Town and gown came together on Monday evening for the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo.
Twenty-eight student projects were showcased on the second floor of the State College Municipal Building. Students partnered with various local governments and community organizations such as Bellefonte, Muncy and State College boroughs; Ferguson and Walker townships; State College and Bellefonte Area school districts; Mount Nittany Health and Centre Health; and ClearWater Conservancy.
About 500 students worked on projects.
State College borough Manager Tom Fountaine said the expo, which is held near the end of the fall and spring semesters, is one of his favorite events of the year.
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He never ceases to be amazed by the work students produce, Fountaine said.
While the borough’s focus on sustainability is broader than environmental, he said, the environment is at the heart of sustainability.
But it’s not something the borough can achieve on its own, Fountaine said. Students through the expo bring new energy and ideas.
Project themes included “Energy and the Built Environment,” “Health, Safety and Nutrition,” “Human Resource Management: Equity and Empowerment” and “Resilience and Sustainability Planning.”
Neil Sharkey, Penn State vice president for research, said it’s going to be up to the students’ generation to make a difference and that the planet’s future will depend on people like them.
Holly Andre, a student in LER 460 (human resources ethics), said her group worked with the Penn State Office of Human Resources to create an “onboarding” video/powerpoint that can be shown to people when they start at the university.
It was an opportunity “to get our feet wet,” she said.
The expo is supported by Sustainable Communities Collaborative, Green Teams and Sustainable Food Systems Program.