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Making sustainable change: Penn Staters invited to join EcoChallenge

September 26, 2017

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.

“We believe the solution to the planet's biggest challenges lies in the power of collective action,” said Daniella Espinoza, student in energy, business and finance and co-organizer of Penn State’s EcoChallenge team.

Last year, more than 8,000 people from across the globe participated, taking almost 62,000 specific actions in the areas of food, water, transportation, waste, energy, nature, health, community and simplicity.

“Our participation in the EcoChallenge is important because it helps us all to take personal action, be mindful of our ecological footprint, and conversationally engage our peers, colleagues and community on sustainability issues,” said Dr. Paul Shrivastava, Penn State’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Sustainability Institute.

Challengers earn points by taking specific actions and can accomplish personal goals, including:

  • reusable water bottles and mugs
  • Choosing two-sided printing
  • Composting food waste
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Switching to cold water
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Going by bike
  • Conducting virtual meetings

“I am eager to use the EcoChallenge to focus more on my health and well-being and hope that it will have a broader impact on my life as well as the lives of other Penn Staters,” said Brandon Rothrock, student in geography and co-organizer of Penn State’s EcoChallenge team.

“Through the EcoChallenge, we hope to make sustainable living a part of the Penn State experience,” said Espinoza.

As of September 22, Penn State’s team had 143 members. Rothrock and Espinoza said they hope to exceed the size of last year’s largest EcoChallenge team, which was 580.

EcoChallenge is a program developed by the Northwest Earth Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, which provides framework for people to talk about their relationship with the planet and to discover new ways to live, work, create and consume.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to join the Penn State team by signing up online.

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