Engaging Students in Their Local Community: Creating Change and Increasing Awareness with a Sustainability Walking Tour in a Rust Belt Town
The Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) campus was awarded a West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) grant of $75,000 to assist the City of New Kensington with sustainability awareness and improvements. The grant began with a community workshop in September, 2018. The workshop culminated with a community brainstorming/survey session. As a result plans were made to address the following three key components: creating a sustainability/history walking tour, conducting building re-tuning assessments for local business owners and constructing a sustainable roof patch.
This presentation proposal focuses on the sustainability/history walking tour to be located along the main artery, Fifth Avenue, in New Kensington. The tour will highlight local businesses that illustrate one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
PSNK has built strong relationships with the Mayor and City officials, and this project leverages these connections in the development of the tour and helps the City address its commitment to sustainability.
This WPPSEF grant project has collaborated with the City of New Kensington’s Major, City Council, local businesses owners, the Tri-City Historical Society, PSNK faculty, staff, student interns, and will also include students enrolled in SUST 200 for the spring, 2020 semester.
The proposed presentation will include further details of the tour and explore the relationships and agreements forged between the City leaders, business owners and the PSNK campus community members. It will also provide a how-to-guide for other institutions of higher learning interested in establishing community partnerships related to sustainability projects.