State College Borough hosts Sustainable Communities Collaborative event

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- State College Borough hosted a celebration Tuesday, April 29, in the borough office, 243 Allen St., to mark the end of the semester with the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC). Penn State faculty, staff and students, connected to the courses, were at the event to present their work and discuss the projects they were a part of in connection to the SCC partnership with the State College Borough.

"The impact of your efforts will extend far beyond the project or a semester. You are contributing to a new approach for sustainable communities, and that will endure for generations."

                             -- President Rodney Erickson

Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, presented a message from President Rodney Erickson. "The impact of your efforts will extend far beyond the project or a semester. You are contributing to a new approach for sustainable communities, and that will endure for generations."

"This program is a great example of us listening and us engaging and us informing of each other’s work; learning together, and that’s the type of engaged scholarship we’re trying to advance at Penn State."

      -- Craig Weidemann, vice president of Outreach

Craig Weidemann, vice president of Outreach at Penn State, said at the event, "This program is a great example of us listening and us engaging and us informing of each other’s work; learning together, and that’s the type of engaged scholarship we’re trying to advance at Penn State."

Tom Fountaine, borough manager, also spoke. "Engaged scholarship not only provides a valuable opportunity for students to work on real-world problems, it also provides social benefit for communities like State College while strengthening civic responsibility."

"Engaged scholarship not only provides a valuable opportunity for students to work on real-world problems, it also provides social benefit for communities like State College while strengthening civic responsibility."

                 -- Tom Fountaine, borough manager

Professors involved with the courses were on-hand to discuss the projects, including Tom Hogan, Janet Swim, Ed Coulson, Tim Kelsey and Felisa Preciado. "I think reaching out to the borough and seeing what they need and what we can give them and just working together to make the community more sustainable was great. To have an actual practical application of our work is wonderful," remarked Swim, professor of psychology.

"We’ve already gone through a lot of our information-based learning, and now it’s 'How do we apply it?.' It’s important that we have that practical experience in applying what we know to actual development work," said Raymond Chappetta, senior in community, environment and development.

After a meet-and-greet and opening remarks, student gave presentations to the borough council members, and Authorities, Boards, Commissions (ABCs). ABCs are various volunteer groups that advise the borough manager and council on topics including building design, planned development and tree plantings.

"Taking a class like this allows you to put use to things you have learned in other classes. It’s all about integrating what you have learned and what is being taught in the class to create something new, and it seems like the material is more effective in a class like this instead of just being tested on what you can remember," said Gabriell Abrams, senior, psychology.

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a program of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. The program is intended to facilitate University-community partnerships focused on sustainability. The Borough of State College was named the 2013-14 Sustainable Community Partner as the Sustainability Institute pilots this program.

During each semester, Sustainable Communities partnerships are formed through agreements developed between top local government officials and the Sustainability Institute to link community-based sustainability projects with existing courses across the university. Projects for the spring semester were identified and developed based on the borough’s sustainability priorities. The following projects were pursued this semester:

-- Management of Human Capitol Part 2: Talent Acquisition-Event Volunteers

-- Sustainable Asset Management Part 2: Implementing New Inventory Process

-- Evaluation of the Borough’s Residential Composting Program

-- Live and Work Sustainability of Downtown – Young Professionals

-- Green Power Study of Community Purchasing Choice

-- Homestead Investment Program – Sustaining Quality Neighborhoods

For more information on the SCC and on sustainability at Penn State, visit www.sustainability.psu.edu.

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Last Updated May 07, 2014