Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Sustainability Showcase Series To Kickoff Virtually September 11

Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, Penn State’s Council of Sustainable Leaders (CSL) is just as committed as ever to promoting sustainability.

For the third year in a row, CSL is putting on its Sustainability Showcase Series, this time virtually, with the first speaker lined up for Friday, September 11.

This year’s themes, justice, equity, and intersectionality, are especially relevant these days given the social justice movements sweeping across the United States.

Nora Van Horn, the executive director of the Council of Sustainable Leaders, plays a large role in organizing and running the showcases each year. The series began in 2017 when Doug Goodstein, associate director for student engagement at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, along with two interns, was looking for ways to get people engaged and excited with sustainability.

Since 2017, the showcase series has only gotten bigger.

“We’ve been able to open the conversation from just environmental sustainability, which is what sustainability is often thought of,” Van Horn said. “To the other integral parts of sustainability like justice, and equity, and anti-racism.”

Van Horn, Goodstein, and Maddy Mitchell, the former executive director of CSL, picked this year’s themes during the beginning of Penn State’s remote learning period in the spring. Planning this event in the middle of a global pandemic brought a whole new slate of issues to their attention.

“We talked about firstly, adapting to COVID,” Van Horn said. “I was interested in doing that as a two-prong thing. Firstly, understanding that the showcases are going to look a little bit differently this year, obviously they’re going to take place virtually, and how do we create a community despite that?”

“But also, how do we talk about the issues that have enabled COVID to be as rampant as it is within the United States? How can we talk about the fact that COVID has disproportionally affected communities of color?” Van Horn said. “How do we talk about the fact that this has exposed health equity issues, and this has exposed a lack of consideration for people who are considered to be essential workers?”

After Van Horn, Goodstein, and Mitchell had those integral discussions, a separate conversation with the dean of the College of Education, Dean Lawless really brought these themes to life and gave them ideas for which speakers to select.

Building a sense of community during these trying times is especially important to Van Horn and the rest of the team at CSL right now.

“By exposing people to a variety of perspectives, exposing them to ideas that maybe they hadn’t thought about before, about injustices that they’ve never been able to see in this time of trauma enables us to come together as a community and find opportunities to care about people in really meaningful way,” Van Horn said.

This year the series kicks off on Friday, September 11, and runs until December 4. Registration for the series is open and can be found here.

The following speakers are set to take the virtual stage:

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

Jovana Marzella Dances In THON 2024 To Honor Best Friend & Hometown

“I think that’s where a lot of my desire to help others has stemmed from because I grew up around that amount of kindness.”

‘Anybody In This League Has A Chance To Win The National Championship’: Penn State Men’s Hockey Facing Unpredictable Final Stretch

“Any team can beat any team on any given night, and it’s super fun.”

Mike Rhoades Makes Case For Penn State Hoops’ Ace Baldwin Jr. To Earn Conference Honors

“I’ll learn this first year if people are really watching the game and know basketball.”

Follow on Another Platform
Other posts by Ryen

A Letter To Your Teacher On The Last Day Of School: Ryen Gailey’s Senior Column

“Whatever comes next, I just hope it brings me a fraction of the joy I’ve experienced in the last four years. After all, life is better off with a smile when you’re dancing like nobody’s watching.”

Trustee Candidate Barbara Doran Seeks To Help Penn State ‘Soar To New Heights’

Penn State To Host Class Of 2020 Commencement Weekend Events Starting April 29