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Sustainovation Club Kick-Off Beyond Expectation 

Photo Credit : WiKimedia Commons

Breath Hand, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, bkh5174@psu.edu

The newly-minted Sustainovation Club announced its receipt of a Pepsi mini-grant, unveiled community projects, and introduced community partners at its well-attended first-ever meeting held in the student union.

An estimated seventy students attended the recent kick-off meeting for the new club, whose name and mission incorporates the ideas of sustainability and innovation into one body, the Sustainovation Club. At the meeting Dr. Laura Guertin, professor of earth science, shared the line-up of community partners in addition to Pepsi, with whom the club would be engaging. These partners include neighbors Ridley Creek State Park, Tyler Arboretum, as well as the Media Food Bank. In addition to a presentation by Dr. Guertin, representatives from Ridley Creek and Tyler Arboretum expressed their excitement concerning the upcoming collaborative projects.

In his brief address to the crowd Gary Stolz, DCNR Park Naturalist for Ridley Creek State Park and White Clay Creek Preserve said, “Trees sustain us, if you’re here and enjoy breathing oxygen, thank a tree!” This before inviting and encouraging all those attending to come for a walk in the park, an inevitability for those active in the club. His enthusiasm for nature was evident as he expressed his thanks for the club’s ongoing efforts to assist in updating existing tree markers at the park and create the interactive app and web presence slated to be completed in the spring.

Among other projects on the docket for the club is participation in Tyler Arboretum’s Pumpkin Days festival (October 14 & 15), at which the club will staff an interactive Sustainability Research Station. In the spring semester, assisted in part by the Engineering Club, the club participates in the nationally recognized CanstructionU project to benefit the Media Food Bank.

A primary mission of the club is to seek out community partners with whom to work on projects related to the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainability Goals to be achieved globally over the next 13 years. The Sustainovation Club has a jump-start on its mission thanks in large part to two factors: the participation of two club advisors in Penn State University’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative and the receipt of a one-year $5000 mini-grant from Pepsi. In the grant-seeking process Brandywine campus competed against many other Penn State campuses, some of whom ultimately received larger, three-year grants. Over the course of the next year Brandywine campus has the opportunity to become eligible for even more funds after satisfying the initial grant requirements. This seems very likely, considering the projects slated for the next two semesters.

The Sustainovation Club looks to be off to an exciting start, aided by broad administrative and faculty support including participation by those in Information Technology Services, Communications, Geology, Biology, Engineering, and Library Services. So, if you are interested in any of those subjects, the environment in general, or are in need of a project to satisfy a capstone experience or for an assignment requiring community volunteerism, this club may be the one for you. After their big splash onto the scene, we expect to hear more from this new club.

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