Mont Alto Campus Sustainability Champions Recognized
In January, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) recognized former Penn State Mont Alto student Alex Stanish ’14 and members of the Penn State Mont Alto Sustainability Committee as 2013 Campus Sustainability Champions for their green efforts at Mont Alto.
Penn State’s strategic vision integrates sustainability into research, teaching, and service to prepare students, faculty and staff to be tomorrow's sustainability leaders.
Mont Alto is one of 70 member institutions of higher education working with PERC to “take action towards a sustainable future,” according to its website.
Stanish, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in horticulture with a minor in sustainability leadership, is the former president of Mont Alto’s Environmental Club and a former student representative to the Sustainability Committee. Also, as a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, the Honor Society for Agriculture, he helped organize the Trash to Treasure Sale, taking donated items from the residence halls and selling them at a yard sale. The event raised $105 and was donated to Heifer International, an organization that distributes animals and gives agricultural training to families in need around the world. Stanish also participated in projects such as Campus Clean-Up Day and worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Linghao Zhong to submit proposals to fund a solar-powered laptop and cellphone charging station on Mont Alto’s campus.
Since 2010, the Mont Alto Sustainability Committee has researched and incorporated ways for the campus to reduce electricity, fuel, water, and materials use. Members have developed strategies to increase campus recycling, educated the campus community about sustainability, made efforts to get faculty to infuse sustainability into the curriculum, reduced the campus carbon footprint, increased “green” campus purchasing, reduced what the campus sends to the landfill and waste in general and publicized Mont Alto’s sustainability efforts. It has also identified funding sources to support campus sustainability efforts.
According to Sustainability Committee Co-chair Beth Brantley, the committee continues in its commitment to sustainability across all facets of the campus, through demonstration and education.
Stanish first became interested in sustainability when he realized fertilizer and cow manure from the area where he lived was running into the rivers. “It concerned me,” he said. “I started doing some research and decided that I liked learning about sustainability methods and sustainability in general, and it took off from there.”
Although he is completing his degree at University Park, Stanish credits his decision to pursue a profession in sustainability to his former professors at Mont Alto. “Talking to Dr. Zhong and other professors, who are concerned with environmental sustainability and doing research about it, got me interested in pursuing it as a career,” he said.