Kinigi is a location in the northwest of Rwanda near the Virunga volcanoes. The newly constructed "Ellen DeGeneres Campus" is located adjacent to the national park and serves to increase conservation and research on mountain gorillas:
The "Sandy and Harold Price Research Center" is a modern facility to promote scientific fields such as gorilla genetics, physiology and paleontology. It provides ample laboratory space and fosters collaboration among scientists and students. In addition to its mission to provide for increased knowledge and understanding in species and conservation, it also serves to train the next generation of African conservationists.
The “Rob and Melani Walton Education Center” serves to educate everyone from university students to school children to local people. It houses classrooms, a science library, and a computer lab. These facilities expand the teaching opportunities of local and international universities. Conferences, seminars and training courses are also possible here.
The "Cindy Broder Conservation Gallery" shows the history of mountain gorilla research and conservation from the time of Dian Fossey until today. It serves as the main point of contact for tourists from all over the world.
Educational trails allow visitors to enjoy the biodiversity on campus, expand their knowledge, get closer to the gorillas' habitat, and learn about reforestation efforts. At the same time, the campus is also a living laboratory; more than 250,000 native plants have been planted for this purpose. There are seating areas, a café and a souvenir store.
The design of the campus corresponds to the social and ecological responsibility of the institution. Emphasis in the design was placed on maximizing the impact of passive systems, including thermal mass, natural ventilation and supply of daylight, and the lowest possible energy consumption. Construction was done with local, natural building materials, supporting the local economy and respecting the unique ecosystem of the region.