Penn State Earth Day event to celebrate the 'Power of One'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Celebrating Earth Day has long been a tradition at Penn State’s University Park campus, but this year the University plans to bump things up a notch. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 22, in the HUB-Robeson Center, Penn State will convene a celebration with the theme “A Billion Acts of Green Begins with the Power of One.”

Penn State President Graham Spanier is scheduled to speak. More than 40 different Penn State “green” initiatives, featuring the work of faculty, staff and students, will be represented in an open networking forum. Also, the 12 finalists of the University’s “Sustainable State” video contest will be screened publicly for the first time.

“Penn State is really a microcosm of the broader global culture,” said Cole Hons, communications director for Penn State’s Center for Sustainability. “And, just as the global community is waking up and responding to the massive challenges we face today in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability, Penn State is waking up and responding, too.”

Currently, scheduled speakers for the event include geography professor and climate change expert Richard Alley, Spanier, Assistant Vice President of Physical Plant Steve Maruszewski, Penn State student David Adewumi and others.

Tables set up throughout the hall will represent the work of more than 40 Penn State academic units and departments that are currently contributing to the University’s green efforts. Interactive games and competitions will keep things lively between speakers, along with a background mix of music and videos from around the globe.

"Students will be able to learn about clubs, courses and green jobs; faculty members will meet like-minded colleagues for collaboration; and staff will meet colleagues who share their commitment to greening their work space," said Erik Foley, manager of Penn State’s Campus Sustainability Office.

At 11:45, the Center for Sustainability and Media Commons will screen the 12 finalists of the Sustainable State video contest -- a program which challenged the Penn State community to re-vision sustainability as the pursuit of global happiness. Public online voting for the winning videos will officially kick off on Earth Day.

Live music performances by Anthony Walker, Mike Mains and the Branches, and Hons will take place at the HUB’s first floor lounge, as an Earth Day edition of the HUB’s Friday Noontime concert series.

Launched in 1970, Earth Day was originally conceived by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a nationwide demonstration to force the issue of environmental health and safety into the political realm, where it had previously been a complete non-starter. Tapping into the energy of the college student-led anti-war movement, the first Earth Day inspired 20 million people to stand up and take action in the name of environmental health and safety.

“That’s the power of one,” said Lydia Vandenbergh, program coordinator for Penn State’s Campus Sustainability Office. “The story of Earth Day itself is a perfect example of what we want to communicate at Penn State: one person makes a difference.”

Penn State’s Earth Day celebration is jointly sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Office, the Center for Sustainability, Student Affairs, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE), Green Teams, Eco-Reps, Shaver's Creek and others. For more information and to keep updated on Penn State Earth Week Events, visit http://www.earthday.psu.edu/ online.

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Last Updated April 19, 2011