Sustainability advancements to be unveiled on Blue-White weekend

April 08, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The first ever Reinvention Fund Symposium will showcase sustainability projects at the Nittany Lion Inn on April 18, before the kick-off of the 2015 Blue-White Game.

This half-day event will showcase and celebrate the successes of the 33 projects from eight of Penn State’s campuses funded by the Sustainability Institute’s Reinvention Fund, an internal grant program designed to create opportunities for innovation in teaching, learning, practice and science of sustainability for Penn State faculty, staff and students.

The suite of projects represent an internal investment of more than $875,000 and have engaged more than 80 faculty, 60 staff, and 150 students in research, project implementation, service, coursework, and internships related to sustainability.

The complete symposium agenda is available at

The keynote speaker for the symposium will be Carol Sanford, author of “The Responsible Business” and “The Responsible Entrepreneur.” Her talk “Catalyzing Innovation: Local Economies, Entrepreneurship and Education in a Living Systems Paradigm” will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Ballrooms CDE of the Nittany Lion Inn. The symposium and Sanford’s lecture are free and open to the public.

Sanford has consulted with companies such as Seventh Generation, Intel, Dupont, and Colgate-Palmolive, and her work also has been used in a Google Innovation Lab. Sanford’s books are required reading at leading business schools including Harvard, Stanford, Haas Berkeley and MIT.

Central to Sanford’s philosophy and approach is a fresh look at what makes an organization truly innovative and responsible. “It’s important to find out what differentiates a business from the crowd,” Sanford says, “and then thinking about how to innovate in business so that workers/suppliers, communities, societies, and ecology, investors — as a whole, are improved. These are not separate but interwoven pursuits. It’s completely doable, and a conversation worth having.”

Sanford also will be available for a book signing and reception from6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at New Leaf Initiative, 243 S Allen St. #337, State College, Pennsylvania.

This event is also free and open to the public.

At the Reinvention Fund Symposium, Sustainability Institute director Denice Wardrop will kick-off the event by hosting a continental breakfast and will briefly discuss the history of the Sustainability Institute, the Reinvention Fund and future funding opportunities.

“This first group of projects are proof-of-concept of the impactful returns that can flow from this type of investment; we are thrilled to share the picture that has emerged,” said Wardrop.

“This first group of projects are proof-of-concept of the impactful returns that can flow from this type of investment." -- Denice Wardrop, Sustainability Institute Director

“Through the generosity of time of all of our investigators, we have also learned a tremendous amount about how to support these projects so that they can achieve their full potential, and we are anxious to share that, as well, ” Wardrop said.

At 10:15 a.m., Penn State Public Broadcasting will reveal short videos that showcase three of the projects: Biological Pest Controls, Greener Game Days, and Immersive Leadership: Energy and Sustainable Business. These videos are currently available for public viewing on the YouTube playlist.

At 10:30 a.m., a poster session will occur to encourage open communication regarding the projects and their impacts, and networking.

At noon, a working lunch will be served and Peter Buckland, project evaluator for the Reinvention Fund, will briefly describe the suite of projects. Three project teams will then give short 10-minute presentations; the projects are: Community Solar on StateNew Kensington’s Everyday Practice of Food Consumption and Waste Reduction and The Living Filter. Buckland will conclude lunch by sharing his assessment of the suite of projects’ return on investment.

At 1:30 p.m., Sanford will give her keynote “Catalyzing Innovation: Local Economies, Entrepreneurship and Education in a Living Systems Paradigm” followed by a brief Q&A session.

The event is organized by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For more information about the Reinvention Fund, please visit To receive Penn State’s latest sustainability news and events, subscribe to the Mainstream newsletter at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 20, 2019