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Spotlight Stories in Institution

Electric vehicle charging stations now available at Nittany Deck
More and more electric vehicles are hitting roadways across the country, and now there’s a place for them to park and plug on Penn State's University Park campus.
Energy Days conference to build partnerships, solve critical energy challenges
The third annual Energy Days conference will be held this year on May 30 and 31 at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.
From farm to dining commons: Penn State a leader in locally sourced food
Penn State students go through more than 132,000 gallons of fresh milk from University Park’s much-beloved Berkey Creamery every year, but that’s not the only campus to enjoy fresh milk from a local source.
Films, forums, and festivals: A guide to Penn State's 2018 Earth Day(s)
Earth Day will be internationally recognized on April 22, but at Penn State, Earth Day(s) will be celebrated throughout the month of April. Students, faculty, staff and members of the community are invited to attend the events.
Battery recycling program to undergo collection process change
Penn State announced a new collection process for batteries used for University-related business. For safety reasons, rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries can no longer be collected together in the current bucket collection system.
Holiday office shutdown checklist
Click the image for a printable version.
Holiday heat reduction program to begin end of day on Dec. 21
Penn State is again pursuing the reduction of energy use over the Holiday Break in accordance with Administrative Policy AD64.
Penn State’s bike share program meets with quick success
Penn State’s new Zagster bike-share program, launched only a month ago, has already climbed to number one in the nation among Zagster programs for average trips per bike per day.
Making sustainable change: Penn Staters invited to join EcoChallenge
The Sustainability Institute announced Penn State’s participation in the 2017 EcoChallenge. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in the challenge by changing one or more personal habits over the course of two weeks, from Oct. 11–25.
Penn State encourages fans to participate in football game day recycling efforts
Penn State is encouraging all football fans to be environmentally responsible and participate in the University’s recycling and sustainability initiatives by separating recyclable items before, during and after every game.
Transportation Services and Zagster to bring bike share to University Park
Penn State Transportation Services and Zagster, Inc. have announced the launch of a new bike-share program that will provide Penn State students, faculty, staff and visitors with a convenient, affordable and healthy way to get around campus.
Researchers working with sports venues to make them 'greener,' sustainable
Ecosystem and bioproduct researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are working with professional sports franchises to make their venues "greener" and reduce the environmental impact of their events.
Penn State test reduces demand on the regional electrical grid by 40 percent
Penn State’s annual test of University Park’s ability to reduce its demand on the regional electrical grid was once again a success with an impressive 40 percent reduction on June 22. Between 4 and 5 p.m., Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant worked behind the scenes remotely to power down as many pumps, fans, compressors and lights as possible, while University employees and students were encouraged to shut off their lights and office equipment. Central electricity metering during the test hour averaged 23.7 megawatts (compared to its peak usage of 39.7 that day).
40 years ago at Penn State: June 30, 1977 -- Energy crisis brings change
Periodically, Penn State will take a look back at news appearing in the Intercom, the University's faculty and staff newspaper, which has now transitioned into Penn State Today. This week's excerpt looks back at a University announcement at a time when the United States was in the midst of an energy crisis.
Penn State backs open letter to support Paris climate agreement
Penn State has signed an open letter to the international community that affirms the University’s support for efforts to follow through with targets outlined in the Paris Agreement to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
Shrivastava named top sustainability officer, Sustainability Institute director
Paul Shrivastava, recently the executive director of Future Earth, a global environmental change research program, as well as a prominent researcher in the fields of sustainability, risk and crisis management, has been named the university’s chief sustainability officer and director of Penn State
Penn State celebrating Earth Day(s) with events throughout April
Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, but Penn State will celebrate Earth Day(s) with a variety of events for students, faculty, staff and the community from April 9-22, 2017. Activities are scheduled across the Commonwealth at many of Penn State's campuses, from Berks to University Park to Shenango. Join in the conversation on social media using #PSUEarthDays and visit the Earth Day(s) website to see how you can get involved.
University community encouraged to participate in Strategic Plan forums
As the University implements its long-range strategic plan that provides a vision for Penn State’s future, a series of public forums will take place to gather ideas on putting the plan into action. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in those forums, starting with “Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources” on Jan. 23.
Sustainability Institute offering student internships beginning spring 2017
New, part-time internships are available through Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. There are multiple paid and for-credit internship opportunities currently available for undergraduate and graduate students. The Sustainability Institute, founded in 2012, integrates sustainability into the University’s research, teaching, outreach and operations to prepare students, faculty and staff to be sustainability leaders. The Institute executes and oversees initiatives such as the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, the Student Farm, Green Paws and Green Teams programs, educational initiatives and public events.
Penn State named silver Bicycle Friendly University
The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Penn State's University Park campus with a silver Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award. With this designation, Penn State is one of more than 150 bicycle-friendly colleges and universities across the country.
Pre-Thanksgiving shutdown checklist
With students and faculty off for Thanksgiving week and employees off the Friday after, the University is urging everyone to check off a quick energy list before checking out of their offices and residence halls.
The HUB's green roof
A gift from the Class of 2014 and constructed as part of the HUB-Robeson Center addition and renovation project, the HUB green roof opened in summer 2016 as a space for Penn Staters to relax and enjoy nature from the center of campus.
University Libraries’ Annex reaps benefits of Green Paws Program
The University Libraries’ Annex at Cato Park, one of Penn State’s dedicated contributors to sustainability, has joined the ranks of units working towards completing the fourth and final level of the Green Paws Program.
'The Importance of the Unimportant' to open in Robeson Gallery
Henry Klimowicz’s sculptures do not leave the viewer with any questions about what material he uses to make each piece. Collected from multiple grocery stores, hardware stores, and shipments from other artists, Klimowicz gives new life to ordinary single-ply cardboard. He makes no effort to hide or disguise the material’s past as small tears, box creases, and even printed product letters are visible on his sculptures. “It isn’t the material that gives something to the viewer,” Klimowicz said, “it is what I put into it — my vision creates whatever image the viewer takes away from the
Smeal College of Business presents 2016 Staff Sustainability Award
Christine Novinskie Olbrich, administrative support coordinator and the leader of the Smeal College of Business's Green Team, was selected as the winner of the 2016 Staff Sustainability Award. Christine's leadership of the Green Team featured five events that reached over 70 people. She approaches her work as a servant leader and has proven to be very dependable, creative, hard-working and a real self-starter.
Fall Bike-to-Work Day celebrates and encourages sustainable commuting
Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and Transportation Services are collaborating with the community organization CentreBike to encourage Penn Staters to cycle to work on Thursday, September 8th to celebrate our designation at a Bicycle Friendly Community and Penn State's status as a Bicycle Fr
June 23 electrical load test plays crucial role in preventing blackouts
 From 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 23, Penn State will again test University Park’s capability to reduce its electricity load when called upon during national or regional power emergencies.
Penn State to celebrate Earth Week April 18-22
Earth Day is April 22, but Penn State will start celebrating with a variety of events for students, faculty/staff and the community on April 18 for Earth Week.
Plant science major helps create sustainable takeout containers
With the help of Keirstan Kure, Penn State Food Services created the Green2Go container, a reusable takeout box that replaces the need for Styrofoam cartons in campus dining halls.
Free screening of climate change documentary “This Changes Everything” on Feb. 3 & 4
On Feb. 3rd and 4th, there will be free screenings of This Changes Everything from 7-9:30 p.m. held at the State Theatre. Cosponsors of the event include Penn State's Sustainability Institute, Center for Global Studies, Sierra Club Moshannon, Rock Ethics Institute and the Center for Democratic Deliberation. The documentary is based on the book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein. Klein is the author of global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo.
HUB audit reveals that most of our trash isn’t really trash
“Is this really trash?” This was the question posed by the HUB Green Team at a recent event held at the HUB-Robeson Center’s food court. With the help from Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the HUB Green Team collected 32 bags of trash from the food court area during peak lunch hours. The intent was to determine how much of the waste in the trash bins could be recycled or composted and to where to make improvements in the waste management set up.
Holiday heat reduction program to start Dec. 24
Again this year, Penn State is aggressively pursuing the reduction of energy use over the Holiday Break in accordance with Administrative Policy AD64. Faculty and staff may use buildings over the holiday break, but indoor temperatures can be expected to be at 50°F and ventilation systems will be off between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3.
Faculty invited to discover resources on Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability
Penn State’s new Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability makes it easier than ever for faculty to discover, implement and share sustainability curriculum.
Initiative seeks to put Penn State at forefront of energy security, independence
Penn State is poised to solidify its role as a cutting-edge leader among universities in driving the world’s conversation about the future of energy, President Eric Barron told the University’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 20.
University adopts integrated pest management plan for University Park buildings
Four hundred sixteen calls for mice; 325 for skunks; 175 for American cockroaches; 164 for ants. These are just some of the pest complaints made by Penn State employees during the 2014 calendar year at the University Park campus. 
Green Team volunteers sort out a way to make sustainability fun
This fall the University Libraries’ Green Team, the Green Committee, hosted an inspired and popular game as part of the Libraries’ Open House activities: a recycling sorting station.
Students help install new solar array for OPP vehicles to operate at zero fuel cost
In 2014, Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant (OPP) was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Sustainability Institute’s Reinvention Fund to purchase new 100 percent electric vehicles and build a solar array on campus to power them. At the time, OPP had four vehicles dedicated for staff use in the University Park vicinity. The vehicles ranged from an SUV to smart cars, and averaged less than 22 mpg. In October, OPP staff, technicians and student volunteers installed the solar array on campus by the Laundry Building to allow OPP to immediately reduce environmental impact without depending on the relatively “dirty” local power grid.
Penn State revamps water system
Water. It’s something people use without thinking about. Turn on a tap and it flows out a faucet. Pull out a plug and it goes down the drain. But for Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, water, and it’s constant companion, wastewater, is something that requires a lot of planning.
New tools make it easier to step through Green Paws Program
Over 2,000 Penn Staters from 13 campuses are integrating sustainability into their offices through Penn State’s Green Paws Program, one step at a time.
Pre-packaged doubt: A problem for action on climate change
The Sustainability Institute will co-host a screening of “Merchants of Doubt” at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the State Theatre. The screening will be followed by a moderated panel discussion, which will conclude at 9:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Campus Catering turns to composting to eliminate table trash
When Michael Edmondson started working at Campus Catering eight years ago, there was little recycling infrastructure in place and almost no composting to speak of.
Penn State recognized as a Sierra Club “Cool School” for sustainability efforts
The Sierra Club recently released its annual “Cool Schools” ranking, which rates participating four-year, degree-granting undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States on the basis of their campus sustainability practices.
Penn State uses digital building automation systems to boost sustainability
Michael Prinkey, an energy program engineer in the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), has one overarching piece of advice for operating Penn State’s sophisticated suite of building automation systems: Do not melt the ice cream at the Berkey Creamery.  
Boxes of carpet and carpet tiles to recycle.
Smarter Carpet Initiative improves recycling at Penn State
With an estimated 480 acres of carpet covering Penn State’s 24 campuses, the Smarter Carpet Initiative provides a valuable service: keeping old carpet out of landfills through cost-effective recycling efforts.
Penn State cuts energy use by nearly a third during energy test
Penn State University Park reduced its electricity consumption by an impressive 31 percent during the annual test of its load reduction capability on June 25. Between 4 and 5 p.m., Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant worked behind the scenes remotely to power down as many pumps, fans, compressors and lights as possible. University employees and students were encouraged to shut off their lights and office equipment. Central electricity metering during the test hour averaged 22 megawatts (compared to the peak usage of 32MW that day).
Penn State cuts energy use by nearly a third during energy test
Penn State University Park reduced its electricity consumption by an impressive 31 percent during the annual test of its load reduction capability on June 25.
Electrical load test scheduled for June 25
On Thursday (June 25) from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Penn State will again test University Park’s capability to reduce its electricity load when called upon during national or regional power emergencies.
COMMunity Green Team holds first successful freeshop
On March 26 and 27, the College of Communications Green Team (COMMunity GT) hosted their first ‘freeshop.’ The freeshop was set up similar to a yard sale around the lobby of Carnegie building. Four folding tables held a variety of lightly used goods ranging from books and CDs to kitchenwares and seasonal decorations. Throughout the two days of the event, everyone was welcome to come in and take whatever items they wanted, providing the previously abandoned goods with a new use.
Penn State strategic plan continues to take shape
As work continues on Penn State’s new strategic plan, Nicholas Jones, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost, has been sharing some of its key points with the University community.
University adds repair stations to encourage more to bike across campus
In an effort to improve its position as a bike friendly campus, Penn State has installed several Fix-It stations around the UP campus. Each station has a basic set of tools, a repair stand and an air pump.
Schreyer Scholar Evanitsky studies past with hopes of preserving the future
Research project on Eastern mountain lion uses ancient DNA sample from 'Original Nittany Lion'
Sustainability at Penn State a priority in teaching, research and operations
Earth Week 2015 (April 20-24) marked Penn State's 45th annual observance of Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of support for the protection of the environment.
Water Symposium to make a splash in the HUB this Earth Day
Research and art representing a diverse array of colleges and disciplines at Penn State will flood the HUB for the first-ever Water Symposium this Earth Day, April 22. 
The Nile Project brings East African music, cooperation to Eisenhower April 23
The Nile Project, which uses music to raise awareness of the cultural and environmental challenges along Africa’s mighty river, comes to Penn State for a residency the week of April 20. The highlight of the visit is a concert by musicians from 11 countries at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in Eisenhower Auditorium.
Sustainability advancements to be unveiled on Blue-White weekend
The first ever Reinvention Fund Symposium will showcase sustainability projects at the Nittany Lion Inn on April 18, before the kick-off of the 2015 Blue-White Game.
Sustainability Institute welcomes responsible business thought leader Carol Sanford April 18
Carol Sanford, author of “The Responsible Business” and “The Responsible Entrepreneur,” will be a featured speaker on April 18 during the Sustainability Institute’s inaugural Reinvention Fund Symposium.
Renowned National Geographic photographer Polar Day keynote
Polar Day, a free public event celebrating the natural and cultural value of the Polar Regions, will be held from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Friday, March 27, in the McCoy Natatorium and from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center's Freeman Auditorium, both on the University Park campus of Penn State. Polar Day is sponsored by Penn State’s Polar Center.
Interested in a campus bike share program at Penn State?
Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to share their opinions on a potential bike share program at University Park by participating in a survey for Transportation Services. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and responses will be accepted through Wednesday, April 1.
eric j. barron
Invent Penn State: Let's turn great discoveries into a great economy, together
You may have heard the old saw, “great ideas sell themselves.” After all, look at Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working in the family garage, funding their fledgling company by selling a used Volkswagen bus and a scientific calculator.
Hydroelectric facility supplies 8 percent of Penn State's energy
A partnership in support of the creation of a hydroelectric facility has provided Penn State with both sustainable energy and educational opportunities for students. The Mahoning Creek Hydroelectric Facility -- a certified low-impact plant, built using existing infrastructure -- now supplies Penn State with 8 percent of its energy.
Nittany Lion at MorningStar
Penn State is a Sustainable State
As you are walking around Beaver Stadium on Nov. 29 for the Michigan State game, tailgating and finding your seats, you may notice that Penn State is becoming quite the sustainable state. The University is making some major strides in sustainability through programs for staff, students and the community.
Friday night lights out text on black screen
First joint Campus Lights Out event proves successful
On Friday, Oct. 24, students and volunteers at five universities across the country, including Penn State, joined forces for the first-ever joint Campus Lights Out event. Participating schools included the University of Texas at Austin, who coordinated the event, as well as the University of Toledo, the University of Kansas and Bowling Green University.
Man in a field
Center for Global Studies to sponsor documentary screening, panel discussion
The Center for Global Studies will be holding a film screening and discussion as part of International Education Week at Penn State. Scheduled is a showing of the film "A Thousand Suns," provided by the Global Oneness Project, followed by a panel discussion with Penn State faculty and graduate students. The event will held from 3 to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The event is free and open to everyone.
Lisa Jackson, is vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple Inc. and former administrator of the EPA.
Lisa Jackson, Apple VP and former EPA chief, to speak at Penn State on Nov. 6
The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE), the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) and the Sustainability Institute are happy to announce that Lisa Jackson, vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple Inc. and former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Colloquium on the Environment. This year’s colloquium will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 6 at Schwab Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
National Recycling Coalition names Penn State 'Best of the Best'
The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) presented Penn State with its 2014 Outstanding Higher Education Award as one of the “Best of the Best.” The University was specifically recognized for its “exceptional program in recycling” and for “connecting higher education and industry.” Penn State was selected above more than 70 other universities under consideration — fitting recognition for more than a quarter century of progress.
Better Building Challenge Logo
Penn State commits to historic 20 percent energy reduction
Penn State has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and pledged to reduce its building portfolio’s energy use by 20 percent over the next decade. With a commitment of 28 million square feet, Penn State becomes the largest university in the program, topping Michigan State (20 million square feet) and the University of Virginia (15 million).
Sunset on a road
'Marcellus Shale Documentary Project' opens Sept. 23 at the Palmer Museum
The Palmer Museum of Art will present a new exhibition, "Marcellus Shale Documentary Project," from Sept. 23 through Dec. 14. The "Marcellus Shale Documentary Project" features photographic images that tell the personal stories of Pennsylvanians affected by the Marcellus Shale gas industry. By creating a visual document of the environmental, social and economic impact of the drilling, the work aims to engage communities in the current Marcellus Shale debate while providing important historical images for the future.
PSU game
Beaver Stadium suites program proves sustainable
Penn State officials are hoping to achieve a lofty goal this football season at Beaver Stadium. It’s the first step in a sustainability initiative to reduce the environmental impact of sporting events at University Park. For the upcoming football season, University leaders are hoping to achieve a 100-percent landfill diversion rate within the suite sections of Beaver Stadium — meaning, to recycle or compost all items that can be reused or otherwise saved from a landfill.
Cutting torches are used to take down support beams during the removal of old boilers from Penn State's power plant in preparation for the facility's conversion to natural gas.  Image: Patrick Mansell
Penn State reaches milestone in conversion to cleaner energy
Penn State continues its pursuit of greater sustainability with the conclusion of construction on the installation of 13,645 feet (2.6 miles) of pipe to increase natural gas service to the University’s West Campus Steam Plant. Conversion from its historic use of coal to natural gas will reduce the plant’s total emissions by nearly 50 percent and help meet the University’s ambitious goal of a 35 percent overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (over a 2005 baseline).
Vegetables from the State College farmers market.
Penn State Food Services puts emphasis on buying local
As people and businesses become more aware of their environmental impact through their purchases, there has been an increased emphasis on shopping locally. Penn State Food Services is no exception. According to John Mondock, director of purchasing for Housing and Food Services, buying locally here in Pennsylvania is not only the right thing to do, but it is what the customers are asking for.
This graphic shows the natural gas pipeline route and construction schedule on Penn State's University Park campus. Image: Penn State
Sustainability Institute releases stakeholder assessment report of gas pipeline project
In 2013, the decision was made to reroute a proposed natural gas pipeline, originally slated to go through State College’s Highlands Neighborhood, onto the University Park campus of Penn State to supply the West Campus Steam Plant with additional natural gas. At Penn State’s energy forum in September, Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, committed to conducting a stakeholder assessment about this process.
Nittany Lion with sustainability institute banner
Penn State rewarded for sustainability on a national scale
Penn State has received one of the top facilities honors in the country — APPA’s 2014 Sustainability Award. APPA is the professional association of educational facilities in the United States, Canada and abroad. Penn State was recognized not only for its historic achievements in sustainability but also its ongoing strategies for a more sustainable future for the University.
MorningStar Solar Home
MorningStar solar home creating conversations, legacy
For the moment, students Jesse Della Valle and Taylor Ryan make you believe you’ve been transported from Penn State’s University Park campus to NASA headquarters. They’re using terms such as passive solar energy, solar slates and deceiving storage space. They’re speaking confidently and succinctly, like experts, and they’re doing this as they give a tour of Penn State’s MorningStar solar home, an environmental gem located a few hundred yards from Beaver Stadium.
Childhood's Gate at the Arboretum
Childhood's Gate Children's Garden open at Arboretum
The latest addition to The Arboretum at Penn Stateopened to the public on Monday, July 7 -- the Childhood's Gate Children's Garden. A garden for children and anyone who is young at heart, Childhood's Gate is a unique space for exploring nature, fostering wonder and celebrating the plants, animals and geography of central Pennsylvania.
36% energy reduction image
Penn State drops a load during energy test
University Park reduced a whopping third of its electricity usage during the annual test of load reduction June 19. Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., Penn State's Office of Physical Plant worked behind the scenes remotely to power down as many pumps, fans, compressors and lights as possible. University employees and students were encouraged to shut off their lights and office equipment.
green exit sign
Program plays crucial role in preventing blackouts
This Thursday (June 19) from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Penn State will again test University Park’s capability to reduce its electricity load when called upon during national or regional power emergencies. University Park occupants are requested to turn off all unnecessary electrical consumption under individual control.
Lion logo at beaver stadium
LED Nittany Lion logo placed on new Beaver Stadium north videoboard
Another portion of the Beaver Stadium videoboard project was completed Thursday, as a gigantic, 35-feet by 25-feet back lit Nittany Lion logo was secured on the north side of Beaver Stadium. The 6,500-pound logo is on the back of the new stadium videoboard overlooking Park Avenue and contains 1,400 LED lights. The white portion of the logo will illuminate; giving the illusion that the Nittany Lion is floating. The logo contains 1,400 bright LEDs that only use 330 watts of total electricity, equal to the electricity used by just three standard incandescent bulbs and one quarter the amount of electricity used by a standard coffee pot.
Winners announced for Penn State’s 20/20 Energy Challenge
More than 1,000 Penn Staters participated in 20/20 Energy Challenge, a two-week competition in April, in which faculty and staff practiced several positive energy saving habits, tracking them each day with a pledge sheet. Through simple activities, such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, taking the stairs, and putting computers and printers to sleep, the challenge aided Penn Staters to focus on helping Penn State achieve its goal of a 20 percent energy reduction by 2020.
Earth Week at Penn State
Earth Week begins at Penn State
It’s Earth Week at Penn State. Activities and events are scheduled at not only University Park, but across the state at other Penn State campuses. Take part in a festivity that celebrates the treasures of our earth and how we care for our planet. For more information on these events and to add an activity to the list, visit
möbius, close the loop on waste
Old Main welcomes office composting to “close the loop on waste”
University Park, Pa. - This week Old Main became the 50th building at University Park to launch möbius—Penn State Waste Management. This initiative includes office composting and expanded recycling to help the University divert 85 percent of its solid waste from the landfill. “Penn State wants to demonstrate the same level of excellence in management of all its resources as it does in its education and research activities,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost at Penn State.
Paul Moser, superintendent of steam services, and Ken Davis, professor of Meteorology at Penn State, were part of the discussion about the community's role in bringing Penn State's greenhouse gas emissions to zero.  The conference was held on April 11 at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and was sponsored by Penn State's Sustainability Institute, The Rock Ethics Institute and The Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs.
Penn State conference tackles reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero
On Friday, April 11, more than 70 Penn State staff, students and faculty members attended a conference on Penn State’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to conference organizer Jonathan Brockopp, the goal was “to begin imagining a workable plan to achieve zero effective emissions by 2050.”Brockopp, associate professor of history at Penn State, explained that “Penn State has an obligation toward our students and our community to model ethical leadership in a warming world.” Co-sponsors for the conference included Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, the Rock Ethics Institute and the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs.
Earth Day film screening of "Growing Cities" with a panel discussion on April 22.
Penn State to host free film screening of “Growing Cities”
The public is invited to attend a free film screening of “Growing Cities” a documentary that examines urban agriculture as a way to revitalize cities and provide local food to its residents. The event is being held by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and Environment on Earth Day, April 22.
Penn State's clear vision for 20/20 Energy Challenge
Are you ready for Penn State’s 20/20 Energy Challenge? The challenge is open to all Penn State faculty and staff by simply contacting a Green Team to request a pledge sheet. Small behavior changes, when performed collectively, can decrease Penn State’s environmental impact and help achieve a 20% reduction in overall energy usage over the next 10 years and a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Earth Hour 2014
Penn State Celebrates Earth Hour 2014
This Saturday night, March 29, at 8:30 p.m., the exterior lights on Penn State's Old Main will go out for Earth Hour 2014. Penn State is proud to participate in this global call to action by turning off decorative lighting at key campus landmarks. "We feel it is symbolically important to join in this worldwide effort to show the effect that many people, working together, can have on climate change," says Steve Maruszewski, Assistant Vice President of Penn State's Office of Physical Plant. In addition, decorative floodlights at the Lion Shrine, the Nittany Lion Inn, and the Information Sciences and Technology building will be shut-off.
Sustainability Institute Glider Image
First anniversary for Penn State's Sustainability Institute
A year ago, Penn State officially launched the Sustainability Institute with a mission to facilitate the integration of sustainability into all functions of the University. The vision was to bring together researchers, educators, students, staff and community members to break down traditional boundaries of the classroom and partner operations with research, teaching with community engagement and all with each other. “The Sustainability Institute represents a unique and significant internal investment by Penn State in our collective future. It enables our continued transformation of campus and community into a Living Lab for sustainability, where we are all partners in this learning environment.” Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.
Reinvention Fund collage
Penn State invests $876K in sustainability projects through Reinvention Fund
Through the Reinvention Fund, the Sustainability Institute’s internal grant program, Penn State has invested more than $875,000 in collaborative projects intended to improve and expand sustainability efforts across the institution. Faculty/Staff teams have received $773,485, and an additional $102,884 was dedicated to support proposals submitted by student teams. “These resources have been contributed from all of our functional units—Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education, Research, Outreach and Finance & Business—and represent an institutional commitment to sustainability,” explained Provost Nick Jones.
Spray fields
Where does the water go?
WPSU's Emily Reddy explored the massive task of supplying and cleaning the water used by students, faculty, staff and visitors at Penn State University. Larry Fennessey is in charge of stormwater at Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant. He can tell you where just about any rain that lands on Penn State’s University Park campus will end up. The rain that falls on the southern half of campus ends up in the Spring Creek watershed. But the northern half goes to the Big Hollow, which Fennessey says is unique because it has no visible water.
Sustainability Institute releases new guidebook for strategic planning
Sustainability Institute releases new guidebook for strategic planning
The Sustainability Institute (SI) announces the release of a new Sustainability Planning Guidebook for Teams. This guidebook, the result of a several-month process involving faculty from multiple colleges and staff from several units, aims to help Penn State units engage with sustainability in a strategic manner.
Reinvention Fund invests in student proposals
Penn State's Reinvention Fund invests $100K in student sustainability projects
In October 2013, the Sustainability Institute announced its new internal grant program, The Reinvention Fund, intended to support collaborative projects by faculty, staff and students that will improve and expand sustainability efforts at Penn State. Of the more than $700,000 allocated for investment in these projects, $102,000 has been dedicated to support proposals received by student teams.
Building heat reductions for the holiday break
Once again this year, Penn State is aggressively pursuing the reduction of energy use over the holiday break. Temperatures in many University facilities will be reduced to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the University.
Penn State landscape architecture undergrad program ranked No. 1 Image: Penn State
Penn State landscape architecture undergrad program ranked No. 1
The Stuckeman School's Department of Landscape Architecture is No. 1 in the 2014 Design Intelligence rankings of undergraduate programs nationwide.
Developing ecosystems that purify wastewater... Rachel Brennan, associate professor of environmental engineering, rolls up her sleeves to develop ecosystems that purify wastewater.
Penn State Lives Here
Twenty-four campuses. 17,000 faculty and staff. 100,000 students. Over one-half million active alumni. All proving that the true measure of success is what you do to improve the lives of others. Penn State lives here.
The Child Care Center at Hort Woods is the first Penn State building ever awarded a LEED Platinum certification.
Penn State child care center awarded Platinum LEED certification
The Child Care Center at Hort Woods is the first Penn State building ever awarded a LEED Platinum certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, and this prestigious award administered by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) requires intensive evaluation and verification. Hort Woods was specifically designed to meet the highest level of sustainable building criteria and provide a superior child care facility.
Reinvention Fund to ignite innovation in sustainability
Reinvention Fund to ignite innovation in sustainability
Penn State’s Sustainability Institute recently launched a new internal grant program intended to support collaborative projects that will improve and expand sustainability at Penn State. Through the Reinvention Fund, Penn State will invest approximately $600,000 in projects proposed by innovative teams located across all of the University's colleges, campuses and administrative units.
Penn State's renewal and renovation plan goes beyond bricks and mortar
Penn State's renewal and renovation plan goes beyond bricks and mortar
Over the past decade or so, Penn State administrators have worked hard to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for students at all campuses. At University Park and Altoona, business students have the benefit of a Wall Street trading simulator for use in their classes. Nursing and medical students at several campuses learn in simulation labs featuring advanced mobile human patient simulators that move, breathe, live and die realistically, to give students as close to a human experience as they can get during their training. coming to the HUB on November 12 coming to the HUB on November 12
What does the term “organic food” really mean? How is Penn State’s food service working with area farms to bring foods to our tables and boost the local agriculture economy? Where can you eat on campus if you have specific food preferences or allergies? These and other questions about food at Penn State will be discussed at the ninth Environmental Forum sponsored by Penn State Finance & Business and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute on Tuesday, November 12 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the HUB-Robeson Alumni Hall at Penn State.
What is möbius?
What is möbius?
Penn State has committed to "closing the loop" on its solid waste through a new program called möbius. University Park currently diverts 65 percent of its solid waste from landfill. With a new and unprecedented program, which includes campus-wide composting of organic waste, we’ll reach 75 percent.
Penn State University using soy-based hydraulic fluid in elevators
Penn State University using soy-based hydraulic fluid in elevators
More than 100 elevators on the campus of Penn State University require hydraulic fluid, traditionally petroleum-based and problematic when there's a sprung leak.
VM hosting provides an IT alternative, which is both green and cost-effective. Image: Cristol L. Gregory
Virtual Machine hosting is helping Penn State reduce carbon footprint
It’s no secret that computers are everywhere these days, and Penn State is no exception to the rule. Many University departments and offices are finding themselves packed to the brim with server racks, processing units and microprocessors — often tangled together under desks, sprawling on shelves and spilling out of closets.
A young boy washes his hands with a recycled bar of soap given to him during Clean the World’s recent distribution trip to Honduras.
Penn State helps "Clean the World" save soap and lives
That bar of soap you leave behind in your hotel room after check out could be used to save the life of a child who is exposed every day to deadly viruses. A program to recycle these still useful items has taken hold, and Penn State has joined the movement.
 Participants in the Emergency DR (Demand Response) program pledge to reduce their electrical energy use by a specified amount during high use periods of time. The program protects the day-to-day reliability of the regional grid upon which our campus relies and is critical for utility companies because it helps them avoid blackouts.
University Park employees urged to curb energy use during one-hour test June 20
All University employees and students are requested to turn off all unnecessary lighting, office equipment, coffee pots, dehumidifiers and air conditioning.
The decline of honeybees and other pollinators will be the focus of an international conference to be hosted by Penn State in August.
Penn State to host international conference on pollinator health
With populations of wild and domesticated pollinators, such as honeybees, in decline, some of the world's foremost scientists in the field will converge on Penn State this summer to discuss the latest research aimed at understanding and overcoming challenges to pollinator health.
Ground was broken April 24 on the EEB Hub headquarters at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Joining the Nittany Lion, from left, were Rodney Erickson, president of Penn State; Tom Corbett, governor of Pennsylvania; Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the DOE; Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia; Henry Foley, vice president for research at Penn State and executive director of the EEB Hub; and Matt Erskine, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Economic Development Administrati
Construction is underway in Philadelphia for Penn State's Energy Efficient Buildings headquarters
Penn State celebrated the development of two buildings at the Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) Hub during a groundbreaking ceremony on April 24 at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.
Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist, green jobs pioneer and Macarthur “Genius” Award winner.
Sustainability pioneer to speak at Penn State on April 22
Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist, green jobs pioneer and Macarthur “Genius” Award winner, will speak on at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 22 in Room 100 of the Thomas Building.
Penn State's Earth Day celebration to span five days
It’s not just Earth Day this year at Penn State, it’s Earth Days. The multi-day event combines guest speakers, an expo and volunteering opportunities, spanning from April 18 to 22. Among the events are lectures from Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, and Majora Carter, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and urban revitalization strategist.
Smeal welcomes TerraCycle CEO as keynote speaker on April 18
Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle and author of Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle is Redefining Green Business, will be a featured speaker during Penn State’s Earth Da
New Sustainability Institute Committed to Immersive Education
New Sustainability Institute Committed to Immersive Education
Penn State is proud to announce the launch of a Sustainability Institute to bring together researchers, educators, students, staff and community members from multiple colleges, campuses and frames of reference—all committed to critical, systems-level thinking. The Institute will dissolve the traditional boundaries of the classroom to partner operations with research, teaching with community engagement and all with each other.
Smeal students are entering a new era of sustainability education.
Smeal Makes the Business Case for Sustainability
Penn State's Smeal College of Business has created a plan to integrate sustainability into its core undergraduate education.