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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
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Study Away Pittsburgh

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

A unique new immersive learning program has been developed, and will host its first cohort of students in Fall 2017. Study Away Pittsburgh is a 15-credit residential program that provides Penn State students with an immersive urban experience while taking classes in person and online. It is designed to allow students to learn about urban sustainability challenges and solutions while working on projects that directly improve Pittsburgh’s communities. A unique component of the program is its community practicum or field experience requirement. Students will engage in research and learning projects with a sustainability theme, sponsored by local governments, nonprofit organizations, and community partners. Topical areas for the projects will include affordable housing, alternative transportation, clean air and water, food security, health, urban forestry, energy efficiency, green business, economic revitalization, recreation, and park and green space revitalization. The program provides students with an alternative to a Study Abroad experience.

In this inaugural semester, two students are enrolled. Each is working on a project with a community partner. One, in conjunction with the PA Environmental Council, will develop a feasibility study for a new conservation landscape called, Glacier’s Edge. The other, with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, will work on various projects related to citywide land recycling reform.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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.