Green Buildings Initiate a Homecoming and a Legacy

By schwartzsa | January 10, 2012

“Arcadia has always been a thread in my life,” says Niki Dienstman Weiss ’91. “I can’t believe I wasn’t more involved in Arcadia’s Alumni activities.” Recently returned to campus as part of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) event she helped to coordinate, Weiss realized just how many threads in her life lead straight back to Arcadia.

After graduation, Weiss hosted Arcadia’s American Language Association students in her home, she’s kept in touch with favorite former faculty members and her children attended Arcadia’s Early Childhood Learning Center from 1994-1996—she even supervised Art Therapy major and Samaritan Hospice intern Dana Zimmerman ’04. It simply never occurred to Weiss as a working mother of three, to reach out and actively engage in Arcadia’s Alumni network, that is, until this past fall.

As the Bucks-Montgomery Branch Programs and Outreach Chair of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), Weiss was looking for a venue to host the (DVGBC) meeting. She connected with Tom Macchi, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning, and secured the Beaver College Room for this important roundtable discussion.

Weiss, her fellow regional leaders, and members of the local community gathered in the Beaver College Room of Landman Library on Dec. 8 to discuss the challenges of green building financing and valuation, and the opportunities to overcome them. Among those in attendance were representatives from Brandywine Realty Trust, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the City of Philadelphia and the Econsult Corporation were including Sandy Wiggins, Chairman of e3bank, and Founding Chair of the DVGBC.

Delighted by the friendly staff, ample parking and comfort of the facilities, members of the DVGBC were even more stirred by the volume and scale of Arcadia’s green building initiatives, particularly Arcadia’s recent building projects. Both Easton Hall and the Commons were designed with conservation and sustainability as primary design components. One of the most heralded features of the Commons, set to open Jan. 23, is the system of 42 geothermal wells designed to increase efficiency. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning structure features an energy recovery system that captures and recycles energy.

Graduating with a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Studies, Weiss took on the role of a working mother while serving as the Supervisor of Complementary Therapies for Samaritan Hospice in Marlton, N.J. However, in 2007 Weiss decided to change careers and entered the Real Estate market right before its collapse. “It was the hardest and best learning experience of my life,” she says. “I’ve had to adapt and reinvent myself in the current business paradigm we find ourselves in.” She currently serves as the Senior Sales Manager for Multivista Documentation Technologies, a leader in construction industry. She is using her skills and experience in an industry she loves. “I feel like I landed after an economic and career changing whirlwind.”

A member of the class of 1991, Weiss was a decisive leader. She completed a semester in Vienna, a summer term in Germany and was an Intern for the College of Global Studies Dublin office. She also was the President of International Club and an active member of the Student Government Organization and worked as a student worker for Center for Education Aboard for two years.

After reconnecting with Arcadia, it was natural for Weiss to attend the Alumni Leadership Summit, part of the 2011 Alumni Homecoming at Fall Fest. She joined more than 80 fellow alumni as well as President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III in identifying ways to engage alumni leadership and build vigor for the future. “[The ideas that we generated] could be quite impactful,” she says. “And hopefully in the future it will mean no more lost alums like me.”

Now the same threads that led Weiss back to Arcadia are inspiring her children to continue her legacy. Look for Weiss’s son, Mac, as he joins the Arcadia community as a first-year student and member of Arcadia’s new NCAA Division III Lacrosse team.