Class of 2015 votes green with Solar Panel Array chosen as gift to Penn State

Holly Semanchick
October 22, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's senior class has voted to go green for the second year in a row with 2015's winning class gift option.

The 2015 Class Gift Committee announced today (Oct. 22) that the class has chosen the Solar Panel Array as its gift to the University. The gift was revealed during campaign festivities in the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus.

"The first step of many to come, the solar array will serve as a renewable energy source and a valuable educational resource," said Tara Bendler, Class Gift Campaign executive director and senior in labor studies and employment relations, at the announcement. "The solar array will also build awareness of our energy-reduction efforts and proclaim Penn State's strong commitment to sustainability and a greener future."

The construction of the solar panel array will be backed by student contributions to the class gift fund. The University recently announced its goal to reduce building energy use by 20 percent in the next decade, and has been recognized for its efforts in environmental sustainability, including being named among the "Best of the Best" for its exceptional Mobius program. The solar panel and its eventual site also will serve as an educational resource for relevant departments and visitors.

2015 Class Gift announcement, Oct 22, Solar Panel Array 3

The Solar Panel Array, announced on Oct. 22 as the 2015 Class Gift to Penn State, elicited cheers from the assembled HUB-Robeson Center crowd.

IMAGE: Laura Waldhier

Rodney Kirsch, Penn State senior vice president of Development and Alumni Relations, accepted the gift on behalf of the University.

"Across the University, scientists and scholars are trying to figure out how to meet the global demand for energy while preserving our planet for generations to come," said Kirsch. "At the same time, countless members of the Penn State community -- faculty, staff, and above all, students -- are making decisions every day that are helping us to be a better, greener institution. In choosing the Solar Panel Array, the class of 2015 has shown its belief in Penn State's future as a leader in solving the world's toughest challenges."

In addition to the gift announcement, the Class Gift campaign also sponsored two hours of activity for students in the HUB, including goods from the Penn State Bakery, a popcorn vendor, music and a visit from the Nittany Lion. Students enjoyed the free offerings while learning more about the solar panel and the Class Gift process overall.

The Solar Panel Array was chosen by seniors from a ballot of three proposals, including a scholarship endowment for seniors and a sidewalk crest of the Penn State Alma Mater. More than 120 proposals were submitted for the class gift.

The class of 2014 voted last fall to enhance and expand the HUB's green roof terrace as its gift to the University.

Members of the Class Gift Campaign will be soliciting pledges through events, e-mails and phone calls to students graduating in May, August or December 2015. Seniors also are encouraged to make a gift at online.

The 2015 Class Gift Executive Committee includes Tara Bendler, overall director; Holly Semanchick, University relations director; Mitali Gadekar, events director; Alex Scott, student outreach director; Kaylee Gangaware, logistics director; and Derek Null, fundraising director.

For more information, visit Questions can be directed to Geoff Hallett, senior class gift adviser, at or 814-865-0198.

  • 2015 Class Gift announcement, Oct 22, Solar Panel Array

    The Nittany Lion endorsed the Class of 2015 Solar Panel Array at the gift announcement on Oct. 22, 2015.

    IMAGE: Laura Waldhier

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 19, 2018