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

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
IN-2: Innovation 2

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

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Reinvention Fund

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Penn State's Reinvention Fund is an internal competitive grants program designed to "provide resources to innovative teams seeking to pursue interdisciplinary and holistic solutions to sustainability challenges in a way that fosters cross functional integration of Penn State’s teaching, research, outreach, operation, and administration expertise, so that our university community can link and leverage our depth and build our collective capacity in pursuit of sustainability".

This year the Fund awarded almost $750,000 to faculty/staff teams and about $100,000 to student teams located across the University's colleges, campuses and administrative units. Resources for the Fund were "contributed from all of Penn State's major functional units - Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education, Research, Outreach, and Finance and Business - and represent an institutional commitment to sustainability," according to Provost Nick Jones.

Three types of proposals were solicited:
• Development of new solutions to sustainability challenges
• Demonstration of measurable value that can be captured through the implementation of sustainability initiative and solutions
• Enhancement of learning across Penn State communities

The theme of the 2013 Reinvention Fund is "Building the Living Laboratory." It refers an immersive learning environment that utilizes the physical spaces, relationships, policies and processes of campuses and communities as hands-on learning opportunities.
Internal and external reviewers assessed proposals through a multi-step merit review process. Grants were awarded based on recommendations for priority ranking and availability of funds.

Examples of faculty/staff projects include:
• Community Solar on State - Create an outreach and educational platform that will allow our community to proceed with a pilot community PV project, capture the best practices learned, and enable prospective future solar projects.
• Development of Sustainable Social Network and Social Marketing Resources for Promoting University-based Activity Transportation.
• Making Penn State Athletics Events More Sustainable - Learn more about available ways to increase sustainability of athletics events, then put those solutions into place.
• Infusing Concepts of Sustainability throughout the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management Curriculum.

Examples of student projects include:
• Affordable Greenhouse Venture Cameroon – Refine current affordable greenhouse technology in preparation for large-scale dissemination though a network of distribute micro-enterprises throughout West Africa.
• Pride Pantry – Create an on-campus food pantry for low-income students to overcome restrictions to students at the State College Area Food Bank.
• Remote Wind Power – Participate in the DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition to design and build a portable wind energy generation system, including market research and financial analysis to support the viability of the product.
• Increasing Local Foods at Penn State – Make the food system more sustainable by bringing more locally grown and produced food to the dining commons and restaurants at University Park.

A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

At the proposal stage, each project was required to propose metrics by which its success would be measured. In addition, metrics are being developed to evaluate the success of the program as a whole. Overall, we anticipate that the projects collectively will lead to a variety of new sustainability practices, initiatives, and demonstrations on campus; enhanced sustainability in the curriculum; and some reductions in waste, energy, and greenhouse gases on campus.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings Yes
Dining Services Yes
Energy Yes
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation Yes
Waste Yes
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment Yes

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

Projects funded under the Reinvention Fund program can potentially fall into any of the above STARS subcategories.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.