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.