Sustainability Initiatives in 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.

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

WPSU Climate Day

When: Tuesday, April 2, 9:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Where: WPSU, 100 Innovation Boulevard, State College
Fee: None

Invited area students will participate in a community climate day at WPSU, which will feature sessions for allowing students in grades 9–12 to gain a deeper understanding of climate change. Sustainability through scientific research, communication, and policies will also be explored. Students and teachers will also get to explore a variety of local environmental education organizations that offer programming and resources for students. Those organizations include The Arboretum at Penn State, Discovery Space, Centered Outdoors, Elk County Visitor Center, and Penn State Sustainability. Email Sarah Hamilton at to register

Sustainability Expo

When: Saturday, April 6, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Fee: None

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

OLLI Course: Musser Gap Greenway

When: Thursday, April 11, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Where: Musser Gap Trail Park Area, Shingletown Road/Route 45, State College
Fee: $15 members/$30 nonmembers

The health and well-being of every town are tied to the availability of fresh water. This is also the case for many of the plant and animal communities that we interact with daily. However, our interactions with land and water often threaten the safety of this renewable resource. Come learn about multifunctional riparian buffers and how Penn State and its partners have implemented this practice to protect an important freshwater resource.

Earth Day at the Arboretum at Penn State

When: Saturday, April 20, 1:00–3:00 p.m. (Rain date: April 21, 1:00–3:00 p.m.)
Where: The Arboretum at Penn State, Overlook Pavilion, Park Avenue and Bigler Road, University Park
Fee: None

Join the Arboretum for a celebration of Earth Day. The event will be open to all ages, designed for kids and families.

OLLI Course: Tree Walk

When: Wednesday, April 24, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Where: Walnut Springs Park, 711 Walnut Springs Lane, State College
Fee: $15 members/$30 nonmembers

Join Alan Sam, former State College Borough arborist, on a walk along the trails in Walnut Springs Park. This is the only park in the Borough with a stream, wetlands, and historic sites of the region’s past. The primary focus of this walk will be how communities like State College handle urban storm-water runoff.

OLLI Course: The Science of Our Rapidly Changing Climate

When: Friday, April 26, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Where: Penn State Outreach Building, Rooms 121 G/H
Fee: $15 members/$30 nonmembers

Raymond Najjar, professor of oceanography in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Penn State, will provide participants with reliable resources to help figure out what we know and don’t know about climate change and the actions to minimize negative impacts.

High-Performance Building Summer Program

When: June 3–21
Where: Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center
Cost: $900

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.

Please check back as more events may be added to this list.