The Sustainability Institute catalyzes connections between people and groups in order to help partners build and enhance their programming in a way that effectively and thoroughly advances literacy and action related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to supporting units in these efforts, the Institute is also home to a variety of programs, SI Signature Programs, that are led by the Institute’s staff and aimed at achieving specific goals related to the mission and values of the Sustainability Institute and Penn State:

Student Farm at Penn State

The Sustainable Food Systems Program views our own Penn State campus food system as a living laboratory for engagement in sustainable food and agricultural systems. We link classroom education with experiential learning, student-led research and community outreach.

We grow plants, and so much more… growing minds, growing community, and growing food! Core components of the SFSP include a working Student Farm, a highly active Student Farm Club, the Food Bank Harvest Project, partnership with the Lion’s Pantry and course collaborations across Penn State academics and operations. The SFSP is a launching point for conversation about many issues, including food security, food waste, and other pressing issues of our time.

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Green Teams

The Sustainable Food Systems Program views our own Penn State campus food system as a living laboratory for engagement in sustainable food and agricultural systems. We link classroom education with experiential learning, student-led research and community outreach.

We grow plants, and so much more… growing minds, growing community, and growing food! Core components of the SFSP include a working Student Farm, a highly active Student Farm Club, the Food Bank Harvest Project, partnership with the Lion’s Pantry and course collaborations across Penn State academics and operations. The SFSP is a launching point for conversation about many issues, including food security, food waste, and other pressing issues of our time.

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Green Paws

The Green Paws Program is a simple, yet effective way for faculty and staff to learn how to use resources efficiently in the office and earn a Green Paws Office Certification for their efforts. The program is organized into four levels of certification that signify an office’s progression toward higher and higher levels of efficiency, health, and environmental sustainability. Through this program, Penn State is creating a baseline of stewardship best practices and working toward the University’s goal, outlined in its Sustainability Strategic Plan to “Incorporate sustainability learning opportunities into daily life across the University, including the built environment and service and program delivery.” More than 2,200 faculty and staff have started this path with the Green Paws Program.

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Sustainable Communities Collaborative

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) connects University Park faculty, students, and staff with local communities to address sustainability challenges through an engaged, collaborative effort.

Innovative University/community-based collaborations are developed to engage PSU faculty and students in existing courses from across the University with real world, community-identified projects to meet the partnering community’s sustainability priorities. Each project is a facilitated effort, involving interdisciplinary faculty expertise and students, co-led by a key community leader and the University’s SCC staff, to help develop and support thriving, healthy communities and advance student learning about the scholarship of sustainability.

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Council of Sustainable Leaders

The Council of Sustainable Leaders (CSL) is the student affiliate organization of the Penn State Sustainability Institute. We, firstly, facilitate collaborative efforts between student leaders in sustainability to further sustainability initiatives at Penn State. We use the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are broad, audacious goals that outline a vision for a better world for all, to guide this work. And, secondly, we host an annual Sustainability Showcase Series, which highlights interdisciplinary expertise in sustainability.

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PSU EcoReps

EcoReps are student educators for sustainability at Penn State’s University Park Campus. Through a focus on educating first year students in East and Pollock residence areas, we are able to communicate Penn State’s commitment to sustainability from students’ very first day on campus. The EcoReps program consists of frequent building outreach events by EcoRep groups and 6 large, team-wide events throughout the year.

The EcoReps program consists of roughly 60 EcoReps, 7 Assistant Program Coordinators, 2 Senior Program Coordinators, a program Graduate Assistant, and our 2 Program Advisers. The program is a joint effort between the Sustainability Institute and Housing.

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Intersections Film Series

Intersections. A sustainable world is one of intersections–between sustainable development goals like gender equity and climate change and between fields of study that approach these issues, from engineering to sociology to visual arts. In 2019-2020, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute offered two series of films under this theme that invite us to engage at these intersections in sustainability. Check back soon to see what we have in store for 2020-2021.

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Sustainability Showcases

The Sustainability Showcases make connections between faculty research, personal and professional interest and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals while broadening the discourse surrounding sustainability. Speakers are invited to give a thirty-minute talk, answer questions and hang around to mingle with attendees.

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SI Affiliate Program

Through its Affiliate Program, the Sustainability Institute at Penn State recognizes the extensive community of sustainability champions and doers. The affiliates listed below develop, implement, research, teach, and create art with a committed focus on sustainable solutions for all. The Institute strives to acknowledge and amplify the efforts of the following faculty, staff, students and stakeholders, and looks forward to encouraging the work of future SI Affiliates. If you are involved in sustainability research, teaching, operations, or engagement, we invite you to consider becoming an affiliate of the  Sustainability Institute at Penn State.

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