On Campus Green


Shoemaker Green Rendering

Anne PapageorgeA Note On College Green
It is inspiring and energizing to see how quickly change can be made by a campus to positively impact its community and society. If I were to ask you just a few years ago what you knew about sustainability at Penn, many would likely have pointed to the farmer’s market in front of the Bookstore. If I asked the same question today, you may not know where to begin with an ever increasing list of environmentally conscious endeavors.

We are excited and encouraged by the interest, enthusiasm, and participation across the University community surrounding our commitment to reducing Penn’s carbon footprint and enhancing overall sustainability practices. Year one of implementing the Climate Action Plan has been spent analyzing our strengths, identifying and addressing our challenges, and setting the foundation for future initiatives.

The strides that the Penn community has taken toward fostering a more sustainable campus since the launch have been remarkable:

  • Academic opportunities in sustainability continue to expand, as courses, lectures, and continuous learning initiatives for students, faculty, and staff will be further realized by Year of Water programming throughout 2011;
  • Energy conservation efforts and efficiency improvements have resulted in a slight reduction from 2007 emissions levels despite an increase in our physical campus footprint;
  • Our physical environment is greener and more sustainable than ever, with seven buildings on track for LEED certification, and the 24-acre Penn Park scheduled for completion by next fall;
  • The recent launch of Penn Transit’s Sustainable Transportation Initiative will further improve accommodations for pedestrians, bikers, and public transit users;
  • New waste reduction and recycling initiatives have resulted in our campus highest recycling rate to date;
  • The Penn Green Fund has supported the implementation of innovative sustainability projects across the campus;
  • And the Penn Eco-Reps program of students, faculty, and staff has blossomed into one of the largest environmental leadership programs in the country.

A complete summary of our Climate Action Plan progress is featured below. Our commitment to sustainability is evident across the entire campus and in all aspects of Penn culture, but there remain plenty of opportunities for advancement. We will continue to report on our progress, create opportunities for educational awareness that influences behavior, increase communication about our successes, and collaborate in new, impactful and savvy ways.  With these mechanisms and strategies in place, Penn is well positioned to achieve its long-range goals for a greener campus.   I encourage you to read on and learn more about how you can join the Green Campus Partnership in its mission for a more sustainable Penn.

Anne Papageorge
Anne Papageorge
Vice President
Facilities & Real Estate Services

Visit the Penn Green Campus Partnership Website
Sign Up to Recieve Red & Blue On College Green
Download the Climate Action Plan
Upcoming Events
Sign the Sustainability Pledge
Share Your Sustainability Story
ALLDEC Power Down Challenge
Join the rest of the Penn community by taking part in the December Power Down Challenge, a series of campus-wide initiatives to reduce unnecessary electrical consumption and raise awareness about energy conservation. Stay tuned to the Green Campus Partnership website for more details as we approach Winter Break.
Conference: Going to Green on the Triple Bottom Line
Join the Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Council to explore how cities are shifting at ambitious scales to green infrastructure - a rapid and thorough exchange of experience is needed. In support of the Year of Water, the Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Council will showcase the leading U.S. city models in green practices and resource recovery for water sustainability. Click here to download the event flier.
Climate Action Plan One Year of Progress on the Climate Action Plan
With the launch of the Climate Action Plan in September 2009 the University of Pennsylvania, the first Ivy League signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, has become a leading voice in higher education addressing environmental sustainability.  Penn President Amy Gutmann, also a signatory of the Global University Leadership Forum’s Sustainable Campus Charter, has consistently championed the University’s environmental efforts along with Penn administrators, providing senior leadership that complements the grassroots efforts of an active and engaged campus community... READ MORE
Green Fund Penn Green Fund Fall 2010 Selections Announced
Seven new sustainability projects have been selected to receive support from the Penn Green Fund after the Fall 2010 application period came to a close on October 29. The new projects will be implemented over the remainder of the year and join the list of creative sustainability initiatives conceived by Penn student, faculty, and staff since the release of the Climate Action Plan in September 2009... READ MORE
SEI Penn Makes the Grade With an A- on the College Sustainability Report Card
With a grade of A- from the Sustainable Endowments Institute's College Sustainability Report Card for 2011, the University of Pennsylvania continues to rank among the top U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities for its sustainability initiatives while being recognized for improvements, specifically in green building and administration. The report card is an independent evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities and examines nine categories within an institution to make its determinations: administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement, transportation, endowment transparency, investment priorities and stakeholder engagement. Click here to view Penn’s performance in all nine categories.
Climate Leadership Award Penn Honored with Second Nature Climate Leadership Award
In October, Penn was honored with the first Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence by Second Nature at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment Summit in Denver, Colorado. Penn was one of 12 institutions chosen from over 600 signatories eligible to receive the award. Click here to read the press release and learn more about the award.
MEBD PennDesign Offers New Master in Environmental Building Design Degree
The Department of Architecture has announced it will offer a new one-year degree, a Master in Environmental Building Design (MEBD). The new degree will extend and deepen the offerings of the existing certificate program in Ecological Architecture, which has involved 37 students since its establishment three years ago. The new degree will focus more specifically on building performance and design, and will prepare professionals to lead in this emerging field... READ MORE
High Rises Energy Showdown Tests High Rise Residents' Conservation Efforts
A two-week competition organized by the Fels Institute of Government and funded by a Penn Green Fund grant ended last week after reducing energy consumption in two of the three high rise buildings. The “Energy Showdown” pitted Harnwell, Harrison, and Rodin College Houses against each other in a contest to see which high rise was able to consume the least amount of energy from November 5 to November 19. Harrison College House emerged victorious, reducing energy consumption by 5 percent compared to a baseline period during which the house used an average of 6,085 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day... READ MORE
Recycling Bin Restroom Recycling Aims to Reduce Paper Towel Waste
Following a successful pilot in Huntsman Hall, a project to recycle paper towels in restrooms will be expanded to additional buildings over the next couple months. Since many Penn buildings do not have electric hand dryers installed in restrooms, paper towels used to dry hands can quickly add up to a considerable amount of waste... READ MORE
BEN's Attic Purchasing Services Launches "BEN's Attic" to Encourage Reuse of Surplus Items
Wondering what to do with those old office chairs? Have promotional items left over from an event, or laboratory equipment gathering dust? List them in BEN’s Attic, a new website developed by Purchasing Services that allows Penn faculty and staff to exchange and purchase surplus University-owned property. All faculty and staff are able to browse the site to see if there are any items they may need. However, to post items or make purchases, you must be a TAC (Transaction Authorization Card) holder (or a TAC holder’s designee). Items are listed by category and can be sold or given away at no cost. Users can also request an email notification of items by category as they become available... READ MORE
Shoemaker Green Siteplan Trustees Approve Design for Shoemaker Green
The University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees recently approved the design for Shoemaker Green, an $8 million open space project off 33rd Street between Franklin Field and the Palestra that will connect the central campus to the University’s new Penn Park. The 3.75-acre site is the current home to a tennis court complex, which will be relocated to Penn Park. Sustainable design aspects will highlight the project, created by the landscape architectural firm of Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia. Three rain gardens, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater reuse and silva cell tree trenches, and other green elements support the tenets of Penn’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for increasing campus green space and improving storm-water management for the campus and the city... READ MORE
Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center Opens Doors
Penn's Morris Arboretum recently dedicated its new $11.4 million Horticulture Center at Bloomfield Farm on October 5, 2010. The Horticulture Center Complex is the first new building to be constructed on the property since the founding of the Morris Arboretum in the early 1900s, and is on track to receive LEED Platinum certification... READ MORE
Commuter & Parking Survey Take the 2010 Penn Commuter & Parking Survey
Help Penn Transit learn about commuting patterns by completing the 2010 Commuter and Parking Survey. Your feedback will provide important information to help Penn Transit improve its services for everyone who travels to campus; in addition, it will help gauge progress toward our Climate Action Plan goal of less than 50% auto commuters. CLICK HERE to take the online survey.
Brian Shaw Penn Transit Welcomes Brian Shaw MCP'95 as its New Director
Alumnus Brian Shaw MCP’95 was recently announced as Penn’s new Director of Transit Services within Business Services, where he will manage the Sustainable Transportation Initiative. Brian most recently worked in Chicago as a Senior Planner for Sam Schwartz Engineering, a leading traffic and transportation planning and engineering firm. Previously, he served as the Director of Campus Transportation and Parking Services at the University of Chicago and as Director of Alternative Transportation at Emory University in Atlanta. He is a specialist in the area of Sustainable Transportation, having created new programs at the University of Chicago and Emory that fostered car pooling, biking, walking, and riding public transit to campus. In addition to heading Penn Transit, Brian will also direct Parking Services, Penn Mail Services, and the Penn Ice Rink.
Penn Transit Bus Business Services Launches Sustainable Transportation Initiative
This fall, Business Services launched its Sustainable Transportation Initiative with the goal of decreasing the number of cars driven to campus by providing information about alternative modes of transportation and facilitating access to a variety of sustainable commuting options, including public transit, ride-sharing, biking, and walking... READ MORE
Bon Appetit Sustainability Ambassadors Bon Appetit Sustainability Ambassadors
Bon Appétit at Penn Dining launched a new student engagement program called Student Ambassadors. The program is designed to help students learn more about the issues related to the food they eat on campus. The Ambassadors will look at issues such as nutrition and health, sustainability and social justice. A meeting was held in October to welcome the first group of approximately 15 students. The program is being rolled out at select campuses where Bon Appétit operates the food service facilities. According to Bon Appétit, Penn was chosen to be one of the first places to pilot the program due to student interest in dining initiatives in addition to the University’s commitment to sustainability... READ MORE
Doug Miller Doug Miller C'12
A College junior pursuing a double major in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) and Environmental Studies, Doug is at the forefront of innovative student sustainability initiatives across campus. In 2009, he founded the Green Acorn Business Certification Program, which provides incentives for local businesses to incorporate sustainability into their business model, and later that year delivered a presentation on his idea for a Production & Transportation Facts label at The Economist magazine’s Carbon Economy Summit. His film 5:25—An American Ratio Calling for Change, about U.S. energy policy, was recognized in 2008 with an honorable mention in C-SPAN’s national Student Cam Competition. Doug currently serves on the executive board of the Wharton Undergraduate Sustainability Association and collaborates with the Penn Environmental Group on various projects.




Academic Term
Academic Year

Share a Story

Do you have a sustainability story to share with the campus? Want to hear more about a specific topic or project?
Send us an email and we'll consider the content for inclusion on the website or in a future e-newsletter.