Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison David Cullmer
Submission Date Oct. 20, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
EN-1: Student Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.50 / 4.00 Rob Andrejewski
Associate Director of Engagement
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution coordinate one or more ongoing student, peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

Number of degree-seeking students enrolled at the institution:
45,351

Name of the student educators program (1st program):
Penn State Eco-Reps Program

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (1st program):
4,600

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (1st program):

Penn State Student Eco-Reps are first-year student sustainability educators living in residence halls. Eco-Reps educate and engage their peers through their own example, interactive programs, and educational campaigns. Eco-Reps emphasize recycling and composting during the fall semester and organize a recycling challenge in the residence halls. In the spring semester, they encourage responsible energy usage and activities include a No Impact Week and an energy conservation challenge. Eco-Reps work together to design activities that are informative and fun that support campus-wide sustainability focused initiatives. They utilize the principles of community-based social marketing to guide their outreach strategies. The overall approach of the Penn State Student Eco-Rep Program can be summarized as "lead by example, one issue at a time, one behavior at a time." They focus on promoting on educating themselves so they may be ready to educate otherr. The targeted behaviors were chosen because they are actions students can control, are measurable and have the most significant environmental impact.


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (1st program):

Application to the program is open to all incoming first-year students at Penn State University Park. Currently all Eco-reps live in East Halls on the UP campus; however there is potential for expanding the program to other residence halls on the UP campus, as well as to other campus locations with residence halls. Students interested in applying for a position send a cover letter explaining their interest, resume, and two references via email to the Eco-Rep Coordinator. Selected students are interviewed and reviewed by an Eco-Rep Selection Committee.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (1st program):

The Eco-Reps:
•Learn about the issue or problem the behavior is meant to address (such as the financial, environmental, and social impact issues of energy use)
•Adopt the new behaviors themselves
•Teach and empower their peers to adopt the new behaviors via passive (signage, online strategies) and active programming (events, in-person engagement).

To prepare for their role, the selected Eco-Reps participate in an all-day orientation before move-in day and attend weekly training programs. A high level of interactivity, hands-on learning and engagement is part of every training program. Students learn the basics of sustainability issues, resources and statistics from subject area experts from the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), Auxiliary and Business Services and various academic colleges. For excample, they learn about the types and amount of energy used at Penn State University Park from OPP energy engineers. The Eco-Reps learn the strategies and tools of effective behavior change using as a foundation the principles of community-based social marketing. Teambuilding training is also offered to get the Eco-Reps working effectively together and with others. Throughout the school year Eco-Reps receive training from Penn State leaders and take educational tours like a tour of the the community waste authority and the campus recycling tour.
Training is based on the theme or issue of each semester. Traditionally we have focused on energy one semester and waste (recycling/composting) the other semester.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (1st program):

Currently, the coordinator of the Eco-Rep Program is a full-time staff member at the Penn State Sustainability Institute. The funding for the program is provided mainly from the Housing and Food Services department which is part of Auxiliary and Business Services. Other direct financial and in-kind support is provided by Residence Life and the Sustainability Institute. University Housing and Food Services funds the Eco-Reps stipends of $500 per semester. Residence Life funds programming supplies, food during orientation, and incentives needed for the Eco-Reps programs. Various university faculty and staff participate in training the Eco-Reps. The Campus Sustainability Office funds trainings, tours,transportation, some marketing materials, the Eco-Rep Handbook, Eco-Rep shirts, and food.


Name of the student educators program (2nd program):
Students Taking Action to Encourage Recycling (STATERs)

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (2nd program):
21,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

Begun in 2005 as a group encouraging tailgaters to pitch it in to the right bin, STATERs has grown into a key OPP partner on educating about recycling and composting. Under the guidance of the Manager of Solid Waste Operations, the STATERs educate students and community members on recycling and composting practices at major events, including football games, THON, the Eisenhower Patio Party, and various sustainability conferences. They collaborate with a number of groups on Penn State's service leaders roundtable, known as the Council of Lionhearts, and help plan campus service days! http://sustainability.psu.edu/staters


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (2nd program):

All students are welcome to join STATERs. Leaders in the organization submit applications and are selected by their peers and the faculty coordinator of the group. Students who do not have a leadership role can join STATERs at their many events and get trained on-the-job. The recent "Beaver Stadium Recycling Effort" trained many students to be peer educators on best practices in waste diversion.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (2nd program):

The training is done under the supervision of Al Matyasovaky, Senior Program Manager of Solid Waste Services. All members of the organization receive formal and hands-on training in types of solid waste they may encounter, waste diversion practices at Penn State, and how to engage various audiences.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (2nd program):

STATERs is a volunteer organization, but there are in-kind donations of food, tickets to sporting events, and gear. All STATERs gear used during education, waste diversion, and audit efforts - shirts, tyvek suits, goggles - is provided by the Office of Physical plant. Students who worked the Beaver Stadium recycling effort received a ticket to the football game that they worked. Meal tickets are given to students at conferences for assistance with zero waste efforts.


Name of the student educators program (3rd program):
Penn State Net Impact - Small Steps Big Wins

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (3rd program):
793

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (3rd program):

Penn State Net Impact Undergraduate (PSNIUG) is a newly formed and fast growing student organization in the Smeal College of Business. We are affiliated with Net Impact National, a nonprofit organization with over 50,000 students and professional leaders in over 300 volunteer-led chapters across the globe. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Net Impact is The Small Steps, Big Wins Challenge is a competition for undergraduate students seeking to tackle our world’s social and environmental challenges one step at a time. This challenge represents the “Live” aspect of Penn State Net Impact’s goal. http://sites.psu.edu/netimpactugchapter/about-us/


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (3rd program):

The student educators for this program are titled as Campus Directors. These Campus Directors are usually a member of the Net Impact Chapter at a participating college campus. The Small Steps, Big Wins Challenge is fairly new, and in Spring 2013 the campus director for Penn State was placed based on a review of their resume and an interview was conducted. They hold an executive board position within Penn State Net Impact Undergraduate, however this may not be the case for other campuses. When the campus director moves on from their position a similar process is carried out. A new campus director for Penn State was chosen in early Spring Semester 2014 based on a review of a resume and interview.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (3rd program):

Upon initiation into their new position the 2014 - 2015 Campus Director is mentored by the previous individual who held that position for the remainder of the Spring 2014 Semester. In Fall 2013, the top 20 Campus Directors at the time (Penn State being one of them) were asked to fly out to the Net Impact National Conference in October 2013 to hold discussions, workshops, and collaboration with other successful college campuses on training s for the Small Steps, Big Wins Challenge. The trip was paid for by Net Impact National.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (3rd program):

Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge is implemented by Penn State Net Impact Undergraduate. The PSU Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter provides cash incentives (prizes) for our own organization‘s top performers in the challenge. We also provide cash incentives (prizes) for a class that offers the challenge as extra credit. The prizes are provided to the top 5 performs within the class.


Name(s) of the student educator program(s) (all other programs):
HealthWorks

Number of students served (i.e. directly targeted) by all other student educator programs:
2,000

A brief description of the program(s), including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (all other programs):

HealthWorks is a peer education/outreach program in University Health Services that aims to promote health among Penn State students.

The mission of HealthWorks is to: Increase awareness and knowledge of health issues such as sexual health, nutrition and fitness, stress, sleep, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, body image and eating disorders, and wellness; Promote healthy lifestyle choices; Provide health education programs, information, and materials to students; and Advocate for a healthy Penn State community. http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/wellness/healthWorks.shtml


A brief description of how the student educators are selected (all other programs):

Students complete an online application, submit a copy of an unofficial (advising) transcript, provide the name, e-mail address, and telephone number of a current/former employer, advisor, or instructor who can complete a recommendation. Applicants are notified of whether or not they are selected for an interview. Interviewees are notified of whether or not they are accepted into the HealthWorks training class. If accepted into the HealthWorks training class, participants have the option to accept or decline.


A brief description of the formal training that the student educators receive (all other programs):

Training consists of a mandatory 3-credit class (BB H 324) that addresses health behavior theory, health promotion strategies, and health issues relevant to the college population. Health topics include alcohol and other drugs, nutrition, physical activity, sexual health, sleep, and stress. Additional ongoing training will take place during the Spring 2015 semester.


A brief description of the financial or other support the institution provides to the program (all other programs):

Affiliated with University Health Services and Student Affairs.


Total number of hours student educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
1,000

The website URL for the peer-to-peer student outreach and education program(s):

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.