Sustainability at Penn State Outreach

The vision of Penn State Outreach is to engage and empower communities and individuals within the Commonwealth and beyond to become resilient, healthy, sustainable, and innovative. Outreach joins the greater University by focusing on sustainability — one of Penn State’s strategic initiatives. The goal is for Penn State to be a leader in creating comprehensive solutions to mitigate the dangers of climate change and address the challenges of providing safe and abundant water, clean and renewable energy sources, and plentiful and nutritious food.

Penn State ranks No. 38 internationally out of 700 participating institutions in a new sustainability assessment by rankings organization Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Penn State is No. 6 among public universities in the United States, and No. 14 among all U.S. universities, according to the “QS World University Rankings: Sustainability” assessment.

Here is a listing of just a few upcoming sustainability initiatives and events.

Sustainability Programs and Events

Forest Bathing

When: Saturday, April 1, 1:00–2:30 p.m.
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Cost: Free

Travel through the woods with a forest-bathing guide and find peace amongst the trees. You will be guided along the trails and prompted to use your senses to experience nature in new ways! Connect to Earth and share your experiences over a cup of tea afterwards.

OLLI Course: An Evening with the American Woodcock at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

When: Tuesday, April 11, 7:15–8:45 p.m.
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Cost: $15 for OLLI members and $30 for nonmembers

Come out to learn more about the natural history of American Woodcocks and for a chance to observe their annual “sky dance.” The group will start at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and then take a short drive to nearby fields in hopes of observing woodcock activity. Please note that the “sky dance” takes place at dusk and natural lighting may limit “sight” observations, but participants will be able to listen to the “dance.” 

AY Young Community Concert and Ice Cream Social

When: Wednesday, April 12, 5:00–6:30 p.m.
Where: The Arboretum at Penn State
Cost: Free

Join AY Young for a pop-up concert with free Berkey Creamery ice cream at the Arboretum — sponsored by the Sustainability Institute.

AY Young is a producer, singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur who powers his “Battery Tour” performances using renewable energy. He was recently named a United Nations (UN) Youth Leader for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and performed at President Biden’s inauguration.

OLLI Course: Recycling in Centre County

When: Friday, April 21, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Where: Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority
Cost: $15 for OLLI members and $30 for nonmembers

Attend a tour of the operations of the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority to learn about recycling and waste-reduction techniques. Reduction of carbon output and the role of “green building” techniques will also be discussed.

Kid’s Care: Earth Day at the Arboretum

When: Saturday, April 22, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Where: Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, The Arboretum at Penn State
Cost: Free

Celebrate Earth Day in the Glass House in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden by creating seed balls full of pollinator-friendly native wildflower species.

2023 Sustainability Expo

When: Monday, April 24, 1:00–6:00 p.m.
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Cost: Free

This free event, open to the public, will focus on sustainability efforts at Penn State and feature a student research poster competition (with cash prizes), nature walks, and guest speakers, as well as a special presentation by Eberly College of Science Sustainability Council Chair Charles Anderson.

Sustainability in K-12 Education Webinar

When: Thursday, April 27, noon–1:00 p.m.
Where: Online
Cost: Free

Learn from two impactful professionals who are making big moves in improving sustainability in the K-12 space and come away with practical next steps and best practices for your school system.

High-Performance Building Summer Program

When: June 4–24
Where: Penn State Center Pittsburgh
Cost: $1,200 (includes breakfast and lunch Monday–Friday, PRT Transit pass, and field trips)

Learn how high-performance building design and construction principles contribute to a more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier built environment.

First- and second-year Penn State students are invited to apply to spend three weeks in Pittsburgh for a cross-cultural educational program with students from Northern Ireland. Through a combination of lectures from high-performance building experts, hands-on activities, and site visits, students will learn the latest in high-performance building design. They will better understand how these design and construction principles make buildings more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier for people and how to help tackle the built environment’s significant contribution to climate change.

Check Back for Updates

We encourage you to check back for updates to this post throughout the month of April.