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Student and employee engagement projects are a “win-win” for the campus and community

April 1, 2016

More than 200 students and 100 Penn State employee teams have lent their expertise and passion to address sustainability topics at the University and community levels. Their work will be showcased for the public on April 25, 2016 from 5-7 p.m. at the State College Borough Building with an interactive, poster-style event.

The Campus and Community Sustainability Expo will feature projects from the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, Sustainable Food Systems Program and Green Teams and Green Paws Programs at Penn State. Topics will include energy, food systems, natural resources, employee engagement, waste management and more.

A “sustainability map” will guide participants as they travel from one topic to another, to hear directly from the students and employees involved, and learn about efforts to enhance social, economic and environmental outcomes in their communities. In addition to poster displays, new graphic designs for CNG vehicle wraps will be unveiled and a sample employee training video will be premiered. Refreshments will be provided.

“It takes many individuals working in a variety of organizations to build and maintain a vibrant and thriving community. This expo is a celebration of our shared stewardship of the State College community,” according to Sustainability Communities Collaborative director Michele Halsell.

“This event is part of our Earth Week celebration. We hope that visitors to the expo will be inspired by the work that is being done by community partners, students, faculty and staff to enhance quality of life in the region and will come away with a sense of renewed hopefulness for the future.”

Community partners for the projects include the Borough of State College, Ferguson Township, Foxdale Village, The Nature Inn, New Leaf Initiative, MiniTab, and Friends and Farmers Cooperative. University partners make up Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Performing Arts Council, Transportation Services and Office of the Physical Plant.

Speakers will include Dr. Denice Wardrop, director of the Sustainability Institute, Leslie Pillen, sustainable student farm design coordinator, Tom Fountaine, State College Borough manager, and a student representative.

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a program of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. The program matches sustainability needs of community partners with the expertise of existing University courses. Collaborative teams of faculty, students and local leaders work together to define and carry out projects. 

The Sustainable Food Systems Program is an interdisciplinary initiative working to develop a food systems minor and a campus-based farm that will support engaged scholarship and innovation across a range of sustainability topics, including production, design, nutrition, marketing and community engagement.

The Green Teams and Green Paws Programs are also initiatives of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. Both provide platforms and equip employees with resources to address sustainability issues in their offices and beyond with opportunities to develop personally and professionally along the way.

For more details about the event, contact Michele Halsell at or by phone at 814-867-4578. For more about sustainability efforts at Penn State, please visit

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