Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

 Higher Education connecting, collaborating and taking action


Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

Inspiring higher education throughout PA to lead transformational sustainability efforts through example, expertise, and collaboration. 

2024 Campus Sustainability Champions

The Campus Sustainability Champion title is awarded to students, faculty, administrators, and staff of Pennsylvania colleges and universities who have made meaningful contributions benefiting social, economic and/or environmental sustainability on their campus, in their community, or in society at large. Contributions can be in areas of teaching, research, co-curricular programs, campus culture, community service, and campus operations, including food recovery.

Student Honorees:

Kaitlin Dannenberg 

York College of Pennsylvania

Dickinson College Baird Sustainability Fellows  

Dickinson College

Josh Geller        

Franklin & Marshall College

Molly Hoffman

Gettysburg College

Sophia Marsh   

Pennsylvania State University

Amanda Pennett            

Bucknell University

Kaitlyn Royal    

Allegheny College

Jacob Seiler       

Pennsylvania State University

Caden Vitti        

Pennsylvania State University

Non-Student Honorees:

Allegheny College Watershed Conservation Research Center

Allegheny College

Karen R Beall    

Lebanon Valley College

Franklin & Marshall’s Custodial Team   

Franklin & Marshall College

Melissa Intindola            

Bucknell University

Dr. Sherri "Sam" Mason              

Pennsylvania State University

AJ Merlino         

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Matt Steiman   

Dickinson College

Student Honorees:

Kaitlin Dannenberg is is a tremendous student representing our inaugural environmental Horticulture class. Kaitlin is known as the go-to student for anything sustainability on our campus. She is always active on campus engaging with fellow students and sharing her passion for the natural environment, sustainability, and pollinators. Our campus community is a better place because Kaitlin works so hard to share her enthusiasm for what she loves.

Dickinson College’s 2023 Baird Sustainability Fellows (Kristen Beach, Heidi Beardsley, Kathryn Hickey, Isabella Moes, Christian Polk) assessed climate change risks and resilience for Carlisle and Cumberland County, collecting information through written sources and interviews with over 40 community stakeholders, analyzing and synthesizing the collected information, and writing and publishing reports for the community. As a culmination of their work, the Fellows organized and facilitated a workshop that engaged over 50 community stakeholders from across the county in conversations about climate risks of concern and strategies for building resilience. Their work is contributing to deliberations and planning for climate resilience at Dickinson and in Carlisle and Cumberland County.

Josh Geller has been an advocate for sustainability at F&M throughout his time on campus.  He has served for years in the Diplomatic Congress (F&M's Student Government) as the Sustainability Committee Chair, helping to voice the environmental concerns for the student population.  As a senior he joined the Center for the Sustainable Environment (CSE) team as a student sustainability specialist to help with a number of very impactful projects.  Currently Josh is using his considerable creative and technical skills to help the Center for the Sustainable Environment in redesigning the Sustainability website, an important and monumental undertaking. He has epitomized the idea of being a campus sustainability champion.

Molly Hoffman is an Environmental Studies and Public Policy major whose work on policy issues has strengthened sustainability efforts at Gettysburg College. She is the inaugural Program Coordinator working on Partnerships for Sustainability at the Center for Public Service. Molly took her network and experience from interning with the Land Conservancy of Adams County to build new partnerships which connected students to local efforts. She organized a panel discussion of our AASHE STARS report to spread awareness on campus of our progress and challenges. Most importantly, she has developed a sustainable procurement policy which will impact purchasing at all levels.

Sophia Marsh has several sustainability-related roles at Penn State in which she is actively learning, while also providing meaningful experiences for faculty, staff, and students. This includes working at the Penn State greenhouses to care for and monitor the plants housed in that space; interning with the Sustainability Institute where she organizes the Intersection Film Series (while also hosting the panelists that speak with the audience after the film has aired); organizing the RA collaborations as part of the Penn State EcoReps group; and, serving as the student representative on the Outreach Sustainability Council.

Amanda Pennett is a senior environmental studies and anthropology major at Bucknell. During her time at Bucknell she has focused on research, writing, and community outreach that celebrates sustainability in all of its dimensions and centers community voices. This includes working on a solar energy perception and communication project with the Union County Department of Planning and Economic Development; advocating for access to the healing effects of farm and gardening; and ethnographic field work with local farmers committed to regenerative agriculture.

Kaitlyn Royal is a dedicated educator committed to sharing her knowledge with others for the good of the environment and the people in it. She has worked at Creek Connections for her four years as an Allegheny student, and has been stellar as an environmental educator for K-12 students. An environmental science and sustainability and biology double major with an education minor, she has put her learning into action. She is the student organizer of the annual 4th Graders-as-Scientists Program at the college this and last year, and has proven her leadership skills with successful multi-day events.

Jacob Seiler has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to sustainability, evidenced by his impactful initiatives, innovative approaches, and leadership roles. His work not only addresses immediate sustainability needs but also contributes to the global sustainability agenda through alignment with the SDGs. Jacob's efforts in community collaboration and his personal dedication to sustainability principles are noteworthy, making him a strong candidate for the John Roe Sustainability Impact Awards. His initiatives and leadership serve as a model for sustainable practices and have the potential for further scalability and replicability, contributing to a just and sustainable future.

Caden Vitti is a standout candidate. His holistic approach to sustainability, from policy to practice, his leadership in various initiatives, and his ability to foster meaningful partnerships for sustainable progress are commendable. His efforts align well with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and embody the spirit of community-driven sustainability efforts.

Non-Student Accomplishment Summaries

The Allegheny College Watershed Conservation Research Center has engaged in strategic conservation activities in the upper Allegheny River basin in Pennsylvania since 2021, training more than 30 future watershed stewards to protect, restore, and enhance land and water resources for future generations. The WCRC has completed projects including streambed restorations, aquatic invasive species surveys, wildlife surveys, and water quality monitoring. Professors Casey Bradshaw-Wilson and Kelly Pearce, along with Research Scientist Dr. Mark Kirk, have prioritized opportunities for Allegheny College students to engage in WCRC projects and research, and have created a hub for community conservation engagement.

Karen Beall has a remarkable record of promoting environmental awareness through art.  Karen regularly engages students in her courses (e.g., Art for a Changing World: Studies in Environmental Art) to create innovative projects that inspire action and foster a deeper understanding of environmental issues.  Notable works like “Dead Zone” and “Fairy Ring” effectively highlight the detrimental effects of plastic pollution. “Bee The Change” brings awareness to the decline of bee populations due to pesticides and habitat destruction. Other sculptures have raised awareness about biodiversity loss and habitat degradation.  Karen is committed to educating future generations about environmental conservation.

Franklin & Marshall’s Custodial Team is definitely on the front line of proper solid waste handling at F&M. They fight the good fight to ensure proper recycling with a minimum of contamination. (It is not an easy fight!) They make their own hand-written signs to supplement the standard ones; they speak with students about proper recycling; they make good suggestions to the Sustainability Coordinator about bin placement and other ways to improve recycling; then they clean up messes when necessary.

Melissa Intindola is a champion of sustainable business education within the Freeman College of Management and Bucknell University.  She has been an impactful force in maintaining and furthering Bucknell’s engagement with UN PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education), a global effort that aims to equip future business leaders with the skills to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sam Mason has done exemplary work to foster sustainability education, outreach, and engagement at the Penn State Behrend campus. Her work to establish and grow a garden, incorporate students and community members, and foster sustainability related education has been extraordinary. Her focus on partnerships and community engagement is critical in reaching sustainability goals.  She had done groundbreaking research in plastics, in freshwater systems, in the Great Lakes and their tributaries, and in municipal waste systems. More importantly, she committed herself to moving policy. Through her advocacy, recognized by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, she has moved policy, including the Microbead-Free Waters Act.

AJ Merlino demonstrates an outgoing personality, and his initiative for an eco-friendly transportation ecosystem for the Harrisburg University community serves as an exemplary model for higher education institutions. Central to his efforts is a strategic partnership with Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg, a community-driven organization that provides free, refurbished bicycles to individuals. By encouraging cycling as a green mode of transportation and supporting recycling efforts, this collaboration helps minimize waste and advance the principles of the circular economy. HU students gain access to bicycles at no cost, facilitating convenient and environmentally friendly commuting on campus and around the local area.

Matt Steiman has done exemplary work on the Biodigester Project at the Dickinson College Farm.  Over the past two years, Matt has conceived, conceptually designed, managed, and raised funds (more than $1.3M) for a new biodigester at the College Farm that makes renewable energy in the form of electricity from food waste and cow manure.  The project will be operational by the end of this year.  The project is expected to generate more than 250,000 kWh of electricity annually. By-products from the process include cow bedding to be used in the new cow barn that is part of the project, and a liquid fertilizer which will be applied to the college farm land.

PERC - Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

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