partnerships to benefit people all over the world.

"Just imagine what we could do," he said.

Kobet was also named Pittburgh's Green Champion in 2005 by the Green Building Alliance and received the Governor's Energy Award in 2000.

Visit for more information.

Published April 27, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

Text Only
Local News
  • live united fire merkel.jpg Local live United

    The Grove City Area United Way is kicking off a summer campaign that features locals who are examples of how to "Live United."

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • gina burger-file.jpg Police: 'Cool customer' arrested in girl's murder

    An Ohio man charged in the murder of Gina Marie Burger, 16 - whose body was found at Tri-County Industries waste transfer station in Pine Township June 25 - stuffed her body in a playpen bag and carried it past her mother before disposing of the remains in the trash, police said.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Public questions Rock band director's position

    Slippery Rock school board members on Monday heard from several people who were concerned about the marching band director's position, which has been opened up for anyone to apply.

    July 11, 2014

  • Budget includes tax hike for new teachers

    Property taxes in the Slippery Rock Area School District are going up by 3.62 mills for the 2014-15 school year to cover the cost of hiring four new teachers.

    July 11, 2014

  • Twp. running out of capacity

    Springfield Township is running out of wastewater capacity.

    July 11, 2014

  • cat with owner.jpg Mobile cat clinic curbs overpopulation

    For the sixth year in a row, Grove City Area Pet Rescue has teamed up with Animal Friends of Pittsburgh to offer a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats through a mobile unit set up in Plain Grove Township.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • rock fairy read bloom fair.jpg The Rock blooms under judges' eyes

    America in Bloom judges Katy Moss Warner and Barbara Vincentsen liked what they saw in the Slippery Rock area, where they spent three days evaluating a year's worth of work done by Slippery Rock in Bloom members and volunteers.

    July 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boomtown hears young voices

    Students from the Mercer Area School District were among the 20 participants at the June 17 Mercer Boomtown meeting held at the Mercer County Career Center.

    July 3, 2014

  • Rock trash talk touches on billing, BigBelly

    Slippery Rock council members are still working through a number of garbage-related issues, including a detailed revision of the solid waste ordinance and a proposal to bring solar-powered trash compactors to the borough.

    July 3, 2014

  • ali shawn miller prelim.jpg GC area child assault case heads to county court

    The Grove City-area man accused of grabbing a young boy in the bathroom of the Pine Township Walmart will have his case heard in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide