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 Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

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PERC NEWS

This page features sustainability-related news from PERC Member Campuses.

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  • 17 Sep 2019 9:07 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    WCU Climate Emergency Week

    WCU is providing many opportunities this week to learn about and to take action on the climate crisis. Join us and other WCU students, faculty, and staff as we learn more about the challenges posed by the climate crisis at home and around the globe.


    WEDNESDAY

    Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar

    Join us this semester in welcoming scholars and practitioners from across campus as we explore the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. This week we'll be hearing from the Dr. Karl Hausker from the World Research Institute on Zero-Net Emissions by 2050: Climate Realities and Challenges. The Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar is held weekly on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 12:50 pm in Sykes 255 A/B. Students, faculty, and community members are all welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

    Live Streaming of the presentation will be provided by Kristin Herman of WCU’s Distance  Education Office via a Zoom website connection at https://wcupa.zoom.us/j/8729284546.


    THURSDAY

    The 3rd Annual Environmental Sustainability Film Series

    BIKES VS CARS 

    Coming up on Thursday of this week, the first film in a series of four will be screened in the Sykes Student Union Theater as a part of the 3rd Annual Environmental Sustainability Film Series. This first film will be Bikes vs Cars, a story about the struggle for space and rights on the road by cyclists and motorists alike. The film screening will begin at 6pm and admission is free. This event is open to the public and is sponsored by the WCU Office of Sustainability, the West Chester Green Team, and members of the Chester County Environmental Alliance.


    FRIDAY

    Rally to Support the Climate Strike

    Friday, a rally will be held at the Chester Country Courthouse to stand together with climate strikes taking place across the globe that same day. These strikes have been organized to fall just three days prior to the UN Climate Summit being convened in NY City on September 23rd. The rally in West Chester will take place at 11am, but for those on campus, RUCCAS (Rustin Urban Community Change Axis) will be walking down with a group leaving from the entrance of Main Hall at 10:45am. 

    FRIDAY

    Park(ing) Day

    On Friday West Chester University will participate in an international Park(ing) Day event where urban parking space is reimagined. From 8:30am to 4p on Church Street near Rosedale Ave, a parking space will be creatively transformed into small scale parks. Walk over and check it out and maybe find inspiration for how urban space could be utilized!

     

    SATURDAY 12 PM 

    International Day of Peace

    The theme for the 2019 International Day of Peace is "Climate Action for Peace," and the United Nations is calling on everyone to take action. In West Chester, a commemoration of the International Day of Peace will be held at the Chester County Courthouse from 12pm to 1pm, sponsored by the Chester County Peace Movement.


    SATURDAY 2PM

    March for Peace & Climate

    Directly following the official commemoration of the International Day of Peace, a March for Peace & Climate will be taking place, leaving from the Chester County Courthouse and continuing on for 4 blocks to the Unitarian Congregation. Speakers at the march will include Senator Andy Dinniman, Pipeline Activist Ginny Kerslake, former Mayor Jordan Norley, Environmental Activist Isaac Harte, Clean Water Activist Maurice Sampson II, Peace Advocate Jen Karsten, members of the Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, & powerful Youth Leaders from across Chester County. Mayor Dianne Herrin will give a welcome and there will be live music provided by Rev Dan Schatz. Refreshments will be provided by the West Chester Cooperative. 


    AORE Campus Challenge

    Brought to you by WCU's Outdoor Adventure Pursuits, the AORE Campus Challenge is kicking off today and running through October 13th!  The challenge is aimed at simply getting people outdoors, which is especially relevant as we enter into a week long series of events to raise climate change awareness.  98 schools across the country are competing and you can be a part of helping put WCU on the map! Just download the AORE Campus Challenge App and post your outdoor activities any time during the next four weeks.  This could be as simple as your morning walk or bike ride to work, a weekend hike or stroll with your dog, or as adventurous as joining the OAP program on their fall Mountain Biking Trip on September 28th. Just get outside!


    AORE Campus Challenge - 24 Hour Adventure Race

    As part of the month long AORE Campus Challenge, WCU's Outdoor Adventure Pursuits is hosting a 24 Hour Adventure Race this Friday evening from 6pm to 9pm at the Quad.  There's going to be live music, games, and food as participants go head to head with schools across the country to see who can get the most people outside and active. Contact outdoorpursuits@wcupa.edu with questions.


    Perils of Plastics

    with Dr. Sherri Mason

    The Stroud Water Research Center will host a fascinating lecture on Sunday, September 22, 2019 by Dr. Sherri Mason titled Perils of Plastics.  Dr. Mason will present her groundbreaking research at this time on the identification of the presence of microbeads and microfibers in fresh water, and the associated dangers of these findings.  Doors will open at 4 pm at the Stroud Water Research Center's Meetinghouse and the lecture itself will begin at 4:45 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Jessica Provinski with questions.



  • 16 Sep 2019 1:17 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Please Join Us for the Climate Awareness Walkout September 20th!


    On September 20th Lebanon Valley College will be participating in the climate awareness walkout and rally. This event will be held at Annville Town Square from 1-3 PM. The goal of this rally is to raise awareness about climate change and demand political leaders to take action. Some solutions this rally is advocating for include state and federal government action supporting renewable energy, banning fracking in Pennsylvania, ending public subsidies to fossil fuel interests in PA and supporting LVC’s Climate Action Plan. For more information contact lvcclimatestrike@gmail.com. For more information on the Week of Climate Action, visit http://350.com or http://strikewithus.org


  • 13 Sep 2019 2:12 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    PERC's Fall Intern!

    PERC has added a new member to the team. Marcus Thompson is a senior environmental science major at Dickinson College and is PERC’s new Member Outreach/Social Media intern. Marcus will be contacting member schools to learn about any sustainable news or achievements. These stories will be posted onto multiple PERC social media platforms as well as the PERC website. Feel free to send any sustainability news from member schools to perc.outreach.intern@gmail.com!




  • 12 Sep 2019 1:19 PM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    REGISTER NOW! and learn how PADEP and PEER are partnering to create reliable, resilient and sustainable power systems in Pennsylvania

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    Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Energy Programs Office announced that it has partnered with PEER, the first rating system that measures and improves power system performance and electricity infrastructure. As part of this partnership, PADEP will sponsor the PEER certification of several projects in Pennsylvania.


    Join USGBC, GBCI and PADEP for a free hour-long webinar to learn about the partnership and about how energy stakeholders in the Commonwealth can use PEER to advance their grid modernization, resiliency and sustainability goals. 

     

    Pennsylvania PEER Webinar

    When: September 25, 2019 from 11:00am – 12:00 pm EST

    REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR NOW


    With PADEP's support, three to five entities in Pennsylvania will receive a free technical assessment of their power system and possible PEER certification. Eligible entities include college campuses, water/wastewater treatment plants, microgrids, rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, hospitals, emergency management headquarters, major electric utilities, and/or transit systems.


    Energy professionals, policy makers, utility providers, engineering and design professionals, business and industrial leaders who are interested in learning about the partnership and PEER should attend.

    About PEER

    PEER encourages the adoption of reliable, resilient and sustainable practices, and helps utilities and campuses solve aging infrastructure, find cost savings, share best practices, build for resiliency and enhance tracking to determine and prevent failures. PEER evaluates and verifies a power system’s performance and, through certification, celebrates industry leaders who are improving their efficiency, day-to-day reliability and overall resiliency and who are preparing for severe events, such as flooding and hurricanes.


    The overarching goals of the program are to help modernize our energy infrastructure, reduce global emissions, make our communities more resilient, improve the safety and security of our energy systems, create new green jobs in the electricity industry and catalyze economic growth at all levels.


    The Pennsylvania PEER project is funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from the US Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. The webinar is the first in a series of education and outreach events to educate customers, stakeholders and policy makers. For more information, contact Heidi Kunka at hkunka@pa.gov.


  • 04 Sep 2019 8:51 AM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    Please Join Us at the Sunrise Movement Training Session Sept. 7th & 8th!

    Students concerned about the climate crisis and looking to take meaningful action now are invited to join the Sunrise Movement at its Northeast Regional Summit.  From September 7th-9th, 2019 Sunrisers will gather in Providence, Rhode Island for a climate activist training. The summit will be an opportunity to meet other regional hub members and build community across the movement.  Attendees will be trained in Sunrise's message as well as communications strategy, action planning, fundraising, creating partnerships, and other core skills in building a powerful grassroots movement to tackle the climate crisis.  This is one of Sunrise's biggest trainings yet! For more information please go visit their website or contact the local group of Sunrisers at sunrisemvntwestchester@gmail.com.


  • 13 Aug 2019 8:29 AM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    DEP Seeking Interns to Work with Communities on Climate Change

    PADEP (Pennsylvania Department of EnvironmentalProtection) is trying to recruit upper-level undergraduate or graduate students for their local government climate action assistance program.  Below is their scope of work for this program. The PADEP is currently seeking students for the fall semester, but will eventually also be looking for students for the spring semester 2020.  Any senior-level or graduate student who needs to complete an internship for college credit or a capstone project as part of their coursework would be fair game to participate. A whole class could also take on one or two local governments, as part of their coursework, so that format is another to consider.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach for engaging students in this program. The PADEP is open to your ideas and what works for your university/college.


    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released an updated Climate Action Plan (CAP) in April 2019, the fourth version of the strategy.  Recognizing the need for the Commonwealth and local governments to lead by example, the Commonwealth desires to ignite a movement of local government climate action to both mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address impacts of extreme weather events already impacting local Pennsylvania communities.

     

    One strategy to reduce the long-term impacts caused by climate change is to reduce GHG emissions. Establishing a baseline and comparative GHG measurement is a fundamental first step for a city, town or county committed to reducing carbon emissions. Once the baseline of emissions and opportunities for mitigation is known, a set of GHG mitigation actions can be identified and evaluated. This evaluation and prioritization of actions to reduce emissions is core to developing a CAP.

     

    In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, many local governments have yet to complete GHG inventories or climate action plans. In partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) will guide a group of up to 20 Pennsylvania local governments and college students as they complete GHG inventories using a common accounting methodology, ClearPath, which is a cloud-based tool.  Additionally, the cohort of local governments and college students will be guided through the process of developing a local CAP to mitigate emissions and engage community members.  DEP will work with PA universities & colleges to try and match a student with each participating local government, so they can be assisted in the process of developing their GHG inventories and CAPs.

     

    ICLEI will provide software, live webinar sessions with open Q&A, one-on-one technical assistance as needed, self-paced e-learning modules, facilitated peer networking, and guidance through specific tasks for target setting, forecasting emission reductions, identifying benefits and costs of mitigation actions, and strategies to engage community members.

     

    The ability of local governments to complete their inventories and CAPs is highly dependent on (1) the availability of data to complete the inventory, and (2) the level of participation of the local government staff member and/or college student. 

     

    Timeline:  We anticipate matching students with local governments by the end of August 2019.  The kick-off call with all participating local governments & students will be held in late August/early September.  All work must be completed by June 30, 2020.

     

    Time Commitments:  For fall semester, the student would need 40-90 hours to complete the GHG inventory.  The time requirement is dependent on how much the local government actually wants to assist/co-lead the effort with the student, as well as how readily-accessible the data is from utilities.  For spring semester (climate action plan cohort), the students would need to devote approximately 10-15 hours per week. All of this work can be done remotely, so the student does not need to be located near the county or municipality they are assisting.  However, we do have money in our budget for ICLEI to reimburse students for mileage, if they do want to meet with their local government in person or attend a Township/Borough meeting. 


    If you are interested please contact Heidi Kunka at the PA DEP! hkunka@pa.gov



  • 10 Aug 2019 12:03 PM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    Upcoming Event: Register NOW for BE.Hive Interactive Summit at Dickinson College on October 5th!

    Over the last 30 years, climate change has emerged as the most pressing threat to our species and to life on our planet. Human behavior lies at the center of this issue, both as the problem and the solution. At the BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change, you will learn about the latest academic insights from behavioral science, get inspired by the world’s leading environmentalists, be ignited by artists, storytellers, and explorers, and identify some of the greatest opportunities for shifting human behavior to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


    Whether you’re looking to change yourself, nudge your peers, transform higher education sustainability efforts, train the next generation of conservationists, or move society, please join a community of environmental change-makers, behavioral scientists, conservationists, designers and thought leaders at this this one-day summit at the dynamic intersection of behavior-centered design and climate change. Dickinson College invites sustainability professionals and students to join them in rethinking the project and program development for transformational change.


    Register today and join us for BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change, a one-day summit to explore global climate change through the lens of human behavior and establish college campuses as the front line of global climate action.


    https://give.rare.org/event/be-hive-dickinson-2019/e233289



  • 30 Jul 2019 7:59 PM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    Listen to a Talk of Clean Energy Inspiration from the South

    Looking for some inspiring regional stories around the transition to clean energy? We recently contributed to this 30-minute episode of Broken Ground, a new podcast from our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center. The episode takes a look at the progress and potential of solar-powered schools in Virginia, and includes powerful stories of school leaders taking part in our transition to clean energy—including the first Virginia school district to be 100% solar-powered.

    Listen to the episode here.

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  • 22 Apr 2019 6:22 PM | Bandarenko Alex (Administrator)

    Lebanon Valley College Recognized By EPA As Top Green Power User In The Middle Atlantic Conference In 2018-19 

    Lebanon Valley College announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized it as an Individual Conference Champion in the 2018-19 College and University Green Power Challenge. Lebanon Valley College currently uses more green power than any other school in the Middle Atlantic Conference. Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power use within the program. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that uses the largest amount of green power in a qualifying conference. Lebanon Valley College beat its conference rivals by using 10 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity use. Lebanon Valley College is procuring a utility green power product from Constellation. This commitment to green power demonstrates a sustainable choice that helps to reduce the negative health impacts of air emissions including those related to ozone, fine particles, acid rain, and regional haze.

    According to the U.S. EPA, LVC's green power use of 10 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 1,000 average American homes annually.

    In the 2018-19 challenge, the 35 collegiate conferences and 109 schools competing collectively used nearly 3.6 billion kWh of green power. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to any collegiate athletic conference in the United States. To qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least two schools that qualify as Green Power Partners, and the conference must collectively use at least 10 million kWh of green power. EPA will restart the 14th season of the College and University Green Power Challenge in fall 2019 and conclude it in spring 2020. For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/greenpower/college-and-university-challenge.




  • 17 Apr 2019 11:29 AM | Pat Manion (Administrator)

    PERC Interns Attend 2019 Spring Conference

    This past April 9th, the PERC interns had the pleasure of attending the PERC 2019 Spring Conference and Annual Meeting. The theme of the day was “Blueprint for the Future,” which was reinforced throughout the day by the numerous accomplished speakers and leaders in sustainability efforts who shared what they had to say with the conference attendees. Each speaker had much to say about each of their subjects, simultaneously raising awareness of our current state in combating the impact of climate change, and inspiring our outlook on how we can go about combating those impacts.

    The day for us started at the crack of dawn, with Tom Simpson, Franklin & Marshall’s Sustainability Coordinator, picking us up for our early morning drive to the conference. We arrived at State College just in time to help set up and shortly after enjoyed a light breakfast whilst making introductions with numerous PERC members. The conference kicked off at 9 a.m. with warm welcome from Josh Hooper, PERC’s Executive Director and Ben Culbertson, PERC’s President. Shortly after, Brian Noonan of Brookfield Renewable offered an in-depth sponsor’s perspective, that offered a variety of information on the benefits of hydro power in times where adopting green energy is becoming more and more urgent.

    After, Paul Shrivastava, Penn State’s Chief Sustainability Officer, gave a powerful presentation on the current state of Pennsylvania’s efforts toward sustainable developments, discussing how we can improve through addressing particular issues as a state. He went over the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, a theme brought up many times throughout the rest of the day. (For the master PowerPoint of the entire conference day click here!)

    Following that, a panel including Caroline Fox, Jeffrey Brownson, and Lisa Davis discussed the state of sustainable development in Pennsylvania. Moving on from there, Ted Monk, the Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for Sodexo North America discussed Sodexo’s efforts toward the Sustainable Development Goals. Following that, a panel discussing how our member colleges and universities work with Pennsylvania cities to meet targets for sustainable development was led by Shauna Barnhart, Ilona Ballreich, and Olivia Termini.

    Lunch was served and then the Keynote commenced. John Quigley, the founding Director of the Center for Environment, Energy & Economy and Lecturer in Sustainability at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and formerly the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, shared his thoughts about the present and future state of sustainability in Pennsylvania, his past experiences with the roles he filled over the years, and what roles we could play moving forward. After the Keynote, a poster session ensued, where we talked to a variety of undergraduate and graduate students about their research in sustainable efforts across Pennsylvania. After that, 2019's Campus Sustainability Champions were recognized, click here to find out more about the designees.

    The final panel of the day started, and it was about operational success stories members and partners have experienced in recent times. The speakers were Nick Goodfellow, Rob Cooper, and Chris Steuer, who brought hopeful accounts on successful campus projects and how they aligned with sustainable projects in the state of Pennsylvania and the Sustainable Development Goals. Lastly, the Sustainability Cafe was held, where we all workshopped as students, faculty, and staff, and discussed how each of our respective roles in college life could be used in helping our own institutions adopt more sustainable practices, which was followed by the closing remarks of the day from Josh and Ben, after which the conference came to a close.



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