Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.49
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Dec. 17, 2020

STARS v2.2

Pennsylvania State University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

Penn State has engaged local governments on the following issues which promote sustainability:

- Alternative modes of transportation to campus
- Support of and land transfer for a regional park
- Support for a temporary local ordinance that mandates mask wearing and social distancing in most instances and limits the size of gatherings in the borough, directly adjacent to the University Park campus, to address health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Engaged the local community in developing management strategies for a 355 acre parcel owned by Penn State to promote conservation, aquifer protection, and recreational use. The land abuts an existing municipal park.
- Through the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, assisted in the development of a sustainability plan for the Borough of State College, served on the Borough's Sustainability Committee, and conducted a number of student projects to inform local policy.
- Worked with the local Council of Governments' Sustainability Planner on their Climate Action & Adaptation Plan.
- Collaborated with the Borough of State College on their bike share program to ensure that the two programs' rules were complementary.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

Penn State has engaged state governments on the following issues which promote sustainability:

- Funding for agricultural research and extension
- Funding for energy efficient building research
- Legislation regarding green buildings
- Advocated for clean energy policies
- Hosted a series of webinars for the PA GreenGov Council in support of the Commonwealth’s progress toward sustainability goals set forth in the Governor’s Executive Order 2019-01
- Advocated to promote more affordable educational opportunities for students across the Commonwealth.
- Engaged with state elected officials to highlight the University's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions though a large solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

The Office of Government and Community Relations has engaged at the national level on the following issues to promote overall funding of sustainability-related research programs:

Endorsed or advocated in some form for the following legislation:
- S. 3429, Farmer Drive Conservation Outcomes Act
- H.R. 5374, Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act
- H.R. 6097, Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act
- H.R. 4091, ARPA-E Reauthorization Act
- S. 2714, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Reauthorization Act
- H.R. 2986, Better Energy Storage Technology Act
- H.R. 5428, Grid Modernization Research and Development Act
- Interior Appropriations – In support of funding for the USGS Water Resources Research Act program.

In 2017 Penn State signed an open letter ("We Are Still In") to the international community that affirmed the University’s support for efforts to follow through with targets outlined in the Paris Agreement to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

In 2020, Penn State joined the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA). The vision of this group is "to provide a central hub for universities to share the latest climate research with the public and enable greater collaboration between leading research teams, supporting global leaders, policy makers and industry in planning for and responding to climate change". https://www.universitiesforclimate.org/members/ In December 2020 Penn State endorsed a letter drafted by the IUCA urging world leaders, specifically G20 leaders, to protect humankind from climate change. https://www.universitiesforclimate.org/climate-declaration/


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

Penn State engages in public policy advocacy through the Office of Government and Community Relations, which is within the Office of the President, and therefore is authorized to speak for the entire university on matters of public policy. The office chooses the issues to engage in through interactions with senior administrators, deans, faculty and staff from across the university.
In addition to this direct advocacy, Penn State faculty, staff and students have engaged policy makers to educate them on a variety of sustainability-related topics, and thereby inform legislation and policy.

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.