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How Penn State is becoming a leader in renewable energy options across its commonwealth campuses

By District Energy posted 04-08-2021 07:55


University Park Campus News


Gabriel Schaefer has been interested in renewable energy for years — but a trip to Iceland made his fascination grow even more.

While overseas, Schaefer (senior-energy engineering) — who is a member of Penn State’s Student Sustainability Advisory Council — said he saw the impacts of increased carbon emissions by witnessing the intervals of glacier recedings. Ultimately, he said the trip “shifted his global perspective.”

Schaefer said he knew about climate change and its impacts before traveling to Iceland, but seeing it “in real life” put him in his place.

Peter Buck is an academic programs manager at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and chair of an intergovernmental solar purchasing agreement working group in Centre County. He said climate change is a pertinent problem in society that needs to be combated with cleaner energy options.

Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost at the university, said “Penn State leads by example and shows [its] students — who are tomorrow’s leaders — the importance of promoting sustainability and being advocates for change for the public good.”

According to Jones, the “commitment” by the university to “holistic institutional sustainability” is similar to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reflecting “globally shared values.”

“Penn State’s strategic plan through 2025 cites stewardship of our planet’s resources as one of five priorities and ensuring a sustainable future is a key foundation in the plan,” Jones said via email.

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