PERC Campus Sustainability Champions
(Each category is listed in alphabetical order by last name
with links to each Champion's profile)
Julian Jones and Johanna Hripto
Penn State University, University Park
Montgomery County Community College
Franklin and Marshall College
Lebanon Valley College
Penn State University, University Park
Millersville University of Pennsylvania /Sustainable Dining at Millersville
Lebanon Valley College
Faculty/ Staff Awardees
Dr Sean Cornell was born with the Sustainability DNA. His sustainable involvements are wide spread through-out the Ship Campus. Dr Cornell was a critical component towards the grant, design, and eventual construction of the Luhrs (Campus elementary School) integrated compost and rainwater collection system. Recently, Dr Cornell helped secure a $65K grant for shoreline restoration projects at the Greenbackville Fields in Virginia. The grant not only funds materials for the restoration, but the involvement of multiple PASSHE Students. Many members of the campus, associate Sean with the organic campus Farm. He can be seen on the farm regularly lending his expertise and muscle. Tilling, Planting, Cultivating, Irragating and Harvesting produce, Sean is involved in every step. In the dog days of July when support is scarce, you will frequently find Sean covered in rich Pennsylvania soil from head to toes. Most times, he is unrecognizable! Sean was very much involved in creating the composting system, pallet beds, raised beds, and the arduous task of building our Greenhouse.
Dr. Jerry Coleman, Associate Professor of Biology at Montgomery County Community College is an active participant in the Biology department, and he has been influential in establishing the new Environmental Studies major and he assists the mentoring to the College’s Environmental Sustainability Club.
Dr. Coleman recently acquired a small Federal grant as resource to his Honors Colloquium: Campus Trees. Throughout this course, a majority of the trees on the Montgomery County Community College were surveyed. Each tree was identified by species and had specific properties measured including the height, the live top, and crown height. A shipment of fifty bare root trees were added with the funding. Through the completion of this course project, Montgomery County Community College’s total greenhouse gas emissions have the potential of being reduced. As the surveying occurred, it was possible to record not just the types of trees on the campus grounds and their locations, but also make assumptions as to the overall health of the trees. As the trees grow, they will take in the copious quantities of Carbon Dioxide that are released from the gas exhausts from vehicles driven around the campus.
By continuing to expand the planting of trees, Montgomery County is capable of exponentially reducing its carbon footprint thanks to Dr. Coleman’s efforts of teaching by example.
Annalisa maintains a very, very sustainable lifestyle and sets an example for the college! Here are a few examples...
• With five people living in her home, last year they put out only seventeen 30-gallon trash cans at the curb.
• This year, as of September 15, they have put eight 30-gallon trash cans at the curb. This is a pace of 11 cans of incinerator-destined trash for the year.
• They have no paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates (etc) in our home; using cloth napkins (with individual napkin rings, so they reuse napkins until they are dirty, then washing them). They use cut-up t-shirts, placed in handy wicker baskets around the house, for clean-up rags and tissues.
• They compost all food scraps that the teenagers or the dog don't get to first.
• With five people living in the home, they have one car (a 2001 Prius) and nine bikes. The vast majority of personal transportation is people-powered (walking or biking).
• For example, when they take their sons to their medical and dental appointments, they all go by bike. She walks to work, and they walk or bike to church.
• She uses a bike trailer to pick up large amounts of food (dog food, or our Thanksgiving Turkey).
• She has no air-conditioners at home, including no window units. In 2009, they super-insulated the house and now during the summer use "passive solar cooling". (That is, they close up the house during the day, and open it up at night, using a whole-house fan to draw warm air out of the attic.)
• Much of their food comes bulk-purchased from local sources. She bulk-purchase local organic grains, beans, and also meats (although her husband and sons buy store-brand meats, as well).
• They can locally grown cherries, blueberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes, apples, pickled okra (a favorite!), and a few other local foods as they become ripe.
• They have a modest garden in the yard, including five fruit-bearing trees.
Creek Connections is a collaboration between Allegheny and schools in the region for the purpose of encouraging natural science education through hands-on field and laboratory experiences. College faculty and students provide the framework and assistance for classroom-based investigative research in regional watersheds. To assist area teachers with bringing watershed education successfully into the classroom, Creek Connections provides numerous resources to participating teachers. Allegheny College students and staff act as liaisons to schools to assist teachers with the ongoing water quality monitoring, data analysis, macroinvertebrate sampling, independent research project procedures, Student Research Symposium preparation, and classroom presentations. Allegheny College students may even become mentors for the middle and high school students because of their school visits during the year.Creek Connections provides teachers with a start up package of water quality test kits and accessories, handbooks, field manuals, nets, and topographic maps. Each school year, teachers have also been provided a stipend to spend on waterway research materials for student designed projects or on classroom aids – anything to help them teach about their watershed in the classroom. In addition to this equipment, Creek Connections also provides: published materials, handbooks, videos, workshops, newsletters, and this website.
Creek Connections has received numerous awards: 2014 French Creek Valley Conservancy – Friend of French Creek, 2010 Carnegie Science Awards for Special Achievement in Environmental Education, 2009 Carnegie Science Awards Honorable Mention for University/Post-Secondary Educator Category, 2008 Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) Environmental Education Program Award, The 1988 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence 1998, 2006 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award Finalist, 1999 Three Rivers Environmental Award “Finalist” in Higher Education Category, 1998 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, 1997 Pledge and a Promise Environmental Education Award, Anheuser-Busch Sea World / Busch Gardens, 1997 Conservation Educator of the Year Award, Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation, 1996 Excellence in Education Finalist, Consolidated Natural Gas Foundation
Mrs. Lenthe is new to the Villanova Community, but that has not stopped her from running full steam ahead. Mrs. Lenthe serves as Villanova’s Director of Environmental Health and Safety. She has made it a point to overlap her efforts with Villanova’s commitment to sustainability, by ensuring hazardous materials are disposed of properly, and that all light bulbs are collected and recycled. In addition, Mrs. Lenthe now serves on the President’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, and has started a new working group to develop and implement a green lab certification program, which was just launched in August, 2015. Mrs. Lenthe brought together members the sciences and engineering to develop this rating system, and conferred with other universities with similar programs to develop Villanova’s green labs program. This progress would not have been possible without Mrs. Lenthe’s hard work and determination. To learn more about the green lab certification visit our website.
Dr. Dave Mortensen’s research and teaching focus on deepening our understanding of ecologically-informed weed management in agriculture and wildlands. His research and outreach team is engaged in assessing sustainable weed management and ecological restoration methods for managing invasive plants. His group also researches methods for quantifying pollinator-plant interactions as part of an effort to identify methods of managing provisioning plants and the bees that depend on them. His ecologically-based research can be found in international journals, as well as in Congressional testimony and briefings.
At Penn State, Mortensen is faculty advisor for the Student Community Garden, co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Student Sustainable Farm and the Food Systems Curriculum, and Faculty Fellow in the Sustainability Institute. An award-winning teacher and researcher, Mortensen is committed to his role as an educator, and is known for his creative and supportive teaching and mentorship. He teaches Principles of Weed Management, Plant Ecology and Ecology of Agricultural Systems, and has chaired the Intercollege Graduate Program in Ecology.
Dr. Mortensen serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and previously served on Rodale Institute's Science Advisory Panel; he is an advocate for sustainability in these roles and in the academy.
Dining takes a multi-faceted approach to supporting the sustainability mission of Millersville University. Our commitment to the community encompasses conservation, education, operations and purchasing.
Our staff actively participates as a member of the Sustainability Committee and supports the annual Earth Day and Sustainability programs. We focus on “green” cleaning products, fair trade and organic coffee and recycling of our frying oils as fuel by our prime vendor. We have partnered with vendors when purchasing products that are locally grown. Our ever-popular Juice Bar uses 100% vine-ripened fresh fruit. The coffee served in three of our retail locations is provided by a Sustainable Fair Trade coffee company who utilizes green packaging and sustainable manufacturing techniques.
Our composting partnership with a local farm has diverted 68 tons of waste from the landfill on an annual basis. Collaboration with Facilities results in 60 tons of recycling, furthering our environmentally friendly focus.
Reusable Hydration Station water bottles were introduced to all first-year students during Orientation in an effort to decrease the use of plastic water bottles. Our reusable take out containers are now available at both residential dining rooms.
Learn more about our sustainable dining program at:http://www.millersville.edu/sustainability/sustainable-campus/dining-and-conferences-services.php
Dr. Robert Valgenti is an associate professor of Philosophy at Lebanon Valley College. He teaches courses on ethics and philosophy, actively translates Italian philosophy into English, and is published in the areas of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures) and contemporary Italian philosophy. He has also taught a class on Environmental Ethics, which questioned how eating habits can impact the environment.
In 2013, Valgenti founded the E.A.T. (Engage, Analyze, Transform) Program at LVC. This program is an undergraduate research group that uses data-driven studies to promote and evaluate the goals of environmental sustainability as well as ethical reasoning, intercultural competency, and healthful living. Collaborating with LVC’s Metz Culinary Group, E.A.T. has conducted research to create better initiatives to support environmental sustainability. In its first year, E.A.T. began to measure food waste twice a week, and then displayed the results of how much food was truly thrown away. This realization inspired students to take less food. By December 2014, food waste was down 19%, and food costs went down by 9.4 cents a plate. Valgenti has created a program that has started an environmental movement, educating and inspiring students to waste less and develop healthy eating habits.
Julie Vastine, Executive Director of Dickinson’s Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM), has been working with community groups across Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York to help the groups monitor and protect their local waters. A passionate advocate for and expert in the methods of citizen science, Julie has expanded and enriched ALLARM’s work of engaging Dickinson students in providing training and technical support to community watershed volunteers, empowering the volunteers and their organizations to collect, interpret and apply scientific data to achieve their goals. The benefits to communities and waters of the region, and the hands-on skill development afforded to the Dickinson students who staff ALLARM, make Julie a Campus Sustainability Champion.
Bennett has worked in the Office of Sustainability for three years and consistently delivers positive-minded, action oriented, thoughtful and productive work. This year he will run the four-week annual Energy Challenge, from reading meters to calculating results to advertising progress and final results while the Sustainability Coordinator is on maternity leave.
He has been instrumental in reviving a failing Bike Share program, from assessing the inventory of our maintenance shop, creating an extensive tool and supply order, building the fleet of bikes from two to over a dozen, crafting a bike trailer, and developing a constitution, protocols, and systems which will help the program remain strong in the future.
Bennett is unique from other students in his understanding of quantitative and technical aspects, implications of budget, politics and logistics inherent in sustainability issues. For example, Bennett developed a concise but detailed proposal to add humidistats to dorm ventilation fans including calculations of savings related to electricity as well as natural gas for heating. Plans were immediately approved to have our electricians install humidistats on every ventilation fan in one dorm. Since then, Bennett has developed another proposal to add outdoor recycling receptacles across campus which was similarly welcomed by our maintenance director.
Marie-Noelle Nwokolo, a senior international and business and management major at Dickinson College, organized multiple screenings for the Dickinson College campus and Carlisle community of the documentary Poverty Inc. and also led a student panel discussion of the documentary. The film and panel sparked a conversation at the start of the semester about global aid systems – who benefits, who does not, and are there more effective ways to help people in developing nations? Like Marie-Noelle’s service trips to aid Hurricane Katrina victims in Macon, Ga, and to engage in issues faced by the homeless in Washington, D.C., the conversation initiated by Marie-Noelle weaves together social justice, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Her activism and efforts to educate our community make Marie-Noelle a Campus Sustainability Champion.
Michelle has dedicated countless hours to sustainability projects at Susquehanna University. She is the campus's Sustainability Service Scholar, works at the campus garden, serves on the Sustainability Committee, organizes sustainability programming including the Sustainability House, river cleanups, food waste displays, reusable water bottle campaigns, and more. Michelle is the center of sustainability action on Susquehanna's campus, and we will miss her dearly when she graduates!
Julian Jones and Johanna Hripto are senior Biology majors (ecology tract with an environmental science and sustainability minors). They have both been a member of the Lycoming College Sustainability Committee for 4 years and has served as one of three student coordinators for 2 years (http://www.lycoming.edu/sustainability/). Their efforts have been integral to the completion of the yearly update to the Environmental audit for the college, the annual Recycle mania participation and especially the success of the TeraCycle and Food Recovery Network (FRN) programs. Julian has been the leader in food recovery where she has coordinated the recovery of over 30,000 lbs. of leftover food from the college dining services and delivered them to a local food pantry/kitchen maintained by the American Rescue Workers. Johanna has coordinated and expanded the recycling efforts at the college. Both students work to host the regional meeting of FRN at Lycoming and attended the national conference in Georgia. The efforts where recognized last spring by Lycoming College when they were awarded the Outstanding Community Service Award at the annual leadership and service awards banquet. Students and faculty participated in the nomination and vote.
Claire Rodgers, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, has been working with Bucknell Facilities to advance significant energy management projects for the past two years. As part of the energy management team, she regularly contributes to the overall success of the energy management program at BU. By analyzing energy systems data using numerous types of software and monitoring platforms, Claire identifies energy waste within building systems operations and takes action, both personally and through delegation, to optimize performance saving energy and emissions. She further analyzes data, and prepares reports for facilities executives quarterly.
Claire's work has included energy auditing of buildings, and identification of energy management opportunities that she's turned into real projects, such as the following:
An xray chiller project where she found an inefficient operation and devised and managed the installation of a water efficient alternative saving over 600,000 gal/yr.
A steam decentralization project which is saving 3 million gal/yr of water.
A customized LED retrofit for Kinney Natatorium where she provided the testing for proposed fixtures and field surveyed the lighting quality pre and post installation, including payback analysis.
Claire is now a LEED Green Associate and is participating in meetings for the University's five new LEED buildings.
Victoria Gluszko is a student leader whose vision and insight has made her central to Lebanon Valley College’s sustainability efforts. Now a senior, Victoria has been active on campus since she arrived in her sophomore year. She has lead student and college wide initiatives, and has conducted her own independent research as part of the E.A.T. Research Group. She has taken on roles as the student representative for the LVC Earth Days Committee, student representative on the campus’ Sustainability Advisory Committee, and student representative for the Sustainability Institute, which works to foster connections through sustainability projects and training between LVC and local municipalities. In 2014 she won the campus’ Sustainability Oratorical Contest, in which she eloquently defended an eco-centric philosophy of the environment. For the E.A.T. Research group, she began a feasibility study that examined the possibilities for sustainable campus agriculture through an analysis of similarly sized colleges and their agriculture initiatives. In 2015-16, she is continuing this work by developing a team of campus stakeholders who will discuss and develop possible plans of action for sustainable agriculture on LVC’s campus. During the summer of 2015, Victoria worked as the student intern for the Pennsylvania Municipal League's Sustainable Pennsylvania program.
Taylor Ryan is majoring in Community, Environment and Development at Penn State, and minoring in Sustainability Leadership. She is an outreach education intern at the MorningStar solar home, where she facilitates visitor engagement at this net-zero-energy facility. Ms. Ryan is also a research assistant working on the development of a Pennsylvania Natural Resources Leadership Institute program that focuses on developing collaborative leadership across a variety of natural resource stakeholders.
Ms. Ryan serves as president of Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions (IDEAS) a student organization affiliated with the non-profit, UN-accredited organization that focuses on local solutions for global issues. She was also appointed by Penn State’s president to serve on the Student Sustainability Advisory Council, a committee that provides sustainability policy recommendations to the University administration.
Ms. Ryan’s activities have changed her understanding of sustainability, leading to an interest in sustainability in travel and tourism. After a study trip to Iceland with The GREEN Program—with its focused on renewable energy, sustainability, and ecotourism—she began volunteering as a campus outreach coordinator and representative for that program, becoming a study-abroad mentor and using her skills to support student groups and to challenge them to thrive outside of their comfort zone.