Climate change poses an existential threat to humans. Climate affects everything including weather, agriculture, health, economy, travel, supply chains and will have intergenerational impacts. Everyday we are experiencing the impacts of climate change in some part of the world.  Now is the time to act. Large institutions like Penn State University face choices about how we respond climate change: choices related to energy, preparedness, research, curriculum, co-curricular engagement, and community outreach across the Commonwealth. Various groups across the university are working to address climate issues, converging periodically to align their efforts, they are listed below.

If you are part of a Penn State group working on climate responses/action and your group is not listed, and would like to participate in this convergence, contact sustainability@psu.edu.

Climate Crossover

Crossover’s aim is to incorporate climate into classrooms, and build an interdisciplinary community of instructors to raise awareness of the intersections between climate and their work.

Learn More

Contact:

Mark Sentesy
sentesy@psu.edu

Consortium to Combat Climate Change

Building convergence in climate research, this consortium is housed in the Institutes of Energy and Environment, Office of Senior Vice President of Research. This effort intends to continue growth and explore opportunities to unify and strengthen climate research at the University.

Learn More

Contact:

Erica Smithwick
eus17@psu.edu

Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG)

On February 1, 2020 the CCSG created a Standing Sustainability Committee (CR 19-20.16) and in March 2020 hosted their first sustainability summit bringing together 120 student government representatives from 19 Commonwealth Campuses. On October 9 CCSG passed a Climate Resolution in support of the Penn State Climate Action petition. This resolution was co-sponsored by student representatives from Behrend, Brandywine, Greater Allegheny, Abington, Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg. Student Governments from Abington, Brandywine, Greater Allegheny and Scranton also put out statements demanding the administration take more aggressive action of Climate Change.

Learn More

Contact:

Matt Long
mjl6087@psu.edu
or
Gabe Schaefer
gks5181@psu.edu

Council of Sustainable Leaders (CSL)

The CSL is the student affiliate organization of the Penn State Sustainability Institute and works to facilitate collaborative efforts between student leaders in student governments, student councils, and SSAC to further sustainability initiatives at Penn State. Additionally, the organization hosts a weekly Sustainability Showcase Series, which highlights interdisciplinary expertise in sustainability.

Learn More

Contact:

Nora Van Horn
eus17@psu.edu

Penn State Climate Action

Penn State Climate Action is a coalition of dedicated and passionate Penn State students that came together to push for meaningful change and a sustainable Penn State future. They are calling for a future where Penn State takes responsibility for its climate impacts, contributes to formative educational experiences, and empowers its diverse community to take action for the betterment of our community and planet.

Learn More

Contact:

Divya Jain
dzj5165@psu.edu
or
Joshua Adams
jta5274@psu.edu

Penn State Faculty Senate

Resolution Climate Action resolution April 2020, and follow up with five Senate Committees.

Learn More

Contact:

Beth Seymour
Faculty Senate President
ems22@psu.edu
or
Brandi Robinson
bjn151@psu.edu

PS CaN  (Penn State Carbon Negative)

Since fall 2019, a group of 20+ faculty and OPP staff working on initiatives to present to President Baron as options toward a Carbon Negative (CaN) goal.

Penn State Carbon Negative co-leads: Charlie Anderson, Margot Kaye, Tom Richard, and Tim White.

Contact:

Charlie Anderson, Co-Chair
cta3@psu.edu

Margot Kaye
mwk12@psu.edu

Tom Richard, Co-Chair
tlr20@psu.edu

Tim White
tsw113@psu.edu

The Penn State Student Sustainability Council (SSAC)

The SSAC is composed of students who are appointed by President Barron to serve as an advisory board to senior staff regarding sustainability. The group is comprised of three working groups focused on Carbon Neutrality, Zero-Waste and Sustainability Education.

Learn More

Contact:

Lydia Carey
lmc6127@psu.edu
or
Elie Wagner
erw5278@psu.edu

University Athletics

Exploring the UN Sports and Climate Action Framework

Starting in late 2020, a group in Intercollegiate Athletics is working to build on their existing sustainability initiatives and further the University’s sustainability mission using the strength of the Athletics program.

Learn More

Contact:

Carl Heck
ckh5446@psu.edu

The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA)

The UPUA is Penn State University Park’s undergraduate student government. During the UPUA’s 14th Assembly in Spring 2020, UPUA Director of Sustainability Nora Van Horn created the Department of Sustainability within the executive branch of the UPUA. This department has taken a primary role in shaping the organization and its advocacy. The head of the Department, the Executive Director of Sustainability, serves as a member of the UPUA President’s Cabinet and advises the University Park Student Body President and Vice President on matters pertaining to sustainability.

In collaboration with the Department of Sustainability, the UPUA’s General Assembly has passed legislation in support of the Faculty Senate Climate Action resolution (Resolution #05-15), the Demands made by the PSU Climate Action Petition (Resolution #38-15), and The Energy Innovation Carbon Dividend Act (Resolution #43-15). The UPUA’s Assembly also purchased Penn State University Park’s PLAN (Post-Landfill Action Network) Membership (Bill #04-15). UPUA President Zachary McKay has also signed the Students for Carbon Dividends Statement and called for Climate Action and Justice at Penn State through a video address to the public on the International Day of Climate Action.

Learn More

Contact:

Rene Richardson
Acting Executive Director of Sustainability
renerich@psu.edu
or
sustainability@upua.org

Zach McKay
UPUA President
zpm4@psu.edu