Who we are

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) facilitates engaged scholarship projects as part of the outreach mission of Penn State Sustainability. The SCC connects Penn State faculty, students, and staff with local communities to address sustainability challenges through an engaged, collaborative effort. Each project is a facilitated and involves faculty expertise and students from across the academic spectrum, co-led by a key community leader and the University’s SCC staff, to help develop and support thriving, healthy communities and advance student learning about the scholarship of sustainability.

What we do

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative at Penn State facilitates partnerships between Penn State classes and partners from across Pennsylvania. Students engage in applied, real-world projects and research that increases the community’s capacity to make better, more informed decisions to address its sustainability challenges. Student projects do not replace the work of professionals, but act as catalysts to begin new work.

SCC staff will help connect Penn State faculty to community partners and vice versa. Partners include local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and campus units. If you are interested in an SCC engaged scholarship project or have project ideas, please contact ixb20@psu.edu. The SCC will initiate the process of defining the project and outlining goals for both class and community partners that meet curricular requirements and fit the time limitations of the semester. SCC projects can follow a variety of formats from capstone projects to multi-semester and transdisciplinary projects.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals provide the overarching framework for SCC projects, while simultaneously expanding the understanding of sustainability for students and communities alike. Projects range from addressing waste to water quality, and diversity and energy. Please check out the examples on the right.

Watch a video on the Sustainable Communities Collaborative below.


Ilona Ballreich
(814) 599-6000

Projects and partnerships are celebrated at the end of the semester with an Expo that brings together community, university, and students to share their experiences, opportunities, and sustainability achievements.