Brandywine receives Pepsi Challenge Grant for sustainability work

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine has been selected as one of five Commonwealth Campuses to receive a $5,000 grant through Pepsico. As grant recipients, the Brandywine campus will partner with the University’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) to address sustainability issues throughout the state.

“The launch of SCC at Brandywine allows our campus to forge a unique sustainability collaboration between the individual campuses and their community partners,” said Laura Guertin, professor of earth science, who serves as SCC co-chair at Brandywine.

The “Sustainovation Team,” a campus group dedicated to the mission of the SCC, has already made headway with sustainability-themed projects this summer. The team hosted a summer “Coffee, Tea and Can Openers” drive for the Media Food Bank. The fruits of those efforts — 25 manual can openers, 740 bags of tea, 1,280 cups of coffee and additional food donations — were recently sent to the food bank.

Brandywine’s SCC committee also has made impressive plans for the school year.

“Over the next year, Brandywine will partner with Tyler Arboretum, Media Food Bank and Ridley Creek State Park to create engaged-scholarship activities that are mutually beneficial,” Guertin said.

At the Tyler Arboretum, students will construct a sustainability-themed children’s maze from recycled papers for the annual Pumpkin Days event.

At the Media Food Bank, students will participate in a yearlong project to raise hunger awareness by building structures from canned goods and other food items that are needed by those facing food insecurity. All the items will then be donated to the Media Food Bank.

Students also will work with Ridley Creek State Park, upgrading the park’s tree identification quiz through a downloadable augmented reality gaming project.

“Our working definition of sustainability is ‘the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality and economic well-being for current and future generations,’” said Karen Theveny, lecturer in communications, who also serves as SCC co-chair at Brandywine. “Students, staff, alumni and faculty, working together, will learn the various aspects of sustainability and forge unique Brandywine relationships with its community partners.”

For more information and updates on the projects, visit Penn State Brandywine’s Sustainovation website.