Kennedy Union Rooftop Garden Project Set To Launch

Rooftop garden after installation. Taken on Sept. 11 (Photo Courtesy Roberto De La Rosa-Finch)

Kaitlin Gawkins
Assistant Online Editor

Thought the transformation of Kennedy Union was over once and for all? Think again. In August, students from the fields of political science, geology, engineering and computer science, led by the Hanley Sustainability Institute, embarked on a new project to improve the beloved center of our campus: the KU rooftop garden project.

Since its inception in 2014, the Hanley Sustainability Institute has been a point of pride for the University of Dayton. With a $12.5 million gift from their foundation, George Hanley ’77 and Amanda Hanley established the Institute, challenging the University to become a national leader for innovation in sustainability education, and UD has answered the call.

Over the past three years, the Institute has played a large role in increasing sustainability interest among students, faculty, and staff. It has not only awarded faculty scholarship grants totaling $380,000 to teams from multiple departments for projects focused on sustainability, but also sponsored multiple sustainability-related conferences and programs.

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True to its history, the Hanley Sustainability Institute is continuing its commitment to promoting campus sustainability solutions. The new rooftop garden will work to provide widely accessible sustainability education, improve aesthetics, lower energy usage/costs, and send cleaner water into storm sewers.

Projected layout for KU rooftop garden

The project includes 40 students thus far, but includes plans to expand in the future. The installation of sensors on the roof was completed by a small group of students in August to monitor how the temperature changes affect energy costs for the building, and the installation of seven pods of sedam, succulent plants will begin this week.

The rooftop garden project will not significantly affect availability for events, and lunchtime seating will still be available for students, faculty and staff.

For more information, visit the Hanley Sustainability Institute’s page on the University of Dayton website.

Photos courtesy of Roberta De la Rosa-Finch and

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