Sustainability


Lauren Waer
Co-Director of Sustainability
lmw5895@psu.edu

Charles-Antoine Sokohl
Co-Director of Sustainability
ces6074@psu.edu

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee is comprised of a group of Penn State students focused on engaging the entire community in environmental and sustainability issues. The committee gathers information and seeks ways to decrease Penn State’s environmental footprint. This year, the committee will be focusing on three major goals.

Advancing Penn State towards a more Sustainable Future 

The COVID-19 pandemic will remain a focal point for this administration; however, this pandemic is not only a public health issue, but also a sustainability issue. Global crises like climate change, food insecurity, and access to clean water have not gone away since the start of this outbreak and continue to impact Penn State students; it is our mission to continue to work with the Penn State community to help tackle these crises. As Penn State makes operational and financial changes over the course of the next year, it is this committee’s job to meet with University officials to make sure such changes are sustainably sound and meet the needs of the Commonwealth students. For the 2020-2021 academic year, we will reassess and plan for the continuation of CCSG-sponsored programs, like EcoCoin and Green2Go, as well as take on several new initiatives, such as collaborating with the Commonwealth Fee Board (CFB) to fund sustainable projects and helping to establish academic Sustainability Councils, Charters and Chairs at each Commonwealth campus to better incorporate sustainability education into existing curricula.

Building Lasting and Fruitful Partnerships

CCSG is an organization that relies on the continued support of its partner organizations to make sure the concerns of the Commonwealth campus students are being properly heard and resolved. As a recently established standing committee within CCSG, we will build on existing partnerships with CCSG’s student government counterparts, as well form new and strong relationships with University departments, academic colleges, sustainability-based student groups and local and state government officials so that the Commonwealth campus students may have the necessary resources to help solve campus or University-wide problems. This year, we are working with the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) to collaborate on projects like integrating the Ecosia search engine into all on-campus devices, while at the same time developing connections with state and local lawmakers to advocate for bills that reduce Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions. During these unprecedented times, the entire student body needs to band together and forge extensive and lasting solutions to support future generations, while staying safe and healthy. 

Establishing a Comprehensive Committee Structure 

As a collective, students have the ability to make fundamental change at Penn State through student government organizations, from altering University policy to funding sustainable projects, but oftentimes we don’t utilize this power to its full potential. This upcoming semester, we will establish a system of accountability that assures to our fellow students that this committee is doing its best to understand the complex sustainability-related issues facing the Commonwealth campuses and is regularly meeting with administrators, department heads, deans and chancellors to develop solutions that benefit the student body. Plans and projects are constantly being changed across the University amidst this pandemic and it is a top priority for us to stay up to date on the progress of sustainability projects, programs, and initiatives at every campus so that we can best serve the student body.