SCC Spring Expo Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a program of Penn State's Sustainability Institute

Welcome Message from Tom Fountaine, State College Borough Manager

For many years, the SCC Expo has been the culminating event of the spring semester for the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, a program of Penn State's Sustainability Institute. True to SCC's community engagement mission, the event brings together students, community partners, and university faculty and administration to celebrate student projects and achievements in downtown State College. This year due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Expo has been reconfigured in a virtual format. While we miss the opportunity to talk with you in person, and enjoy the hospitality of our community partner State College Borough, we hope this website will provide a glimpse of the work by Penn State students in support of local and regional sustainability efforts.

"This showcase is a representation of the students' hard work, and most importantly their ability to adapt, endure and thrive during these ever-changing circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to the students, faculty and community members who made these projects possible." -Paul Shrivastava, Director, Sustainability Institute and Penn State's Chief Sustainability Officer

Enjoy your 'scroll' through the virtual Expo! At the end, please help us acknowledge the students' efforts via the feedback survey. If you have questions about any of the projects or project materials, please contact the SCC at ixb20@psu.edu. Thank you!

BE 460/466

Projects in partnership with BE 466/460 are two-semester, sequential capstone courses focused on issues such as stormwater mitigation, soil erosion, or agricultural processes. Students define an original request by a community partner in the fall semester, conduct site visits and collect data to frame the project to meet both class requirements as well as the semester time-line and limitation.

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: PSU Student Farm

The Student Farm at Penn State is expanding and would like to have a cold storage facility on site to store fresh produce until is goes to market during warm weather season.

"Our project of developing a cold storage solution out of a shipping container created a cost-effective, sustainable, and customizable storage option for the Student Farm as they expand their facilities. This capstone project has given our team plenty of opportunities to grow and develop our educations for the better. Also, the project was a great way to round out our college education and bring what we have learned in lecture, from heat and mass transfer to structural design,to a real-world application. Throughout this project, we have learned how to incorporate sustainability goals into engineering design, as well as organize and work with multiple sponsors to achieve and apply required permitting and safety training. We also learned how to best communicate with outside sources and local businesses to help proceed efficiently. We believe that this design can bring sustainable cooling and food storage to the Student Farm at Penn State, with the potential to be adapted for use at locations all over the world."

BE 460/466

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: Blair County

The Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River in Blair County is part of an outdoor recreation network of trails and water recreation along the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal Greenway. Increased storm events have created some stream bank erosion. Students have been asked by Blair County Planning Commission to design mitigation startegies to stop land loss, sedimentation and bank erosion.

"Our capstone project taught us to design solutions that benefit the health of the environment and the community. Our stream restoration project relates to the Life on Land SDG by promoting sustainable life on land and in water, as well as good health and well-being in the community via river recreation.Through our design process, we realized the complexity of measuring and quantifying stream properties, but we worked as a unified teamto reach an appropriate solution for the project site." - Michael Gillett, Marali Kalra, Ryan Pavlik, Laura Saleh, Peter Savchik

BE 460/466

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: Whipple Dam State Park

Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County is part of the Greenwood Furnace State Park system. In recent years, the beach area at Whipple Dam has shown increased signs of erosion, due in part to more severe rain events. With lack of funds and staff to analyse current conditions, the source of multiple erosion problem areas is to be examined and mitigation recommendations are sought.

"Throughout the entire process from start to finish, working as a team to reach a final goal was unique and beneficial. The need for our team to work together to achieve a statistically-backed design that Whipple Dam State Park could use in the near future was the main factor in our success. We found a quote by Andrew Carnegie that summarized this type of feeling we felt when the project was completed. It goes, 'Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.' Overall, we enjoyed the design process this project presented and hope you can have some appreciation in our devoted time and hard work."

BE 460/466

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: Mount Union Borough

Mount Union Borough in Huntingdon County is a small, rural community with little resources to address increasing problems due to an aging infrastructure and more severe climate events. The maintenance crew has identified Jones and Katherine streets in the borough as particularly troubled due to the steep incline of the road and terminus near a fishing stream. Students are to examine existing storm water run off mitigation, and design improvements.

“Working with the Mount Union Borough has been a great experience for all five of us as we come closer to graduation. This project simulates the type of work we will be doing when we start working for engineering firms, so this has been a great way to learn. It has been an eye-opener to see how much detail goes into stormwater related projects, and we can’t thank our sponsors enough for their support. We’re happy we were able to help the Mount Union Borough and give them some guidance regarding stormwater management and future projects they may need to complete.”

The team's first meting on site with guidance from the Mount Union maintenance supervisor.

BE 460/466

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: Avery Dennison

This year's projects is the continuation of previous research in an effort to maximize compostability of labels as used to mark produce.

"The capstone experience has taught us a variety of lessons ranging from communication with team members and sponsors to technical design quality and report writing. Our project expanded our knowledge around compostingand what it means for the agents involved. We worked end-to-end from our sponsor, Avery Dennison, to the groups/labs conducting composting tests as well as with researchers in this field (Dr. Richard, PSU). The takeaway from this project for our group was: (1) it takes a lot more outside research and communication to understand the entire problem before you can start designing how to solve it, and (2) working with data can be messy and hard to interpret."

BE 460/466

Faculty: Megan Marshall, Jeffrey Catchmark Community Partner: Union County

The Union County Conservation District is seeking help in addressing significant loss of soil on an agriculturally farmed field in Union County.

"Mentoring and providing real life experiences for students is extremely important for understanding why degree programs are structured the way they are. The Union County Conservation District has been involved in two student projects during the 2019/2020 school year. It has been a pleasure working with students and seeing their perspective on problems that we look at every day. " - Eric Nyerges, Manager of the Union County Conservation District

"It was really rewarding to have the opportunity to apply what we have learned from classes in our major into the real world. After completing the project, we have a deeper appreciation for sustainability and an understanding on how human activity can alter the impact of storm water on the environment.It was an incredible experience to finally workon a real-world project, where there truly is no ‘right answer’ in the back of a textbook, yet there is an end goal that the group had to work together to achieve. We are very proud of the effort that our group has put into this project and pleased with our achievements and results.” - Jared Cooney, Joe Romano, Dixon Wiley, Brady Reuter

COMM 473

Faculty: Tara Wyckoff Community Partner: Jana Marie Foundation

The Jana Marie Foundation is seeking student input towards increasing their effectiveness in the community as a teenage suicide prevention and mental health organization in the Centre County region.

COMM 473

Faculty: Tara Wyckoff Community Partner: Centre Region Council of Government

Reducing Food Waste has become a major focus of local governments to reduce cost and greenhouse gas emissions, and to combat waste.

“Working on my senior capstone project has been an extremely enlightening and rewarding experience. I have not only learned about how to operate in a public relations agency setting by collaborating with my peers, but also have learned so much about why food waste is such a pivotal part of our lives. Now, I find myself thinking twice about the food I eat, buy and repurpose as I strive to lessen my food waste consumption.” - Darcy Pacheco

“What has been most rewarding about working on this campaign is the potential for positive change it will have not only on the Centre County community, but also on the environment. The hard work we have put into developing our message emphasizing the benefits of food waste reduction is even more meaningful because it can actually help bring about real change in the world.

The senior capstone project has emphasized the importance of teamwork in finding creative solutions for real world problems. Each team member communicated their unique perspective in a collaborative effort to create an actual public relations campaign emphasizing the benefits of food waste reduction. We learned to effectively share our individual ideas while not losing sight of our common goal to implement a successful public relations campaign for our client.” –Tess Kossoff

“Combining our efforts and individual perspectives was definitely vital to the success of the project, and we avoided becoming narrow-minded in our approach to the topic. The range in strengths within our team and within the class meant itself so well to this topic, as everyone brought something unique to the table.”Lucy McKeever


Faculty: Michelle Wooten

Community Partner: State College Borough

New high-rise buildings and a more densely populated downtown, as well as an overall increase in construction in the State College area has caused concerns about light pollution. Students in ASTRO 6 who participated in the class as a gen ed requirement or because of personal interest in the subject matter had access to light meters to measure light pollution at critical locations in the downtown area. Unfortunately due to Covid 19, an additional reading on site was not possible which would have provided more solid data for further analysis.

Anna Bonner: “Personally, I found this whole experience and partnership with the State College Borough very interesting and enjoyable. I liked the project overall, and it was nice to see how our efforts in this project can help the Borough mitigate light pollution in the area.”

Zachary Weisner: “I feel like it was fun getting to work with the borough, and recommend it to others who are interested. It was an easy process of collecting the data and it will ultimately help in making a difference.”

Jennifer Axarlis: “This project became a very good way to learn how to be flexible when it comes to group work and data collection due to the unpredicted circumstances that Covid-19 created. It was a good learning experience to learn how to work with others online efficiently.”

Hugh Dickinson: “My experience while completing this project was far better than expected. Not only did I get the opportunity to play a role in helping reduce light pollution of my second home with the Borough. I also was fortunate enough to realize how important the night sky is and that efforts must be made to keep it that way.”

Charl Morgan:Throughout this project I have come to realize how important it is to use the most efficient source of light to try and minimize the impact that artificial light has in our environment. I also really enjoyed this project.”

Tim Moran: “I really enjoyed doing this project for the Borough as it gave me a better understanding of how much light pollution impacts our environment which is something I never really thought of before. It was also a great experience to try and create a positive impact and to help towards a solution by going out and collecting the data.”

Lauren Cifelli: "Through this experience, we learned a lot about how normal, everyday light fixtures can impact local light pollution. It was surprising to see how many different things contribute to the light in the town. For example, small streetlights and many windows with bright store lights. It made us more aware of what contributes to light pollution, and how easily it can be prevented with reasonable light shades. We also learned a lot about reading maps. I think that it is exciting to think that our project will be used to not only help downtown State College but will also be used by future Penn Staters."

ESMC 100

Faculty: Karen Marosi

EMSC 100 is a freshman seminar class in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences that emphasizes reading, listening and thinking as necessary for effective written and oral arguments. Students in EMSC 100 will explore the complex concept of sustainability through a variety of media including academic and popular press sources, guest speakers, and campus events in an effort to understand the central and interdependent role that economics, science and public policy play in solving many of humanity’s greatest challenges. This project is a testament to the flexibility and resilience of faculty and students in the face of COVID 19. The project originally had a very ‘engaged’ component with students closely following other SCC projects and sustainability initiatives. As remote instruction became the norm, this project shifted to reflect on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and students’ personal interpretation and reflection on the goals.

"All students in Earth and Mineral Sciences complete a 3-credit first-year seminar that is also a writing and speaking intensive course. These seminars are taught by college faculty and provide support for the transition to college life, challenge students to consider major issues facing the world today, and promote critical reading and thinking while developing the skills necessary for effective communication. The Sustainable Development Goals video project with the Penn State Sustainability Institute challenged the students to a create short, engaging videos on one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an audience of Penn State peers. Having the Sustainability Institute serve as a client for this project provided multiple benefits for the instructor and the students. The client-driven project provided a way to emphasize the real-world communication skills students need to successfully convey complex science topics to a broad audience. The knowledge that their submissions might be used on Sustainability Institute digital media encouraged student motivation for the project beyond the grade being awarded by the instructor. And finally, these first-year students were introduced to the Sustainability Institute and its mission at Penn State which will hopefully encourage engagement with sustainability initiatives during their time at Penn State." - Karen T. Marosi, Ph.D., Director of Student Engagement & Associate Teaching Professor, Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

ESMC 100

SDG 2-Zero Hunger: Al Turaif Alwaleed

SDG 2-Zero Hunger: Caroline Spengler

SDG 2-Zero Hunger: Cara Murray

SDG Goal 2: Luke Pappa

ESMC 100

SDG 4-Quality Education: Patrick Rother

ESMC 100

SDG 7-Affordable and Clean Energy: Sultan Altamimi

SDG 7-Affordable and Clean Energy: Jacob Hannon

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy: Mufaddal Gheewala

ESMC 100

SDG 8-Decent Work and Economic Growth by Anna Bohsali

SDG 8-Decent Work and Economic Growth by Abdulrahman Alshammari

ESMC 100

SDG 12-Responsible Consumption and Production: Yusef Alfardan

SDG 12-Responsible Consumption and Production: Blake Hellman

SDG 12-Responsible Consumption and Production: Faisal Alarnaout

ESMC 100

SDG 14-Life Below Water: Austin Sullivan

SDG 14-Life Below Water: Timothy Pickarski

SDG 14-Life Below Water: Mathias Yost

ESMC 100

SDG 15-Life on Land: Gregory Guldin

SDG 15-Life on Land: Kevin Johansson

SDG 15-Life on Land: Athbi Alfarhan


Faculty: Alec Spangler, Paul Sayre

Community Partner: State College

In this final project of first-year landscape architecture design studio, students conducted a series of site investigations and design studies for Sidney Friedman Park in downtown State College. Sidney Friedman Park is an important green space in the middle of a dense neighborhood. Its role in the community is expected to evolve along with major improvements to the adjacent State College High School football field - Memorial Field - currently underway, and the possible relocation of the Discovery Space Center to the adjacent plot, where the Post-Office is now located. We take this as an opportunity to reimagine what Sidney Friedman Park can be and how it can meet the needs of its users in the future.

Students started projects by measuring and making observations on site, designed hypothetical festivals, and developed concept designs for a re-imagined park.

HDFS 447 Penn State DuBois

Faculty: Jessica Clontz

Community Partner: Square 1

While much attention of the national opioid crisis has focused on the addiction, families in rural communities often have to rely on a family network to care for those left behind in the wake of the crisis. Grandparents are often called upon to care for their grandchildren whose parents may suffer from addiction, are incarcerated, or have passed away. Although it seems 'natural,' there are little provisions to help these grand-families navigate legal requirements or to find appropriate support. Students at Penn State DuBois conducted first person interviews and research , prompted by the local non-profit organization, Square 1.

“I thought Professor Jessica Coontz’ HDFS class was impressive in several ways. First, by focusing on the challenges faced by families with grandparents and other relatives raising children, they chose a topic that has vexed human service agencies for decades. Many of these families struggle with multiple problems, including those related to finding financial, legal, and health services needed to properly care for their children. Beyond studying the needs, services, and service gaps faced by these families, the students also outlined a series of realistic action steps for how local groups, organizations, an even their university could work together to support local kinship care families. I would give these students very high marks for their research and for their humanity, as evidenced by their sincere commitment to helping those in their community who are struggling to get by.” - Matthew Kaplan, Ph.D., Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging

ART 497: Special Topics

Faculty: Kim Gates Flick

Students in this special topics class, Materials, Methods, and Makers, are participating in the Sketchbook Project of the Brooklyn Art Library. Students have chosen a Sustainable Development Goal which resonates with their interests and are creating art work to be included in this global collection.

PSU Beaver

Penn State Beaver Campus has been a partner to the Sustainable Communities Collaborative for 3 years, and has also successfully established its own student farm/garden. Professor Angela Fishman has been at the forefront of connecting food and community needs with PSU students.

PSU Abington

Penn State Abington faculty Shelly Grinar Boyd has been the local advocate on and off campus for sustainability initiatives. From campus waste reduction campaigns to riparian buffer repairs, she is connecting PSU students through curricular and co-curricular activities.

"Being a part of Penn State Abington's Sustainable Communities Collaborative has been a win-win partnership for the Ambler Borough Community. Through this program, we have worked with students to educate them about stormwater; what it is, why they should care, and what we are doing about it. Class field trips to our sites, where we have installed stormwater best management practices (BMPs) was only the beginning of our collaboration. Students furthered research of twenty riparian buffer sites with ArcGIS site maps, adding pictures, elevation, distance from the primary watershed stream, and notations of invasive species, to prioritize the sites for future implementation of planting. Through a Growing Greener grant, we were able to provide additional funding that allowed students to plan and implement a riparian buffer planting. Students participated in creating art and education projects to presentation at the Ambler EAC Earthfest in 2019. Their outreach and public education contributed to the growing sense of environmental stewardship in our community. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing bees, as part of a pollinator conservation program Shelly Grinar Boyd and her students initiated through the Penn State Abington/Ambler EAC Sustainable Collaboration. This program is a tremendous benefit to the students, their education, and our community. Thank you, Shelly, and Penn State." - Madge Monser, Chair Ambler Environmental Advisory Council (EAC)

"Working with the EAC was an unforgettable experience. Working with people that care deeply about the environment and the well being of the community showed me that together, we make a difference. One step at a time, small or big, we can make a positive change. Being a Penn State Sustainable Communities Collaborative partner gave me knowledge about and riparian buffers;what they are, why they are important,and why we need them, as well as mapping software skills that I otherwise wouldn't have acquired." -Brandon Bravo, 2019 graduate

"I love being able to be part of Penn State Sustainable Communities, and to be able to collaborate with local community partners. Being apart of a community at Penn State has made my time in college meaningful and memorable. Being able to collaborate with community partners from outside of Penn State, however,has made me realize that there are people outside of college that have the same goals as me, that also want the best for the planet that we live on. Coming together and working with people of all ages and backgrounds on an environmental community project has taught me invaluable lessons that I am excited to bring with me to wherever my goals may take me, and continue teaching the lessons I have learned." - Karley Feather, class of 2021

"Over the last few years,being a Sustainable Community Collaborative partner,I have learned so much that I will retain for the rest of my life-how to be sustainable and lessen my carbon footprint." -Frank Symkowski, 2020 graduate Student, Green Team leadership, PSU Abington

PSU Altoona

Stories of Poverty in Blair County Faculty: Kelly Munly HDFS 496 & 445 Partner: Healthy Blair County Coalition Poverty Work Group Students create stories of persons living in poverty locally by merging (1) readings/research into poverty; (2) their own direct or indirect experience and/or exposure to/conversations with individuals living in high-risk socio-economic environments; and (3) local public benefits eligibility and levels. What emerges are composite portraits of poverty grounded in research and local conditions. Selected stories to be posted on HBCC's website. The project goal is to broaden and enrich the public's understanding of poverty.

Social Determinants of Health: A Pilot Program for Next Gen Health Professionals Faculty: Mary Kananen BIOL 297 Partner: UPMC Altoona Family Physicians Undergraduate pre-health professions students perform background research on SDOH in preparation for clinic-based social needs screening and in-person patient navigation of our local human services network. Students learn about social determinants of health, explore local benefits eligibility and processes, become familiar with human services delivery systems in Blair County, and interact with individuals as "patient navigators" within a clinical setting.

Local Food Systems: Product Pricing Analysis/Hidden Costs of Supermarket foods Faculty: Melissa Kohler AGMK 102 & 106 Partner: Allegheny Food Connection Students research, analyze and present Real vs. Point-of-Service costs of selected food items available in grocery chains. Included area such factors as the length of the supply chain, seasonality, etc.

Local Food Systems: Product Pricing Analysis/Hidden Costs of Supermarket foods Faculty: Melissa Kohler BA 494 Partner: Allegheny Food Connection The goal of this research is to understand the needs and priorities of local intermediate buyers (restaurants, coffee shops, small grocery establishments) in relation to opportunities for local product sourcing. Entails survey design, implementation, analysis and presentation to AFC. Findings will be used to build stronger producer/buyer networking events and partnerships in the future. Findings should also enhance the AFC’s grant applications to explore the feasibility of a Blair County local food aggregator.

Healthy Eating and Activity Survey Faculty: Nicole Gilbertson KINES 496 Partner: Healthy Blair County Coalition Let’s Move Committee Design a survey for student-athletes at Penn State Altoona about healthy eating and living habits. The goal is to continue throughout 20-21 and adapt the instrument to be used to explore the habits and mindset of the young professional demographic in Blair County.

“This is my first time doing my own research project, including making a college level PowerPoint and explaining data that I have gathered. I have learned so much through this process.” - Katherine Korn

ARCH 442

Faculty: Ross Weinreb, Denson Groenendaal

Community: Bellefonte Borough

The Bellefonte Borough police department is considering how to best remedy tight quarters in the current Borough building. Proud of its rich architectural history, Bellefonte owns an old armory and adjacent stables close to interstate 99, yet convenient to town. PSU engineering students enrolled in this 4th year studio class have explored how to best address the requirements of a police station while preserving the historic character of the stable building and creating a design that incorporates significant sustainability measures. Student teams members represent the different areas of concentration offered in engineering, i.e. lighting or structures, for a well-rounded design approach.

As the project began, Michael Pasquarelli (Lighting/Electrical), Michael Magiske (Structural), Jordan Brescia (Lighting/Electrical) and Isaac Harbison (Structural) came together to form the team that would become NightFox Design. The goal: to restore/rehabilitate a historic horse stable located in Bellefonte, PA into a functioning police station that would be the future home of the Bellefonte Police Department. After conducting site analysis through site visitations and background research, NightFox Design began the process of taking this historic structure and ushering it into its next stage of existence. Amongst the numerous obstacles the team would encounter throughout the project, possibly the greatest was the designing of a functioning floor plan that would provide a safe and secure environment for not only Bellefonte Police Officers, but also any visitors to the facility. Through much trial and tribulation, and with the assistance of one Denson Groenendaal (Professor of Architecture) the team was able to provide just that. Overall, NightFox Design came away from the project proud of the proposed building that would house the Bellefonte Police Department. The proposed design takes into account historical preservation of the existing structure, environmental factors such as daylighting and effective water management and above all else, the safety and security of the building’s inhabitants.

“Overall, I’d say the project instilled in me a new-found respect for just how much planning and care goes into not just the design of a police station, but every category of building. There are so many factors that can go overlooked, but once you’re the team trusted with the design of the building, there is no cutting of corners, everything must be taken into account. I think I speak for the whole team when I say we were very proud to have the opportunity to contribute to such a meaningful project, and it was extremely rewarding in the end to see how hard everyone, other groups included, worked on this project throughout the semester.” –Michael Pasquarelli, NightFox team member

"The Bellefonte Police Department deserves an updated facility, as the current location is lacking in security, storage, and functionality. The team used these main points when designing the floor plans for the proposed adaptive reuse of the historic horse stables. Two main hurdles that the team needed to design around were the historic preservation and financial restrictions, so our design had little intervention with the historic building and we designed it so that it could be restored to its original conditions if needed. We combined the requirement to preserve the stable’s historic status with the preference to keep the police station cost-effective. In addition, the project’s innate status as adaptive reuse beckons for sustainability, and with the mechanical, electrical and structural systems we are implementing, LEED Gold for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) will be attained. Overall, our proposal combines modern security, occupant comfort and aesthetic that blends with the historic sentiment of the site." -Rachel Weaver, David Wood, Alex Gubrek, Xu Qiao

“...These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place, people, and the planet at the center, are needed at the global,regional, national and local level...” - Tyler Demyan, Sean McGovern, Kailey Karabin, Andrew Kirsch

CED 475

Faculty: Tim Kelsey

Community: Newton Hamilton Historical Society

Located along the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal Greenway, the historic Lock Keeper house owned by the Newton Hamilton Historical Society, has become the focus of CED 475 students who explored its economic development potential. This project is but the beginning for continued collaboration with this rural non-profit partner to explore opportunities that can provide economic growth, land preservation, healthy outdoor activities, while preserving the local cultural assets.

at Penn State

ASES is always looking for new students to join and grow with us in learning how to implement sustainable practices and make a difference through the use of solar technology! No previous knowledge is required, students from all different backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to join. If you are interested in participating, you can also start attending the meetings at any point in the semester – no signup required ahead of time.

“I have been a member of ASES since the start of my time at University-Park and I have loved all the projects that I have been able to work on and all the people I’ve met. ASES has allowed me to learn new things and gain hands-on skills that we did not cover in many of my classes.” -Rawan Abu-Zaineh, Vice-President 2019-2020

Learning Factory Capstone Project: Energy Dashboard

Faculty Advisor: Semih Eser

Community Partner: State College

"For generations of sustainable future"

BA 442

Faculty: Karen Winterich Community Partner: Lightsource BP

Lightsource BP is a leading developer of large scale solar applications to meet energy needs from renewables. Lightsource BP seeks to better understand consumer attitudes toward solar and the value they place on different benefits of responsible solar farming. For this project, BA 442 students determined a brand positioning and marketing plan for Lightsource BP.

Learning Factory Engineering Capstone Project: Flow Controls for Stormwater Mitigation

Faculty Advisor: Len Bilen

Community Partner: State College

The Westerly Parkway basin within the Wetland Education Center serves as a stormwater storage and flow control structure. It was designed to delay upstream stormwater flows by automatically closing the outflow gate during heavy/intense storms. Over the years some of the functionality of critical floats that open and close a flow control gate has been lost. This project aims to devise a new or refurbished mechanism for effective control during storm events.

"Working with the Sustainable Communities Collaborative and the State College Borough made for a very unique, challenging, and engaging project. It was a great experience to apply the skills and talents we have developed at Penn State to a project that benefits the community and the environment." - Joshua Martin

Graphic Design 304

Faculty: Ryan Russell

Community Partner: Sustainability Institute, Student Engagement

The vision for Sports and Event sustainability provides an umbrella for existing and new initiatives at Penn State relating to sports and events of all kinds. The partner is therefore seeking a brand guide, including a logo, which can be used for all the activities proposed in the draft.

"This is my second time working with Ryan Russell and his graphic design class through the Sustainable Communities Collaborative. I am always blown away with the high-quality professional results that the students provide!"- Doug Goodstein, Associate Director for Student Engagement, Sustainability Institute
Design by: Christie Warren
Design by : Abigail Blend
Design by : Abigail Blend
Design by: Emily Watkins
Design by: Taylor Mazzarella
Design by: Jackie Siry
Design by: Jackie Siry
Design by: Cassie Luzenski
Design by: Cassie Luzenski
Design by: Sarah Martin
Design by: Amber Lai
Design by: Eileen Yu
Design by: Michaela Lucas


Faculty: Heather Karsten; Rob Berghage Community Partner: New Berlin

New Berlin is a small rural community in central Pennsylvania with deep appreciation of its history. A stellar example is the reuse and adaptation of the 1840's Presbyterian Church as a community center. In partnership with the conservation district, the community seeks a historically appropriate garden design that incorporates pollinators and public education as landscaping around the center.

New Berlin Community Center, formerly the Presbyterian Church (1840)
"Working with students helps stimulate new ideas and allows us to explore ideas that we may not have time for in our day to day activities. We look forward to working with students in the future and helping them gain some real world experience as they start their new careers." Eric Nyerges, Manager of the Union County Conservation District


Faculty: Rob Berghage, Heather Karsten

Community Partner: State College

Plants not only introduce a sense of nature in the built environment, but contribute positively to air quality, moderate temperatures, and are believed to reduce stress. While green spaces in the urban environment are desirable, they also come at a significant cost.

The Pugh Street Garage

Increasingly, vertical green spaces are applied to offer some of the environmental benefits of live plants. State College Borough is the lead on this project as it explores the feasibility of a green wall on the Pugh Street garage.

Example of Patrick Blanc design, Paris, France


Faculty: Rob Berghage, Heather Karsten

Community Partner: Huntingdon Art Space

The Art Space in Huntingdon is home to the local arts community. Located squarely downtown, it is surrounded by pavement, parking and near a busy intersection.

The Art Space, Huntingdon, PA

In partnership with the Huntingdon County Master Gardeners, the building owner would like to explore installing a green wall and/or other plant material to make the space more attractive through creative use of plants.

Student suggestion

ESMC 496, World Campus

Faculty: Haley Sankey Community Partner: Etna Furnace

Penn State students worked with local municipalities who participated in a first-time coordinated greenhouse gas inventory across 20 communities in Pennsylvania last year. With GHG results in hand, students analysed and identified those areas that would create the most GHG reductions.

"The Etna GHG inventory and Climate Action Plan is the perfect mixture of mitigation and community engagement. The process brought me closer to local residents, which inspired creative ideas for sustainable development. Projects like this should become a requirement for cities in order for them to stay on track and to ensure thoughtful development." - Mason Taylor

EMSC 496, World Campus

Faculty: Haley Sanky Community Partner: Millvale Borough

Penn State students worked with local municipalities who participated in a first-time coordinated greenhouse gas inventory across 20 communities in Pennsylvania last year. With GHG results in hand, students analysed and identified those areas that would create the most GHG reductions.

"I think the PA Climate Action Assistance Program was great to be a part of because I can help a community become more sustainable virtually. Millvale is already a small town with a population less than 4,000 people, but it was great collecting data for the local government and help them find ways to mitigate/adapt to climate change impacts affecting their community." Lucas Skiba, student

Video: Millvale Borough Climate Action Plan: Lightning Talk by Lucas Skiba

Graphics Design 203

Faculty: Emily Burns; Huiwon Lim

Community Partner: Centre Region Council of Government Sustainability Office

The Centre Regional Planning Agency has been tasked with creating a regional climate action and adaptation plan. This is a new position and a new project, and the agency is seeking branding guidelines. The vision is to have an overarching theme that has a look that becomes recognizable for this project and sustainability in the region. It should lend itself to be used on the regional level by COG or at the municipal level. Ideally it could also lend itself to diverse and distinct sustainability projects.

"This was a really fun project and I believe having a logo and brand for sustainability in the region will make outreach and engagement more effective. I hope it helps to energize residents and business to take action when they see the collaboration being done by all the Centre Region municipalities on sustainability." Pam Adams, Sustainability Planner, CRCoG
Graphic Design solutions by students in Sections 1 & 2 of GD 203

LER 460

Faculty: Tom Hogan

LER 460, Ethics in the Workplace has been a steadfast partner with the Sustainable Communities Collaborative. Every semester, senior HR students test their skills in addressing client identified areas of concern; including increasing diversity in the workforce; mentoring new employees, and increasing volunteer participation in events.

“Research is a big part of finding good solutions”-Miranda Bell, student LER 460

Thank you for attending the Spring Virtual EXPO!

Please complete the survey to share your feedback with students, faculty and community partners. If you're interested in partnering with the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, please contact Ilona Ballreich at ixb20@psu.edu to discuss your project or opportunities to engage with the community.


Created with images by Markus Spiske - "Made with Canon 5d Mark III and loved analog lens, Leica Summilux-R 1.4 / 50mm (Year: 1981)" • Wil Stewart - "Shooting Star Night Forest" • Wes Hicks - "Dimensions" • Timothée Duran - "untitled image" • Matthew Mech - "untitled image" • Shahadat Rahman - "untitled image" • Sandro Schuh - "White soccer line" • Lysander Yuen - "untitled image" • Caroline Justine - "untitled image" • Constant Yearning - "Wonderful uniform background from ivy, wall covered in ivy" • Constant Yearning - "Wonderful uniform background from ivy, wall covered in ivy"