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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
EN-4: Outreach Materials and Publications

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts?:
Yes

A brief description of the central sustainability website (optional):

Penn State has a Sustainability Portal/ website that provides information on sustainability initiatives and resources of interest to students, faculty, staff and visitors. The site includes information on sustainability-related education, research, outreach and operations, as well as news articles, an events calendar, links to other resources, and information on the Sustainability Institute and its programs and staff.


The website URL for the central sustainability website:
Does the institution have a sustainability newsletter?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability newsletter:

The "Mainstream" e-newsletter is Penn State’s Sustainability News for each week highlighting sustainability outreach, operations and academics. The publication shares stories from across all campuses and areas at Penn State while also letting everyone know about upcoming events, funding opportunities, and how to follow us on social media.

AIR is a monthly newsletter for Green Team members and any other interested parties. Each issue includes an Accomplishment, and Inspiration and Resources (AIR) aimed at a staff audience. The publication is sent out to over 1,000 Penn Staters and each month’s edition is archived on the Green Teams website. http://sustainability.psu.edu/live/staff/green-teams-program


The website URL for the sustainability newsletter:
Does the institution have social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, interactive blogs) that focus specifically on campus sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of the social media platforms that focus on sustainability:

Penn State uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as social media platforms that focus on sustainability. Our most engaging/engaged platform for sustainability is our Twitter account.
https://twitter.com/sustainPSU
https://www.instagram.com/sustainpsu/


The website URL of the primary social media platform focused on sustainability:
Does the institution have regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper, either through a regular column or a reporter assigned to the sustainability beat?:
Yes

A brief description of the regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper:

Each semester, a student is assigned to cover the environment beat for Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian.
A search of the Daily Collegian archives shows that 139 articles which include the term "sustainability" appeared in the most recent one year period.
Onward State, the alternative student newspaper, has multiple student writers who address sustainability issues.


The website URL for regular coverage of sustainability in the main student newspaper:
Does the institution produce a vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:

News articles highlighting sustainability-related research by both faculty and students are curated and publicized via the weekly e-newsletter Mainstream (see link above). Many of these articles also appear in Penn State Today, the University's daily newsletter, and Penn State News, the news portion of its website. http://news.psu.edu/
Some of our students' sustainability research projects get published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Undergraduates may present their research results at the University's annual undergraduate research exposition. Graduate student theses and dissertations are published in the online eTD database that allows one to search titles for terms such as "sustainability". https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/
The results of student engaged scholarship projects, conducted as part of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, are presented at a bi-annual poster expo, typically held at the State College Borough Building.

Student research projects funded by the Reinvention Fund are listed at: http://sustainability.psu.edu/reinvention and news articles describing their outcomes are curated on this site.

The Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) at Penn State has an on-line resource geared to publicize and disseminate student research on energy and the environment. For a more ephemeral but larger representation, IEE also "publishes and disseminates" student research at their annual picnic: Bar Charts and Bar-B-Que. At this gathering, faculty and students share their research results.


The website URL for the vehicle to publish and disseminate student research on sustainability:
Does the institution have building signage that highlights green building features?:
Yes

A brief description of building signage that highlights green building features :

The green roof installed as part of the LEED-certified HUB student union building addition and renovation project, includes signage to educate community members about the green roof’s sustainability benefits, plants and weather station.

The Intramural (IM) building has a sign that explains its LEED characteristics. Similar signage is planned for the LEED-certified Steidle building as well.


The website URL for building signage that highlights green building features :
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Does the institution have signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:

The dining halls have signage to combat food waste. There are posters to educate about composting. Vegetarian meals are made available in all five dining areas and are labeled as such.


The website URL for food service area signage and/or brochures that include information about sustainable food systems:
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Does the institution have signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed?:
Yes

A brief description of the signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed:

In an effort to rehabilitate Penn State's historic Hort Woods, the University has been removing invasive plants and restoring the area with native woodland trees, shrubs and herbs. Signage has been installed to help the public understand this example of diverse forest on our campus and its importance to our community. At the Penn State Arboretum, interpretive signage educates the public about special features, such as the pollinator garden and the meadow marsh.

A website, Trees of Penn State, provides a list of all tree species found on campus, along with a detailed description of their characteristics, photos, and information on the cultivated landscape to which each is best suited (e.g., "Introduced in 1724, the White Ash is a handsome native tree for parks or large areas."). It also provides information on heritage trees and tree groves that have exceptional historical, cultural and/or aesthetic value. There is also a clickable map that provides identifying information for each tree on campus. http://lorax.opp.psu.edu/homepage.asp


The website URL for the signage on the grounds about sustainable groundskeeping and/or landscaping strategies employed:
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Does the institution produce a sustainability walking map or tour?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability walking map or tour:

Penn State has both an online and paper map that guides people to see sustainable features on the University Park campus. A description of the sustainable features is included for all 24 sites, as well as icons for key features. The map shows the community garden, LEED buildings, green roofs, native landscaping, public transportation stops, and more.

Lion Ambassadors (Student Tour Group) recently added Sustainability as a topic of discussion during their New/Perspective student tours.


The website URL of the sustainability walking map or tour:
Does the institution produce a guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation:

The sustainability.website provides information on more sustainable means of transportation, including information for bicyclists, about eco-friendly fleet vehicles, schedules for the Campus Shuttle and CATA bus system, ride share programs, and discounted fares for bus service to selected cities.

Penn State Transportation Service's website also provides much of the same information, plus links to Zimride and Enterprise CarShare programs, Regional Bus Service, Football Shuttles, and shuttles to the Hershey Medical School campus.

A Rider app for the Campus Shuttle allows riders to track the shuttles' locations in real time to better estimate arrival times.


The website URL for the guide for commuters about how to use more sustainable methods of transportation:
Does the institution produce navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians (e.g. covering routes, inter-modal connections, policies, services, and safety)? :
Yes

A brief description of the navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians:

Penn State Transportation Services' website has a page for Biking that includes information on bicycle registration, rules & regulations, route maps and resources, safety and security, and Bicycle Friendly University. Pedestrian maps, with buildings marked, are available on sidewalk pedestals at select locations on campus. Maps are also available online.


The website URL for navigation and educational tools for bicyclists and pedestrians:
Does the institution produce a guide for green living and/or incorporating sustainability into the residential experience?:
Yes

A brief description of the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:

A page on the main sustainability website is devoted to "Sustainability in Our Residence Halls". The page includes tips for improving sustainability in the areas of energy and water use, waste, purchasing and transportation.


The website URL for the guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residential experience:
Does the institution produce other sustainability outreach materials or publications not covered above?:
Yes

A brief description of these materials or publications:

In 2014, Penn State's Sustainability Institute staff worked closely with the Human Resources division to create a tip sheet to guide a supervisor's and staff's conversation on sustainability during annual reviews and goal-setting.
http://sustainability.psu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Embedding%20Sustainability%20into%20You%40PSU_Outreach.docx


The website URL for these materials or publications:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.