The Sustainability Institute works collaboratively with the entire Penn State community to ensure the institutionalization of sustainability across our colleges, campuses, communities, and the state of Pennsylvania. Sustainability Councils throughout the university system are supported by the SI to build resilient, inclusive, and sustainable communities on our campuses and across the world.
College Sustainability Councils
Each college, campus and unit at Penn State is invited to create a Sustainability Council. The purpose of the Sustainability Council is to strategically advance the University’s sustainability goals from within its unit. Each Sustainability Council is headed by a Chair and composed of faculty, staff, students and stakeholders. Councils are seated by the Dean or Chancellor to provide leadership and ensure their college/campus is sustainable in all efforts, including research, teaching and operations. Chairs play a key role in identifying short- and long- term sustainability goals and strategies, creating a sustainability charter for the unit, and aligning the unit’s unique mission and goals with the sustainable development goals of UN Agenda 2030. On the page linked below is a regularly updated list of current councils, chairs and charters.
For several years, the Commonwealth Campus sustainability champions, representing a diverse spectrum of roles, have gathered each May to share updates about their initiatives and learn best practices from each other. Through these events, the Sustainability Institute recognized the rich pool of experiences and innovations eminating from the campuses and sought a way to spur routing idea exhange. In Fall 2020, we connected the champions and the members of their councils and green teams using the Microsoft Teams platform and are also working to foster communications between this network and the College Sustainability Councils to further progress on sustainability Penn State wide.
Sustainable Operations Council
Chartered in 2016, the Sustainable Operations Council serves to integrate sustainability as a core business strategy that strengthens and accelerates the ability of Penn State Finance and Business (F&B) and other units to provide quality service. The SOC has since brought together diverse perspectives and expertise to enhance sustainability efforts of F&B as well as additional units and groups within the university, including Penn State Athletics, Smeal College of Business, University Faculty Senate, and student representatives. SOC members have been involved with more than 140 projects and initiatives to advance sustainable operations at Penn State through efforts focused on energy savings, food waste reduction, renewable energy, recycling and waste initatives, sustainable purchasing strategies, transportation, sustainability literacy and teaching, and many others.