Penn State's Earth Day celebration to span five days

Christie Clancy
April 11, 2013

It’s not just Earth Day this year at Penn State, it’s Earth Days. The multi-day event combines guest speakers, an expo and volunteering opportunities, spanning from April 18 to 22. Among the events are lectures from Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, and Majora Carter, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and urban revitalization strategist.

Earth Days kick-off on Thursday, April 18, with a talk by TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky at 6 p.m., in 105 Forum Building.

Earth Days kicks off on Thursday, April 18, with a talk co-sponsored by the Smeal College of Business and Penn State's Sustainability Institute by Tom Szaky, author of "Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle is Redefining Green Business." 


Tom Szaky

Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, a company that creates systems for previously non-recyclable or hart-to-recycle items.

IMAGE: Penn State

Szaky was a freshman at Princeton when he first got the idea of a “worm gin,” and started packing and selling the fertilizer to local gardening centers. Now, his company TerraCycle is creating recycling systems for previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items such candy wrappers and drink pouches that would otherwise end up in a landfill. These items are now used in making messenger bags and packaging available at major retailers such as Target and Whole Foods. He has also teamed up with many national companies such as Kraft, Johnson and Johnson and more. TerraCycle offers a national program, Brigades, that collects the items from offices and workplaces. Currently at Penn State 10 Green Teams have Brigades. The talk is 6 p.m. at 105 Forum Building.

An Earth Day Expo at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

Also on the agenda is an Earth Day Expo at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Friday, April 19. Penn Staters can learn about sustainability efforts from campus and downtown organizations, such as Engineers for a Sustainable World, Centre Area Transportation Authority and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. Outside the HUB, visitors are welcome to take part in sustainability-themed carnival games hosted by the Interfraternity Council and Eco-Reps.

“Penn State's Earth Week celebrations highlight how our students, faculty and staff are working together to make our community a better place to work and live. The energy and passion is infectious, and I always come away from the Friday Expo with new ideas for improving how I can use resources more wisely and improve my quality of life. I hope we can share this energy with others,” said Lydia Vandenbergh an organizer of the event from Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.

Urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter will close out Earth Days at 5:30 p.m. April 22, in 100 Thomas Building.

Closing Earth Days, on April 22, at the ninth annual Colloquium on the Environment Speaker Series, will be “Home(town) Security,” a presentation by Majora Carter.


Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist

Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist, green jobs pioneer, and Macarthur “Genius” Award winner, will speak on Monday April 22 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 100 of the Thomas Building on Penn State's University Park campus.

IMAGE: Penn State

An internationally renowned urban revitalization strategist, green jobs pioneer and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner, Carter is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training systems. Her talk will focus on new challenges and opportunities for wilderness conservation, traditional markets and public health evolving every day. Her theory starts by looking inward at how we strengthen the fabric of all our communities and where we can grow from there. The lecture is at 100 Thomas Building and starts at 5:30 pm with a reception following on the Willaman Gateway. The event is sponsored by the University’s Finance and Business Stewardship Strategy, and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE).

Amanda Vazquez, student organizer for Earth Days and a Sustainability Institute intern, said “Earth Day is a great opportunity for students to learn what Penn State is doing as an institution to create a better university and Earth, and how they can be a part of the action. It’s truly an inspiring event.”

Information about other notable events, including volunteer days at Shaver’s Creek and the 9-acre Sustainability Experience Center, can be found at

Other notable events during Earth Days are volunteer days at Shaver’s Creek and the 9-acre Sustainability Experience Center (SEC), a tree planting ceremony at the SEC and more. For a full schedule of events, visit Penn State’s Earth Days site.

Partners for Earth Days are CATA, Penn State Finance and Business, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Penn State Housing and Food Services, and Penn State Student Affairs. If you are interested in being a part of Earth Days or want more information, contact Lydia Vandenbergh of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute or Amanda Vazquez, student organizer.

For more information about sustainability at Penn State, visit, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 14, 2013