Peter Buck manages academic programming for Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. He connects and catalyzes faculty, staff, students, and the public to imaginatively integrate sustainability into academics, outreach, operations, and research. He supports programming with competencies-based reviews and revision for majors, minors, courses, and units, guest-teaching, and faculty development, as well as strategic support for emerging initiatives that cross traditional academic and disciplinary boundaries. Over the last two years these collaborations have included high-impact collaborations with the Palmer Art Museum on the Plastic Entanglements exhibition, the Colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Engineering to establish an applied initiative for utility-scale grid-tied solar projects, audits and course development with the College of Nursing, and Penn State’s Research Experience for Undergraduates in partnership with the Project Drawdown. In the coming years, he will continue collaborations, including working on systemic policy changes through Penn State’s Faculty Senate. Peter and his interns also research, catalyze, and support local schooling for sustainability, democratic decision-making in the Anthropocene on campus and in the community, and environmental justice.
Buck has also taught and communicated extensively on sustainability and life in the Anthropocene. From 2016 to 2018, he taught Sustainability 200: Foundations of Leadership in Sustainability as well as a special topics course in Educational Theory and Policy where he holds an affiliate faculty position. He also communicates widely on sustainability, education, democracy, and music in popular and peer-reviewed press. He has appeared in The Washington Post, on the blog of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project, Democracy Works, Citizen’s Climate Radio, and was a speaker at TEDxPSU in 2018 with his talk “What’s the Future Hold? Ask a Metalhead.” His scholarship has most recently appeared in The Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences and The International Journal of Ethics Education while pieces will be appearing in 2020 in Clinics of North America and in Routledge's Teaching Climate Change in the United States. In October 2015 his first book of poetry, Heartwood, was published by Mt. Nittany Press and works of poetry and fiction have recently appeared in The Watershed Journal and The Short Edition.
Leadership in professional, governmental, and civic organizations is important to Buck. Until June 2019, Peter served as the Vice Chair and Chair of the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors, the only township in Pennsylvania to have signed the We Are Still In campaign. Currently, he chairs an intergovernmental solar power purchase agreement working group, serves on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, on the National Council on Science and the Environment’s Advisory Board for Drawdown, and on the Board of the Penns Valley Conservation Association.
Peter holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Policy and an M.A. and a B.A. in Music with a minor in Creative Writing. He lives in State College with his wife Lexie and son Sacha.