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"Our students are the future generation of leaders, and so it's important for us to help them promote sustainability and to become advocates and change agents in their own right. If not us, then who?"
Chancellor, Penn State Altoona

Reinvention Fund

 

 

 



The Reinvention Fund has awarded more than $875,000 for sustainability-related projects. Faculty/staff received $773,485 and student proposals received $102,884.

The purpose of the Reinvention Fund is to provide resources to innovative teams seeking to pursue interdisciplinary and holistic solutions to sustainability challenges in a way that fosters cross functional integration of Penn State’s teaching, research, outreach, operation, and administration expertise, so that our university community can link and leverage our depth and build our collective capacity in pursuit of sustainability.

The Reinvention Fund has awarded more than $875,000 for sustainability-related projects. Faculty/staff received $773,485 and student proposals received $102,884.
 

Faculty/Staff Projects

Enhancing Educational Opportunities in Biological Pest Control and Reducing Pesticide Application to Improve Sustainability, $12,333
Scott DiLoreto, University Park  
Expand current biological pest control program to other campus greenhouses, making further significant pesticide use reductions in our Plant Science greenhouse facilities as well as reducing pesticide use in other campus greenhouses.

Community Solar on State: A Living Laboratory Framework for Outreach, Education, and Research, $56,250
Jeffrey Brownson, University Park
Create an outreach and educational platform that will allow our community to proceed with a pilot community PV project, called a “solar garden," retain the best practices learned, and then enable prospective solar projects as they evolve in the future. Community Solar on State will provide a platform for this and future solar gardens through community and alumni outreach, educational media development online and on site

A Demonstration Project of Virtual Reuse Marketplace for Salvaged Goods, $15,000
Robert J. Bylone, Jr.Penn State Harrisburg
Reduce the quantity of unwanted materials or items which are ultimately sent to University Park salvage by transparently offering reuseable items and materials through a virtual warehouse and trading intranet platform to others within Penn State Harrisburg and eventually the University System state-wide.

The Everyday Practice of Food Consumption and Waste Reduction, $11,315
Ruth Ann Herstek, New Kensington
Develop sustainable practices in food purchasing choices and waste disposal. Increase recycling awareness efforts, develop a composting site to reduce food waste, and use the compost products to expand the new campus Pollinator Garden. The compost site will become an education tool at which to conduct testing and research and to offer opportunities for classroom learning and undergraduate research.

Development of Sustainable Social Network and Social Marketing Resources for Promoting University-based Activity Transportation, $74,305
Melissa Bopp, University Park
D
evelop a social marketing campaign and accompanying smart phone app to encourage active transportation (i.e. walking and biking) (AT) behavior. Benefits of participation in active transportation include health (improved fitness, reduced stress, weight control, reduced cardiovascular disease), economic (decreased costs for fuel, insurance, parking, maintenance), and environmental (less air pollution).

Building a Sustainable Business Development Learning Factory, $15,000
Barrie Litzky, Penn State Great Valley
B
uild a sustainable business learning factory, which will engage students in immersive experiences in sustainable business development and sustainable management practices. Will also engage regional community partners -- Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) and B-Lab -- and PSU stakeholders including students, faculty, and staff at PSU’s Philadelphia area campuses.

MorningStar Permaculture Learning Centre, $52,500
Dave Mortensen, University Park
Build a community of permaculture knowledge with a permaculture landscape design installation at the MorningStar site to educate the Penn State University community and local community members about permaculture. Through student, faculty and community hands-on, active, skill building workshops, the proposed site of the MorningStar Permaculture Learning Centre can both fulfill the mission of the site's intent of sustainability and experience.

Storied Images: Marcellus Shale, $18,880
Steven Rubin, University Park
F
oster critical reflection of, and generate discourse on, the impact of Marcellus Shale extraction in Pennsylvania through photography. The overarching goal for this project is to move students from being passive recipients of critical news and developments toward becoming well-informed stakeholders, active and innovative participants invested in examining, understanding and shaping environmental decisions and collective futures through creative means.

Statewide Implementation of Promoting Healthy People/Healthy Environments through Medical Waste Reduction Strategies in Clinical Nursing Simulation Laboratories, $6,246
Darlene Clark, University Park 
I
mplement waste reduction strategies through increased recycling efforts at not only the University Park simulation location, but also at five other commonwealth campus locations which house nursing programs, and which contain simulation laboratories for their nursing students.

Staff Fleet EV Operation with Solar Offset, $75,000
Stephen E. Oskin, University Park
A
ims to reduce pollution at the point of use, and also aims to completely offset the use of the vehicle in a sustainable manner while providing real-world information to the public. By a planning a replacement of the gas-powered local fleet vehicles with 100% electric vehicles and integrating PV solar arrays to offset usage, and installing fleet and visitor electric vehicle charging stations, this will allow OPP to immediately reduce environmental impact without depending on the relatively “dirty” local power grid.

Development of a Student-Centered Penn State Sustainability Metric - The PawPrint, $14,270
Andy Lau, University Park
Assist students in behaving more sustainably by understanding the many day-to-day choices they make and their impact on sustainability. Preliminary estimates of these impacts on ecological footprint indicate that it is possible to reduce one’s footprint by up to two-thirds.
 
Greener Game-days: Making Penn State Athletics Events More Sustainable, $37,500
Judd Michael, University Park
U
tilize Athletics facilities, with a focus on the larger facilities such as Beaver Stadium (including tailgating areas) and Pegula Ice Arena, as the main parts of the “living lab” by learning more about available means to increase sustainability of Penn State sports events and then put those solutions into place.
 
Scholarship, Sustainability and Civic Engagement: Fostering Long Term Partnerships for Community Change, $55,000
Timothy W. Kelsey, University Park
Bring together Penn State sustainability- and community-development related programs to create a deeply immersive educational experience for undergraduate students, to build and strengthen long term sustainability-related, community-university partnerships across Pennsylvania, and to work with and for citizens in addressing sustainability issues important in their communities. 

Infusing Concepts of Sustainability throughout the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management (RPTM) Curriculum, $15,090
Peter Newman, University Park 
Infuse concepts of sustainability throughout the RPTM undergraduate curriculum.  Building on the department’s existing collaborative relationship w/ Shaver’s Creek Env. Center. And have faculty identify local, regional, and global projects.
 

Climate Change + Conflict Management, $49,500
Lara Fowler, University Park
B
ring people together to identify climate-related impacts, potential conflict areas, and potential solutions. This project builds on the significant work already on-going at Penn State on climate change issues in the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and in the dispute resolution world.

Learning Together: Sustainability and Penn State's Living Laboratory, $37,500
Elaine Brzycki, University Park
A
mplify the goal of the Reinvention Fund by producing Learning Together: Sustainability and Penn State’s Living Laboratory, an online multimedia project to document and highlight Reinvention Fund awarded projects across Penn State colleges, campuses, and administrative units.

Building Sustainable Communities through the Digital Global Classroom, $35,600
Erica A.H. Smithwick, University Park
B
uild digital learning capacity as part of the global Penn State classroom. This learning community will be enabled in South Africa through the establishment of Living Lab Points– nodes of community engagement on sustainability that utilize technology to link African students and communities with (1) a Penn State resident courses and with (2) local K-8 schools in the Penn State community.

EPICS:  Penn State Schuylkill as a Living Laboratory for Sustainability, $52,571.20
Stephen R. Couch, Penn State Schuylkill
Establish Penn State Schuykill as a Living Lab. for sustainability through EPICS (Envision, Plan, Implement, Change, Sustain). Project will involve all sectors of the campus in all aspects. The project will also involve local community partners.

Center for Sustainability Communication, $37,125
Denise Bortree, University Park
Establish Penn State University as the leading institution in sustainability communication research and practice. The Initiative will engage many groups inside and outside of academia including faculty (at Penn State and beyond), staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, community partners, journalists, and other centers and organizations.

Sustainable Watersheds Program, $22,500
Matt Royer, University Park
P
romote, restore and maintain healthy local watersheds through collaborative community engagement and engaged scholarship. The program will develop and facilitate a dynamic, diverse partnership consisting of multiple academic units and local community partners working together to increase excitement for clean water and adoption of land management practices to improve water quality.

Shaver's Creek Discovery Semester - Reinvented!, $5,000
Mark McLaughlin, University Park 
Give the design, delivery, and marketing of the Discovery Semester a complete reinvention. The pillars of sustainability and the resources of the Shaver’s Creek–Stone Valley Forest complex will be better paired together and maximized as a Living and Learning Laboratory for the entire University community.

 

Student Projects

Organic Waste Logistics, $4,180
Nicholas Carbo, Penn State Behrend 
Bring in an organic waste-removal company to reduce food refuse in the Erie community by collecting it from local restaurants and turning it into organic fertilizer. Furthermore, local farms will have access to the fertilizer, ultimately improving the quality of the Lake Erie watershed.

Operation Dyson, $9,375
Andrew Harakel, Penn State Berks  
Install Dyson electric hand dryers in the restrooms of the LEED-certified Gaige Building to demonstrate cost savings as compared to the current use of paper hand towels.

Pride Pantry, $555
Jake Ruddy, University Park
Create an on-campus food pantry for low-income students to overcome various restrictions to students at the State College Area Food Bank. 

Increasing Local Foods at Penn State, $10,506
Jane Harrinton-Noonan, University Park  
Make the food system more sustainable by bringing more locally grown and produced food to the dining commons and restaurants at University Park.

The Living Filter, $12,950
Jacob Hagedorn, University Park
Create a sustainability report of Penn State’s Living Filter and raise awareness of the filter’s process through teaching and learning.

People, Plants, and Pollinators, $15,000
Elyzabeth Engle, University Park 
Install a pollinator garden at the entrance of the Community Gardens with signage for visitors.

Passively Rotating Soilless Living Wall, $12,730
Dustin Betz, University Park
Build a passively rotating, soilless living wall inside the Co-Space in State College by using aquaponics, a proven sustainable horticultural technology.

Crop Mobs, $11,450
Emily Pennock, University Park 

Bring students and farmers together in a cooperative effort as students spend a day working on a local, sustainable farm.

Remote Wind Power, $8,688
Bridget Dougherty, University Park 
Participate in the DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition to design and build a portable wind energy generation system, including market research and financial analysis to support the viability of the product.
 

Abington’s Cloverly Gardens, $12,500
Rebecca Skarda, Penn State Abington 
Build an educational greenhouse and accompanying garden at Penn State Abington as a model for other campuses.

Affordable Greenhouse Venture Cameroon, $4,950
Jerrel Gilliam, University Park 
Refine current affordable greenhouse technology in preparation for large-scale dissemination through a network of distribute micro-enterprises throughout West Africa.


For more information, please contact reinvention@psu.edu.


Faculty/Staff

Reinvention SEED and Enhancement Grant Application Requirements

Project TypesThree types of projects are encouraged to enable a diverse portfolio of Reinvention Fund activities and contributions to the advancement of sustainability from students, faculty, and staff. 

Sustainable Solutions – the core focus of these projects is the development of new solutions in sustainability.  Core metrics include demonstrated solutions, engagement methods, capacity building, leveraging of past work, and scholarly publications/presentations.

Revolving Fund – the core focus of these projects is the demonstration of measurable value that can be captured through the implementation of sustainability initiatives and solutions.  Core metrics include measurable savings in resource use (energy, water, purchased services), or increased capacity of resource generation (energy, water, social capital, program revenue, new relationships).

Teaching and Learning – the core focus of these projects is the enhancement of learning across Penn State communities.  Core metrics include the development of learning assessment methods, enhancement of existing course and professional development programs, and creation of new learning communities.

Funding Levels:  Teams may seek funds for seed grants ($15,000-$75,000) or enhancement grants ($5000-$15,000) depending on their goals and objectives. 

Seed Grant ($15 - $75K) projects should demonstrate trajectory and potential to lead to bigger opportunities, such as collaborative research grants, education program development, and/or new program revenue generation. Seed Grants will be peer reviewed by sustainability leaders across university functions.

Program Enhancement ($5 - $15K) projects will (1) enhance an existing program or course, (2) be used to convene new learning communities or collaborations, (3) provide support for speaker series and interaction with experts/leaders.  Review of Program Enhancement grants will be conducted by a task force formed by the Sustainability Institute.

Eligibility and team formation:  Proposal will be accepted from team across all of Penn State’s units and campuses.  Teams that include representation from multiple units (Academic, Outreach, Operations, Administration) are strongly encouraged.  In recognition that the formation of interdisciplinary and cross functional teams can be challenging to launch, the Sustainability Institute will provide the following resources to prospective Reinvention teams:

Timeline:

RFP announcement

Sept. 30, 2013

 

Informational Webinar

Oct. 10, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

 

Pre-proposals due

Oct. 25, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

 

Notice of recommended action

Oct. 28, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

 

Collaboration Workshop

Nov. 22, 2013, 12 - 3 p.m., 129A HUB-Robeson Center

 

Full proposals due

Dec. 20, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

 

Review panel meeting

Jan. 15, 2014

 

Awards announced

Feb. 3, 2014

 

Awardee Kick-off event

Feb. 2014 (TBA)

 

Progress report due

May 2014 (TBA)

 

Final report and metrics 

Dec. 15, 2014

Review Criteria and Project Selection:  The following criteria will be applied to proposals that are received by the proposal due date:

Merit Review

  • Is a clear statement of purpose and the identification of the targeted sustainability challenge provided?
  • Does the project clearly articulate how all three pillars of sustainability (People, Planet, and Prosperity) will be used to evaluate success?
  • Is the proposed project aligned with the Living Laboratory principles?
  • Alignment with either: Solution Development, Revolving Fund, or Teaching and Learning project criteria?
  • Is the proposed project aligned with University/Unit-level strategic sustainability planning?
  • Will the project have lasting impacts that will advance sustainability now and in the future?
  • Does the project leverage past efforts of the university in the proposed topic or field?
  • Does the project have a long term trajectory and business could lead to longevity and sustainability?

Team Qualifications

  • Does the proposed project include participation from team members with diverse backgrounds and disciplines?
  • Will the project impact students, faculty, staff, and community members beyond the immediate proposed team members?
  • Does the project include the engagement of students and/or cross unit collaboration in facets of the university in which student input and innovation have traditionally been excluded?
  • Have letters of support from unit leadership and community partners been provided?

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of internal and external reviewers who will make recommendations for priority ranking to the Sustainability Institute Reinvention Fund Program Manager.  Grants will be awarded based on priority ranking and availability of funds. 

Download the PDF - Reinvention Fund: RFP and Submission Requirements (Revised Oct. 21, 2013)


For more information, please contact reinvention@psu.edu.


Student

Student Sustainability Innovation Grant Requirements

The Sustainably Institute is seeking innovative projects from students across Penn State’s colleges and campuses.  Project types can include the development of new solutions to sustainability challenges, hands-on demonstration projects, community service projects, and student participation in conferences and sustainability-focused competitions.

Daniel Frechen monitored the health of a bush bean plant on Aug. 14 in an experimental growth chamber in Tyson building on Penn State's University Park campus.

Example projects:

  • Support the entry of an interdisciplinary team in a national competition focused on sustainability.
  • Participation of students and advisor in a conference dedicated to student engagement in sustainability.
  • Host a peer group or guest speaker who is a leader in sustainability.
  • Team with a campus service (dining hall, transportation, purchasing etc.) to design and test new practices.
  • Implement a service project in a nearby community dedicated to advancement of sustainability.
  • Design and install a temporary or permanent feature of your campus that will promote learning about sustainability.

Funding Levels:  $1000 - $15,000 (Total available funding will be approximately $100,000)

Eligibility: Proposals will be accepted from student organizations, course-based teams, and ad-hoc groups formed in response to the Student Sustainability Innovation grant opportunity.  Affiliation of teams with formal student organizations or courses, and inclusion of an academic advisor are strongly encouraged, but not required.

Timeline

Innovation grant announcement

Sept. 30, 2013

 

Pre-proposals due

Nov. 1, 2013

 

Full proposals due

Dec. 6, 2013 by 5:00 p.m.

 

Awards announced

Dec. 20, 2013

Review Criteria and Project Selection:  The following criteria will be applied to proposals that are received by the proposal due date:

  • Is a clear statement of purpose and the identification of the targeted sustainability challenge provided?
  • Does the project clearly articulate how all three pillars of sustainability (People, Planet, and Prosperity) will be addressed?
  • Is the proposed project aligned with the Living Laboratory principles?
  • Will the project have lasting impacts that will advance sustainability now and in the future?
  • Does the proposed project include participation from students with diverse backgrounds and disciplines?
  • Will the project impact students, faculty, staff, and community members beyond the immediate proposed team members?
  • Are advisors to the team identified with appropriate expertise to support student leaders?

Proposals will be reviewed by the Student Sustainability Advisory Council (SSAC) who will make recommendations for priority ranking to the Sustainability Institute Reinvention Fund Program Manager.  Grants will be awarded based on priority ranking and availability of funds. 

Submission Process:       

Pre-proposal Form (web form) (due Nov. 1, 2013)

Full Proposal Template
(email as attachment to Sharon Hoover by Dec. 6, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.)

Download the PDF - Reinvention Fund: Student Innovation Grant RFP (Revised Sept. 30, 2013)


For more information, please contact reinvention@psu.edu.


Request for Proposals

This request for proposals invites broad participation from the Penn State Community in the development and demonstration of solutions to sustainability challenges. The purpose of the Reinvention Fund is to provide resources to innovative teams seeking to pursue interdisciplinary and holistic solutions to sustainability challenges in a way that fosters cross functional integration of Penn State’s teaching, research, outreach, operation, and administration expertise, so that our university community can link and leverage our depth and build our collective capacity in pursuit of sustainability.

SUSTAINABILITY AT PENN STATE:    Penn State’s vision is a comprehensive integration of sustainability into the University’s research, teaching, and service that will prepare students, faculty, and staff to be tomorrow’s sustainability leaders.  Penn State has defined Sustainability as:

“The simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations.”

It is expected that all Reinvention Fund projects will pursue a holistic approach to the human health and happiness (People), environmental quality (Planet) and economic well-being (Prosperity) implications of their proposed projects.

BUILDING A LIVING LABORATORY:   The Living Laboratory concept has been adopted as a guiding theme for strategic planning in sustainability at Penn State.  This first year of the Reinvention Fund represents a unique opportunity to focus our efforts on building a Living Laboratory – a term that is used to describe an immersive learning environment which utilizes our physical environment, relationships, policies and processes as hands-on learning opportunities.  The concept of a Living Laboratory is called for in Penn State’s Sustainability Strategic Plan as the primary method for achieving our sustainability goals.  For this reason, the first offering of the Reinvention Fund is structured around the Living Laboratory theme.  

PROJECT TYPES:  Diverse project types will be supported by the Reinvention Fund, including (1) the development of new solutions to sustainability challenges, (2) the implementation and demonstration of sustainability concepts, and (3) projects focused on teaching and learning.

ELIGIBILITY:  All members of the Penn State community are eligible, including student, faculty, staff, and administrative leaders.  Collaborative and interdisciplinary teams will be giving priority in project selection.

GRANT AWARD:  Teams may seek funds for seed grants ($15,000-$75,000) or enhancement grants ($5000-$15,000) depending on their goals and objectives.  Student Innovation proposals will be accepted from student organizations or course-based teams and will be funded at levels of $1000-$15,000. 

Download the PDF - Reinvention Fund: 2013 Full Program Description and Request for Proposals (Revised Oct. 21, 2013)

Requirements for Faculty/Staff

Requirements for Students


For more information, please contact reinvention@psu.edu.