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Showcases create connections among leaders, build sustainability discourse

Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science, presented "Dire Predictions, Understanding Climate Change," at the first of the fall 2018 Sustainability Showcase Series. IMAGE: PENN STATE
October 2, 2018

The Council of Sustainable Leaders (CSL) kicked off their Sustainability Showcase Series with Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science.

Mann said he was delighted that the CSL is supporting this critical lecture series.

“These showcases are fostering an ongoing conversation between experts, opinion leaders and our local community about the critical challenges and opportunities we face in the realm of environmental sustainability," Mann said. "These challenges include the topic of climate change, which is the focus of my teaching, research and outreach efforts.”

CSL is working to enhance student and faculty engagement in co-curricular programming related to sustainability and provides grassroots support and resources for sustainability-related student organizations across campus. The student group is interested in involving and empowering community members, students and faculty to see sustainability as not only an environmental issue but also as a social issue.

According to Maddy Mitchell, director of the showcases, the goal is to make connections among faculty research, personal and professional interest, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, while broadening the discourse surrounding sustainability. Speakers are invited to give a 30-minute talk, answer questions and hang around to mingle with attendees.

“These talks are aimed to start a discussion and inspire further action from attendees to contribute to sustainable development in their communities,” said Mitchell.

CSL directors Mitchell and Sam Anawalt met with deans, as well as Nick Jones, the University’s executive vice president and provost, over the summer to identify speakers that are leading the field in sustainability.

The showcase series is held every Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center and will continue through May 2019. To reserve a free lunch (vegetarian/vegan options available) from Paul’s Provisions, a sustainable local food vendor, please RSVP for the talk at the council’s website.

The fall 2018 speakers are:

  • Sept. 28: “The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment,” Maya K. van Rossum, director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network
  • Oct. 6: “Get Rich and Save the World ... Or Else,” Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Oct. 12: “Take Back Penn State: Responsible Disposal of Unwanted or Expired Medications," Erin Kitt-Lewis, College of Nursing
  • Oct. 19: “Geoengineering – Benefits and Risks: Not a Solution to Global Warming,” Alan Robock, distinguished professor of climate science, Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University
  • Oct. 26: “Climate Change is an Ethical Issue,” Jonathan Brockopp, College of the Liberal Arts
  • Nov. 9: “Awaken 101: Finding Meaning and Purpose in College and Beyond,” Chris Uhl, Eberly College of Science.
  • Nov. 30: “Underdogs United Global Jersey Exchange: Engaging Athletes in Addressing Water Issues,” Stephen Gabauer, co-founder of Underdogs United

For more information about the showcases or the CSL, please contact Maddy Mitchell at or visit

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