Allegheny awarded Campus Sustainability Champions awards by PERC

Annually, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium awards colleges and students Campus Sustainability Champions awards. This year, Allegheny won four awards, both student and non-student. 

This year PERC presented awards to Rene Benoit, ’20, The Green Students of Color Society, Isabella Petitta, ’21 and Carr Hall Garden Manager, Kerstin Ams.

In an email to The Campus, Petitta expressed the honor she felt at receiving this award.

One of the reasons I chose Allegheny was because of its commitment to sustainability,” Petitta said. “The entire Allegheny community is supportive of making sustainable choices and the faculty, staff, and administration let students share their ideas and do projects that they are passionate about. Receiving this award was unexpected because Allegheny makes sustainability common in our community so I didn’t feel like I did anything special. There are so many students on our campus that are doing great things to enhance our sustainability so I am very honored to receive this award.”

Petitta added that she is grateful for her Environmental Science and Sustainability professors and other educators like Director of Creek Connections, Wendy Kedierski who continue to challenge students to consider sustainability. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to do projects without their inspiration and support,” Petitta said.  

According to PERC president, Shaunna Barnhart, 50 colleges across Pennsylvania are eligible each year to put forth candidates to be nominated for the Campus Sustainability Champions awards. The names are then sent to a nominating committee at PERC, and then the Consortium decides who is eligible. 

“This award demonstrates colleges moving forward with their sustainability operations and teachings from where they are currently situated,” Barnhart said. “It also helps us highlight their great work and bring each college’s work to the attention of others.”

I wouldn’t have been able to do projects without their inspiration and support

— Isabella Petitta, '21

Barnhart explained how PERC has a wide network across all of the universities and colleges in Pennsylvania and their work includes webinars, an annual conference and workshops. According to Barnhart, these workshops help PERC work on colleges’ engagements with their communities and the government, along with helping them to create more teaching and learning opportunities. 

 “These Campus Sustainability Awards are really a good way to show the various works across the country of what works sustainability wise for each college or university,” Barnhart said. “It gives us hope for a positive future and highlights each individual who has dedicated their careers to sustainability along with those who are looking to make it part of their life’s work.”

In an email to The Campus, Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability, Richard Bowden described Allegheny’s pride in having these awardees this year.

“The awardees this year are recognized for outstanding efforts to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability,” Bowden said. “(Petitta)’s dedication to educating youth about aquatic ecosystems, (Benoit)’s diverse involvement in projects ranging from art to soil science, GreenSOCS’ remarkable accomplishments in enhancing minority involvement in environmental sustainability in this, their inaugural year and …  Ams’ promotion of sustainable foods and farming on campus and in the community speak to the range of efforts and involvement in these Campus Sustainability Champions. Allegheny is proud that this is a place where people can find their area of interest, and turn their passion into stellar accomplishments.