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Sustainability Showcase Series Brings Innovation To Campus

For those interested in sustainability, stirring conversation, and free food, the Council of Sustainable Leaders’ Sustainability Showcase Series might be right up your alley.

Every fall semester, the council puts together a series of speakers to address students and faculty on sustainability to inspire and provoke those in attendance. It’s a great way to highlight the incredible contributions that professors, faculty, students, and community members have made to make Penn State a better place.

The series helps to educate and broaden involvement in the discussion about a topic that is often only thought of within narrow limits: sustainability.

“A lot of people think sustainability is only things that have to do with the environment or with recycling,” co-director Sam Anawalt said. “Having such a broad theme allows us to highlight other aspects of sustainability that people might not normally associate.”

Anawalt said he always likes to remind people of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, which range from topics such as gender equality to water and sanitation.

“An easy way to imagine it is that if you are working to better someone else’s life, it’s usually sustainability,” Anawalt said.

Anawalt and Maddy Mitchell are the co-directors of the Council of Sustainable Leaders who put on the Sustainability Showcases. The Council itself is a group of 12 at-large members who represent organizations like UPUA, HackPSU, and Lion Ambassadors, among others.

The members of the council work to make each of their organizations more sustainable and to give back to the Penn State community. Throughout the year, they work on collaborative programming surrounding sustainability to establish projects to focus on throughout the year.

As a co-director, Mitchell was completely in charge of organizing who spoke as part of the initiative. Throughout the summer, she spent time meeting with deans from as many academic colleges as she could to gain insight on department members who would be a good fit for the series. In addition to the deans themselves, she also met with Provost Nick Jones, who’s active in promoting sustainability on campus.

While Anawalt and Mitchell organize the speakers, it’s the Sustainability Institute who provides support with funding for the event lunches and suggestions for other speakers as well. 

This year, the theme of the showcase series is: “What is your ‘Big Idea’ that will advance Sustainability in the 21st century?” The council hopes this theme will help broaden the discussion surrounding sustainability. After all, the goal of the series is to provoke and inspire.

While one Showcase Series has already unfolded this semester, there are still plenty of others to attend if you’re interested. The following are the speakers for the remainder of the semester, which you can RSVP for here.

  • September 7: Dan Murphy, Borough Councilman, and Director, Student Orientation and Transition Programs: “Beyond Icebreakers and Crosswalks: Retaining People, Talent and Potential” in 233 A/B HUB
  • September 14: Monica & Duke Gastiger, Owners, RE Farm Cafe: “RE Farm Cafe: A Farm to Fork Journey Embracing Living Systems” in 134 HUB
  • September 21: Dr. Karen Winterich, Smeal College of Business: “From Disposable to Reusable (and Sustainable)” in 233 A/B HUB
  • September 28: Dr. Maya K. van Rossum, Executive Director, Delaware River Keepers: “The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment” in 134 HUB
  • October 5: Dr. Richard Alley, College of Earth & Mineral Sciences: “Get Rich and Save the World… Or Else” in 233 A/B HUB
  • October 12: Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, College of Nursing: “Take Back Penn State: Responsible Disposal of Unwanted or Expired Medications” in 233 A/B HUB
  • October 19: Dr. Alan Robock, Department of Environment Sciences, Rutgers University: “Geoengineering: Not a Solution to Global Warming” in 134 HUB
  • October 26: Dr. Jonathan Brockopp, College of Liberal Arts: “Climate Change is an Ethical Issue” in 233 A/B HUB
  • November 9: Dr. Chris Uhl, Eberly College of Science: “Awaken 101: Finding Meaning and Purpose in College and Beyond” in the HUB Flex Theater
  • November 30: Stephen Gabauer, Co-founder, Underdogs United: “Underdogs United Global Jersey Exchange: Engaging Athletes in Addressing Water Issues” in 233 A/B HUB

You can find more info on the Sustainability Showcase Series here.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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