Penn State holds weeklong Earth Day events
Earth Day was Friday, April 22, and Penn State University held a number of Earth Day themed events throughout the week of April 18 – 25. Earlier in the week, some of the events included presentations, a food waste demo, an alternative vehicle display, and the showing of movies including discussions.
Two of the main events occurred near the end of the week. On Saturday, April 23, Penn State held a day long Watershed Cleanup Day that occurred throughout Centre County. The Campus and Community Sustainability Expo was another significant event at Penn State that occurred a few days after the watershed cleanup on Monday April 25 at 5 p.m. The sustainability expo included groups of students that worked on sustainability projects with community partners presenting the projects they completed over the year. Michele Halsell, the Director of Sustainable Communities Collaborative at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute talked about the importance of the expo for students and the community.
Halsell said that the expo allows students that participated in projects to share their work with the community and other students. The expo also allows community partners to show their commitment to sustainability and shop around for ideas, Halsell explained. She also talked about students having a better understanding of sustainability.
“Students get a chance to see (their) project in a broader way,” Halsell said.
Halsell talked about what students can get out of the expo. She explained that the expo can give students an understanding and better perspective of sustainability, and a connection with the community partner. The expo also helps give students analytical, team building, and communications skills, Halsell said. She went on, talking about how the sustainability of the university having electric vehicles on campus and trying to lower the university’s carbon footprint affects their relationship with the community.
“When the community sees they can work with the university (when it comes to) sustainability, it strengthens the bond between the university and the community,” Halsell said.
Halsell also talked about the diversity of students presenting at the expo, explaining that eight of the twelve colleges at Penn State were represented at the expo. This expo shows that sustainability is not just part of one discipline, Halsell said. Halsell also said that she felt it was interesting to see the different types of learning going on at the expo.