Penn State goes green on April 20 with Earth Day celebration

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Blue and White is going green. Penn State is celebrating its Earth Week with a large Earth Day celebration on Friday, April 20, at Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center, on the University Park campus. Earth Week and Earth Day, in their 42nd year at Penn State, are intended to educate and encourage the community to become more sustainable.

Penn State began celebrating Earth Day in 1970, and back then it was not just a celebration of the environment but also “a celebration of alternative culture,” featuring dance, poetry and philosophy as well as students in tie-dyed shirts throwing Frisbees across the HUB lawn, according to OPP spokesperson Paul Ruskin. In the years since, as Penn State has become more environmentally savvy through comprehensive recycling programs, water-saving initiatives and LEED certifications, Earth Day has transformed to integrate innovative green science and engineering into its traditions.

This year's celebration, sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Office, Center for Sustainability, Office of Student Affairs, Dining Services and others, will feature leaders from around Penn State dedicated to teaching the community about sustainability. Attendees can learn more about how they impact the world around them by talking with the exhibitors, participating in interactive games, sampling local foods offered by Penn State Dining Services and Catering, or attending one of the many workshops offered that day.

More than 30 academic departments will be present during the celebration, along with countless student groups, to demonstrate their programs and activities and teach members of the Penn State and State College community how to become involved. All students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are invited.

There will be a wide variety of opportunities for attendees. Students will have the chance to learn about green clubs and organizations on campus, environmental and sustainability-related courses and potential green job opportunities. Faculty and staff can share green curriculum ideas and discover ways to collaborate with other Penn State faculty and staff members. Finally, the Earth Day celebration will help community members become more informed about the ways that Penn State is making efforts in sustainable operations, while providing them the chance to learn ways to be eco-friendly in their homes.

The celebrations are not limited to just one day or one location. Festivities leading up to the big event, known collectively as Earth Week, kicked off Monday (April 16) with a presentation by E.O. Wilson entitled “The Social Conquest of Earth.” Wilson was named one of America’s 25 Most Influential People by TIME magazine in 1995.

On Friday, April 20, the Penn State Center for Sustainability will host a day of free activities at the University’s nine-acre Sustainability Experience Center, off Porter Road, next to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The day's activities include bird walks as well as tours of the all-solar Morningstar home, 70-foot Wind for Schools turbine, community garden plots and Ecological Systems Lab. Free onsite parking is available for the day, which culminates in a one-hour memorial ceremony at 4 p.m. to honor Kenyan social and environmental activist Wangari Maathai, who passed away in September 2011.

The Earth Day Celebration is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, go to http://www.earthday.psu.edu/.

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Last Updated April 18, 2012