Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

 Higher Education connecting, collaborating and taking action



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

  • 26 Mar 2020 12:47 PM | Abbey Castor (Administrator)

    The Sustainable Development Goals are about more than just climate change. In the Public Health and Sustainability Webinar members from Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and public health officials from all across the state of Pennsylvania came together to discuss the synergy between the goals and public health.

    The SDG’s are a group of attainable goals, set by nations all around the world, to achieve by the year 2030. The idea is to advance global progress and fix climate change. There are 17 goals that address global issues surrounding clean water and sanitation for all, the ending of extreme poverty, the education of women, and things like clean energy, good health, peace and justice. 

    Goal 17 for the SDG’s is Partnership for the Goals, which is exactly why this collaboration is crucial to creating change. The need for a dialogue has never been more urgent. Pennsylvania is ranked 30th out of all 50 states in the U.S for achieving the goals. 

    This webinar provided an excellent overview of the relationship between human activity and the natural world, specifically honing in on the public health aspect. When comparing the social and economic factors of society with the earth’s system trends there are direct correlations between what people are doing and the impacts on the earth. As this trend line continues to go up, we see failures within the public health sector for humanity. Public health is all about the education and empowerment of communities to cure and prevent disease. 

    The interconnected web in the public health sector ranges from biologists, to elected officials, and lab testing centers, mental health facilities, hospitals, schools, etc… the goal is to have healthy people. But as we see things like increased warm climates, with less winter seasons, we also see things like lyme disease increasing. Without a winter, tick populations can survive longer and grow and infect more people.  When talking about ground level ozones and allergens, people that are dealing with building community parks can work to fight climate change, and promote cleaner air for people to breathe without even realizing it. Planting trees and building those parks can mitigate the urban heat island effect up to 9 degrees which is a significant impact for communities. The intersection between public health and the sustainable development goals addresses the increased possibility of infectious diseases, but enables programs like some in Philadelphia that look at the correlation between the health of the environment and maternal mortality rates. 

    The goal is to attain healthy and thriving human life and eliminate the disparity between certain groups of people. The goal is to promote social, physical, and economic environments that get communities to reach their full potential and well-being. Pennsylvania is a diverse place and coming together for this webinar is the start in creating a healthier state to be.

    If you would like to view a recording of the webinar view this link here

    A very big thank you to all of our speakers!!!

    Josh Hooper Director of PERC

    Peter Boger Assistant Director for Community Engagement, Penn State Sustainability Institute

    Peter Buck President-elect of PERC and academic programs manager, Penn State Sustainability Institute

    Lisa Davis Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health

    Rebecca Kishbaugh Director of Division Cancer Prevention and Control for the Pennsylvania Department of Health

    Ruth McDermott-Levy Director for Center for Global and Public Health at Villanova University 

  • 03 Mar 2020 12:18 PM | Abbey Castor (Administrator)

    Monday, March 16 @ 5 p.m.

    Perkins Center, Multi Purpose Room

    For an inside look into the rise of the Global Youth Climate Movement. Youth Unstoppable follows the evolution of a diverse network of youth rising up to share the world they live in. It captures the vibrant untold story of the Global Youth Climate Movement and how decisions made today will shape the world that they live in.

    This Event features Shana Rose who is Reading for 100’s Berks County Outreach Coordinator and will share her experience as a delegate at the two recent United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP23 & COP25 in Bonn, Germany and Madrid, Spain.

    They ask that attendees bring their own cup for refreshments to cut down on waste! 

    For more information contact Masha Kazempour at 610-296-6312


  • 18 Dec 2019 7:14 AM | Josh Hooper (Administrator)

    Is your school part of PERC’s PA Higher Ed Food Recovery Challenge (PHE-FRC)? Are you interested in learning more about food recovery techniques? Check out next Thursday’s EPA webinar on Methods for Measuring Excess Food. The PHE-FRC is a partnership between Sodexo, PERC and the U.S. EPA.

  • 10 Dec 2019 12:43 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Making it Work

    Ten years ago, a group of Shippensburg Area Middle School students were looking for a project to better their community. In cooperation with Shippensburg University art professor Ben Culbertson and a host of others from the town and the university, they created and deployed 300 ceramic storm drain markers with the idea of educating the public about where storm water goes. Read more about this fascinating project here.

    This is just one of the projects we will examine up close as part of PERC's Making it Work-A Workshop on Partnerships for Sustainability, on January 10th at Bucknell University. The agenda for the event can be found here

    Click here to register! For a step by step walkthrough on how to register click here!

  • 05 Dec 2019 2:30 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    How to Change the World

    The Office of Sustainability, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Environmental Studies Program at Swarthmore College will be hosting a public lecture by Paul Hawken, founder of Project Drawdown “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”, on December 6th! Not only will Hawken be in attendance but three other sustainability leaders from Hawai`i:

    Kamuela Enos, Director of Social Innovation at MA'O Organic Farms

    Matt Lynch, Director of Sustainability Initiatives at the University of Hawaii 

    Lala Nuss, Climate and Equity Manager at the City and County of Honolulu's Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency

    Paul Hawken and Kamuela Enos Public Lecture will be from 4:30 - 6:00 pm at the Science Center, room 101. This discussion will consist of solutions to climate crisis, indigenous practices, and centering marginalized communities in climate conversations. 

  • 04 Dec 2019 11:09 AM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Franklin and Marshall on winning the 2019 October College Month challenge held by Commuter Services. The goal of Commuter Services is to reduce the amount of solo car rides that PA commuters are taking by walking, biking, telecommuting, carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, or taking a train. Franklin and Marshall were able to record 538 “green” commuting trips during October securing their first-place finish. Anyone can join the Commuter Service challenge by joining on their website. Start going on more“green” commuting trips and enter them into Commuter Service to earn rewards! 

  • 02 Dec 2019 11:17 AM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Dickinson College Free xChange

    Dickinson College is the home of the Free xChange. The Free xChange is open everyday and offers free clothing to any student, faculty and staff of Dickinson. Anyone with card access to Allison can also donate clothes they no longer need. This is a system of freely trading clothes within this institution which reduces waste, decreases ordering new “things” and increases clothing reuse on campus.

  • 22 Nov 2019 6:52 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Penn State Berks Sustainability Fest

    On November 11th Penn State Berks Sustainability Team hosted the ‘Sustainability Fest: We R! The 6R’s!’. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss waste overconsumption and actions to tackle these issues. There were learning stations lead by students, faculty, staff and community organizations. These organizations include Invisible Berks, Reading 100, and Reading Public Works. The benefit of higher education institutions having open events such as these, which include local organizations, is that it creates a space for a community to discuss sustainable ideas. This communication leads to a community practicing sustainable action at a higher rate. Penn State Berks is a fantastic example of a university putting sustainability at the forefront!

  • 11 Nov 2019 11:15 AM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    PSU Solar Project

    State College has installed a 2-megawatt, advanced utility-scale photovoltaic system next to Mount Nittany Medical Center earlier last month. While it will only provide University Park with 1% of its electricity needs, it will serve as a living lab for students. Actions such as these are the necessary building blocks for a more sustainable future. During the ribbon cutting ceremony Rob Cooper stated, “This project will continue Penn State’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, lowering our dependence on fossil fuel based electric generation, while supporting research and grant development by creating this microgrid.” 

  • 28 Oct 2019 7:49 PM | Marcus Thompson (Administrator)

    Climate Choice Deliberation

    PERC’s seminar is an extremely useful event that should not be missed! This event is on November 9th at Penn State University, University Park, PA. The deliberation will have a morning section and an afternoon section with lunch in between.

    MORNING-Making the Choices

    Segment 1: To begin the day, we will establish a common frame of understanding grounded in the current science.

    Segment 2: From there, we deliberate in small groups of 8 to 12 people for about 2 hours on three options, each for about 30 minutes.

    Option A: More mitigation investments like renewable energy, green buildings, carbon sequestration, and so on.

    Option B: Rapid investment in adaptation measures to sea level rise, increased precipitation, higher heat stresses, and others.

    Option C: Amp up research and development to discover options that we might not yet know about and that could create a breakthrough.

    While these may not seem mutually exclusive, by deliberating on the options distinctly from one another, it offers us the chance to work through our values, our strengths and weaknesses, and what tradeoffs we can or can’t accept.

    Segment 3: After the options are worked through, groups will summarize where they found common ground and, if possible, determine what actions they can and should take.

    Segment 4: Groups will assemble to report out and have a large group discussion.

    AFTERNOON-Taking it to Your Community

    After lunch, we will reconvene to learn how to organize a deliberation in your community. Tips will include how to determine who you should work with, how to cooperate with libraries and media, and how to facilitate and moderate discussions. We will be joined by Cathi Alloway, executive director of the Schlow Memorial Library and Britani Peterson, a second-year Penn State Law student with experience in group facilitation and a passion for social justice, and Peter Buckland, of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.

    Questions can be sent to Peter Buckland at

    PERC's Climate Choices Deliberation is based on the Kettering Foundation's Climate ChoicesClimate Choices creates a structured way for organizations and communities to discuss the issue of climate change in a meaningful way. It brings ethical issues to the forefront, invites individuals to explore trade-offs between different climate solutions, creates good conditions for dialog and decision-making, and respects the democratic process. Best of all for our members, it will surface our individual and collective values, provide us with ways to engage our own campuses and communities, and give us the basic skills we need to organize and facilitate. If you so choose, you can make this deliberation part of an event in your community on April 8, 2020 as part of the national Solve Climate by 2030 project organized by Eban Goodstein and the Bard Center for Environmental Policy.

    Click here for more information and to sign up!

PERC - Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

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