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"With the breadth of our research and academic programs, and with the expanse of our alumni base, I think we carry a responsibility to take on the sustainability challenge head on."
Professor, Architectural Engineering / Sustainability Institute


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 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).

Five Questions with..." is a regular Keystone Crossroads feature where we seek to glean wisdom and ideas from some of Pennsylvania's top urban thinkers and doers. Richard Alley is a professor at Penn State University. He was part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was recognized with a Nobel Prize in 2007.

After the “zombie ant fungus” kills a victim, it grows a stalk called the stroma, which protrudes from the ant cadaver.

A large round structure, the ascoma, forms on the stroma. Infectious spores then develop in the ascoma and are released onto the forest floor below, where they can infect foraging ants from the colony.

Small Steps, Big Wins
The Penn State Smeal College of Business undergraduate student chapter of Net Impact, an organization dedicated to sustainability, recently earned the national Net Impact organization’s Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge. In addition, the chapter was granted gold standing by the national organization and named one of the top three undergraduate chapters in the nation. The Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge pitted 76 universities against each other in performing and recording positive social and environmental actions on the myActions social platform. The Penn State team won the national title with 34,731 actions.
Unlike the majority of college students, Kimmie Bowen saw summer vacation not as a time for rest and relaxation, but as a great academic opportunity. The Penn State Brandywine rising sophomore and meteorology major recently teamed up with associate professor of earth sciences Laura Guertin to conduct fieldwork monitoring local environmental change.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn States Advanced Vehicle Team has been working on a Chevy Malibu for three years.  It might look like an ordinary Chevy Malibu on the outside, but inside it is a lean, green driving machine.

UNIVERSITY PARK When the humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship program at Penn State created what it thought was the perfect technology to aid farmers in Africa, all it needed was the right partner to help promote it.