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Sustainability In The News

September 19, 2010
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Penn State University Creates Office For Sustainability Programs

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA — Penn State University (PSU) has taken a major step toward solidifying itself as a sustainable university with the creation of the Office for Sustainability Programs, according to The Daily Collegian.

The Office for Sustainability Programs aims to increase the university''s efficiency, particularly when it comes to energy usage, something Program Manager Erik Foley is certain will yield financial benefits, the story stated.

Foley said: "There''s something about economic hard times, which force you to look at that waste, where in good economic times you can ignore that stuff. We have all this data, but until we''ve been squeezed economically, we never had the incentive to look close enough. It''s gonna be a ‘No Light Switch Left Behind'' program."

By collaborating with already-active student environmental groups on campus, Foley hopes to spread the sustainability message more easily and help students and staff become more aware of and take responsibility for their energy usage, the story noted.

Foley was previously the director of the Renewable Energy Center at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, the story added.

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U.S. Green Building Council Looking For Youth Leaders

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), administrator of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system, is accepting applications for the 2009 USGBC Young Leader Awards, according to the Mother Nature Network.

The awards are open to teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25 who have led sustainable changes in their schools and communities, the story stated.

According to the story, applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 1, 2009, and interested individuals need to complete a two-part application: A written application; and a two-minute video submission.

Five worthy winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in November as well as an all-expense paid trip to the Speak Green Festival in April 2010, the story noted.

The winners will also have the opportunity to work with the Youth Speaks Green Team, a non-profit committed to shifting the perception of youth by combating illiteracy, alienation and silence by creating a global movement of young people brave enough to take their voices to the stage, the story added.

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Study: Successful Retailers Embrace Green Practices

ARLINGTON, VA — A survey conducted by Retail Systems Research in partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association found that companies showing better-than-average growth in annual sales are addressing sustainability concerns across all aspects of their business, according to GreenBiz.

The survey, which analyzes motivations for why retailers are adopting green practices and how the companies make decisions regarding where to place their sustainability efforts, found that environmental consciousness is on the rise among retailers, the story stated.

A similar survey conducted a year ago found that 44 percent of retailers considered sustainability a strategic issue while this year''s survey showed that 48 percent of retailers see sustainability as strategic to the entire enterprise; an additional 22 percent said sustainability was of tactical importance to the company, the story noted.

In addition to energy efficiency projects, respondents noted sustainable efforts such as an increased focus on information technology (IT) efficiency and optimizing their logistics, supply chains and packaging, the story added.

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City Of Palm Springs Hires Sustainability Manager

PALM SPRINGS, CA — On a continuing quest to become a more sustainable community, the City of Palm Springs recently hired the environmental services coordinator from Sarasota, Florida, to head the newly instated Office of Sustainability, according to The Desert Sun.

Michele Mician, who has worked for the City of Sarasota for the past seven years, will begin her new position as sustainabi lity manager Palm Springs July 31, the story stated.

According to the story, Mician, who received a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of South Florida (USF), led Sarasota''s community-oriented, web-based platform Your Green City.

Mician''s responsibilities will include: Creating an internal "Green Team" to help identify and implement sustainability programs throughout all departments at City Hall; implement citywide sustainability initiatives; manage the city''s sustainability website; secure grant funding; and be a liaison to the Sustainability Commission, the story noted.

Mician, an adjunct USF faculty member, said: "I am so excited to come to Palm Springs and help lead the city on its path to becoming a more sustainable community. One thing that really struck me was the city''s motto, ‘The people are the city.'' I have worked every day of my life in Sarasota with that in mind, and I can''t wait to start bringing the community together to help make Palm Springs a role model when it comes to best practices in sustainable success."

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