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PERC’s 2015 Fall Conference and Annual Meeting, "Building Bridges," was held at the Penn Stater in State College on Friday, October 9th. The keynote address, "Building Bridges: Partnering to Drive Sustainability Forward," was given by DEP Secretary John Quigley:  

(click the agenda links to either download the PPT from 
this session or jump to the session's summary page.)

8:00 AM...  Registration/ Networking/ Coffee and light breakfast. Poster setup.
9:00 AM...  Welcome/Intros--Josh Hooper, PERC, Susannah Barsom, Penn State
9:10 AM...  Host Institution Highlight: The UN Sustainable Development Goals: What makes this time different for Higher Ed?
9:20 AM...  PA Higher Education Food Recovery Challenge --Fewer GHGs, Less Hunger and Greater Visibility. With U.S. EPA's Luke Wolfgang and Carty McMullen, Regional VP, Sodexo.
9:50 AM...  Sponsor Spotlight: Partners in Food Waste Reduction, Deb McMahon Sodexo.
10:00 AM...  Modeling Sustainability through Higher Ed Partnerships in State Parks and Forests Mike Walsh, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
10:30 AM...  Coming Attractions--a look at PERC events coming up for the rest of the academic year.
10:45 AM...  PERC Business: Election of Executive Committee Members
11:00 AM...  Keynote-"Building Bridges" John Quigley, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. (DEP)
12:00 PM...  Lunch/ Networking/ Poster Session
1:00 PM...  Showcasing Sustainability: an interactive session w Secretary John Quigley
2:00 PM...  Panel: Selected 2015 Campus Sustainability Champions 
3:00 PM...  Option: Breakout groups on Food Systems, Climate, Water.
Tour PSU's Eco-Machine 
3:55 PM...  Closing Remarks

Keynote Speech 

"Building Bridges: Partnering to Drive Sustainability Forward"

John Quigley, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

John Quigley, Secretary, DEP

DEP is interested in finding ways that PERC schools can partner with DEP to 1) move sustainability forward and 2) mutually benefit both DEP and the Member Institutions. PERC's Executive Committee had a meeting with Mr. Quigley this summer to talk about the important role higher education can play in advancing sustainability and how we can begin to "build bridges" between DEP and the work that Pennsylvania Higher Education institutions are doing both on-campus and off. His ideas on the subject were positively invigorating; the Executive Committee invited him to give this keynote address at our annual meeting to share his thoughts. Come find out how your school can be a part of it and share your thoughts with the Secretary in the Q&A that follows his address.

Moderator: Kathy Straub, Susquehanna University

Showcasing Sustainability 
This session will feature Secretary Quigley and will seek to give him--and all the attendees--an idea of some of the sustainability work that is going on on Pennsylvania campuses. We will feature two areas of particular interest to DEP: water and climate.  The first half of this hour will be devoted
Susquehanna's Freshwater Research Initiative to campus projects that relate to water; the second will relate to climate. To get the conversation going, we will highlight two projects from each area...
  • Ken Shultes, Associate VP for Sustainability & Facilities Planning, Dickinson College will discuss the college's multi-pronged approach to climate change.
  • Brandi Robinson, Lecturer, Energy and Sustainability Policy Program, Penn State University explains the ways in which they have partnered with Pennsylvania communities to help with municipal and county-based Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
We encourage you to come prepared to talk about the work you are doing at your campus on either climate or water. Let Secretary Quigley (and your colleagues across the state) know about the water and climate projects on your campus. 
Moderator: Don Brown, Widener University Commonwealth Law School

The PA Higher Ed Food Recovery Challenge 
Fewer GHGs, Less Hunger and Greater Visibility

PERC won EPA's Endorser of the Year Award this year for this unique partnership. We'll take a look at this initiative: where it is and where it is going, recognize the participating schools and examine the benefits of getting your school involved.

Luke Wolfgang U.S. EPA Region III Sustainability Coordinator, 
Carty McMullen Regional VP, Sodexo
Josh Hooper Executive Director of PERC

Modeling Sustainability Through Partnerships in State Parks and Forests

Michael Walsh, Deputy Secretary 

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)

Find out how your school can be part of DCNR's new Sustainability Initiative! Mike Walsh is co-chair of the initiative and will discuss the full-cycle approach to sustainability at DCNR, the state agency responsible for 120 state parks and 2 million acres of forest land. As part of this work, 

Michael Walsh, DCNR Deputy SecretaryDCNR will develop partnerships with colleges and universities. Mike will also discuss a new Pennsylvania public service internship program designed to create career pathways at DCNR and other state agencies for current college students. His talk will include time for Q&A in which Mike will seek input on how to more fully engage institutions of higher learning in the Sustainability Initiative. A great way to engage your institution in this valuable opportunity.

Creating partnerships and promoting sustainability is familiar ground for Mike Walsh.  In a previous role as Deputy Secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, he created the “Pathways to Green Schools” initiative to promote a comprehensive approach to sustainability in Pennsylvania’s K-12 educational system.

Host Highlight: 
The UN Sustainable Development Goals: 
What makes this time different for Higher Ed?
Denice Wardrop, Director, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute
Denice just returned from a conference on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and was “almost dumbfounded” at the responsibilities of higher education to be a part of their implementation. Denice will talk about Penn State’s response to this challenge. 

PERC's Coming Attractions 

A brief look at some of the exciting events planned for the academic year, including...

  Building Sustainability from the Inside Out--Erik Foley and Jeremy      Bean, Penn State University
  College, Community, Climate--Donald Brown, Widener University
  Student Sustainability Symposium--Josh Hooper, PERC
  PA Power Dialog--Neil Leary, Dickinson College
  EnergyPath 2016--Kelly McCartney, The Sustainable Energy Fund

Poster Session

This year's poster session will be great chance to discover and discuss work happening in other Pennsylvania institutions. Attendees should find a wide array of topics and authors, from undergraduate to graduate to faculty to staff and many combinations thereof. Check it out! The Poster Session is made possible by a generous donation from the Sustainability Institute of Penn State University.


2015 Campus Sustainability Champions
PERC's Campus Sustainability Champion designation is a statewide effort to recognize individuals who are doing commendable work on moving sustainability forward on their campuses and communities. Four of the 2015 CSC designees will be giving an overview of their work and answering questions about how their lessons learned might apply to your campus.

Bennett Gould, student, Allegheny College. Bennett has shown student leadership in a variety of successful projects including, Bike Share, Energy Challenge, dorm ventilation and recycling.

Julie Vastine, director, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) at Dickinson College. ALLARM engages communities to use science as a tool to investigate the health of their streams and to use the data they generate for aquatic protection and restoration efforts.
Claire Rodgers, student, Bucknell University. As a senior in Mechanical Engineering, Claire has been working to advance significant energy management projects, by identifying energy waste and taking action to save energy and emissions.

Wendy Kedzierski, Director, Creek Connections at Allegheny College. Creek Connections is an effective partnership between Allegheny and K-12 schools to turn waterways into environmental labs.

Moderator: Kathy Schreiber, Millersville University

Breakout Session
Learn and share in small groups! The breakout session is a great chance to connect in small groups and breakout sessions on... 
  • Food Systems 
  • Climate and Energy 
  • Water  
During the sessions, attendees will share what is happening at their schools, learn from colleagues at other institutions, and network on collaborative efforts.

Moderator: Rich Bowden, Allegheny College 

The conference is made possible by PERC Member Institutions, our Gold Event Sponsor, Nissan, Sustaining Annual Sponsor Sodexo, Silver Annual Sponsor Schneider Electric and all of the rest of PERC's annual sponsors. Take advantage of Nissan's Test Drives of their Zero-Emission vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.

HOST Institution
The conference is hosted by Penn State's Sustainability Institute. Our thanks to them the many hours they put into bringing this conference to life.

pennsylvania's GREEN colleges                                          connect. collaborate. take action.                                                            © 2018 PERC

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