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Spotlights

How forests respond to elevated nitrogen levels from atmospheric pollution is not always the same. While a forest is filtering nitrogen as expected, a higher percentage than previously seen is leaving the system again as the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, say researchers.

When you pick a pepper from the local grocery store, there’s a lot you don’t know about it: where it was grown, if pesticides or fertilizers were used, how long it’s been sitting around.

The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment has announced that Katharine Hayhoe will be the keynote speaker for the 2018 Colloquium on the Environment. Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist studying climate change and its impacts on human systems and the natural environment. The event will take place on Nov.

Penn State's Sustainability Institute will host a workshop to develop sustainability coursework on Aug. 7 and 8. Over the course of two days, faculty will develop a common language for sustainability, connect it to their disciplines and coursework, visit some of Penn State’s best assets, and workshop materials with their peers. The workshop will be held on the University Park campus. Faculty members from all Penn State campuses are encouraged to attend.

From 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, Penn State will conduct its annual test of University Park’s capability to reduce its electricity load when called upon during national or regional power emergencies. Last year’s test reduced the power load by 40 percent, or about 16 megawatts, during the test hour.

A new program aims to reduce the number of plastic bags used at the Penn State Bookstore. The program, called EcoCoin, will launch initially on the University Park campus this summer. The program is supported by the Penn State Bookstore, Sustainability Institute, and University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA).

Issues of global health may be in our backyards. That was one takeaway of a student minoring in global health who embarked on a different kind of fieldwork with his peers this summer. “Global health can be in your backyard,” said Steve Hanna, a rising senior majoring in biobehavioral health. “While living with and studying the Ojibwe, a Native American people, we saw communities, here in the United States, that are struggling with issues people may think only happen in underserved populations overseas.”

Upon entering the new Happy Valley LaunchBox headquarters, visitors are greeted with a quote from Helen Keller that reads “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”