Conservation has been a theme for senior architecture major Leslie Adriance.

You can see it in the Paw Paw, Michigan, native’s decision to spend her first year of college close to home to save money, even after being accepted into Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning.

More recently, you can see it in her passion to learn and educate others about the carbon footprint of buildings, pursuits that earned her a prestigious Udall Scholarship and a week with peers and professionals in Arizona this month.

“I am really excited to talk about how architecture impacts the environment,” Adriance said. “Not just energy that goes into the actual construction of a project but in looking at the usage and consumption, too. I’m really interested in creating ways of reducing the carbon footprint of buildings throughout the life of the structure.”

Barb Stedman, honors fellow and director of national and international scholarships, approached Adriance about applying for the scholarship program.

A $7,000 scholarship, trip to Arizona

Adriance’s work ethic and passion for the subject was more than enough to win over the panel of experts at the Udall Foundation, an organization dedicated to Native American and environmental research that selected Adriance as one of its 60 scholars this year.

She’ll network with other current and past winners and professionals in Tucson from Tuesday through Aug. 14 and learn more about the program, which honors young people for their public service and leadership, plus their commitment to environmental or American Indian issues. She also nets a $7,000 scholarship.

The program is part of the Udall Foundation, which honors brothers and former U.S. Reps. Morris and Stewart Udall. During their service in Congress, and Stewart Udall’s years as interior secretary, they supported the environment and Native Americans.

Bob Koester, professor of architecture and director of the Center for Energy Research/Education/Service at Ball State, said Adriance’s commitment to the environment extends well beyond coursework and projects she’s worked on.

Leslie Adriance, a senior architecture major, sits on a concrete ledge near Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning.“Leslie has a unique ability to inspire and attract the investment of time and interest by her student colleagues in these larger issues,” Koester said, adding there’s a particular interest in educating others that is coupled with Adriance’s talent and skill as a burgeoning practitioner.

“She’s played a key role in Ball State’s Emerging Green Builders chapter — the student arm of the U.S. Green Building Council — by successfully broadening the membership base among students at every level. She’s staged educational events, fostering exchanges with experts and cultivating dialogue among students, faculty and staff. And that has contributed substantially to the extracurricular experience of hundreds of students in the College of Architecture and Planning.”

Driven to educate, learn

That drive to educate is matched by a passion to further understand her chosen profession, said Andrea Swartz, interim chairperson of the Department of Architecture and professor of architecture.

“Leslie is a passionate learner. She’s taken a strong interest in the natural environment, learning about the critical role of designers of the built environment and what steps must be taken now to diminish negative impacts of buildings while enhancing the ways design can actually benefit the planet.

“Leslie’s dedication to the environment is a model for all of us,” she said.

That dedication not only pertains to what can be achieved in the here and now, Adriance said, but also involves helping define a new standard for the future.

“I wonder, what world will my children and grandchildren face?” she said. “It can be overwhelming. But if there’s a question of, ‘Is it even worth it?’ I think about that and know we have a responsibility. The question then becomes, ‘What can I do?’”