Student Engagement Projects
OPP engages with students’ residential and extra-curricular experience to connect them with their physical environment.
The Child Care Center at Hort Woods is the first Penn State building ever awarded a LEED Platinum certification. The trees behind the Center are naturally 10 degrees cooler than the building. A weather station in the woods tracks the temperature and alerts the children to activate the automatic opening of upper windows and overhead fans. This natural ventilation, the use of recycled materials, rainwater collection and reuse, and natural daylighting all educate the children and staff about sustainability. Meanwhile, Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development uses the Center as a living lab for curriculum development.
OPP and Housing worked together on a significant recycling pilot initiative by and for students in Runkle Hall. Students there are venturing to become zero waste—reducing trash output to zero—through comprehensive recycling of plastic, glass, metal cans, paper, polystyrene, and compost.
A team of Penn State graduate students are addressing a global health crisis, lack of access to potable drinking water, by developing a microbial fuel cell that processes wastewater and generates an electrical current. Through a pilot at the wastewater treatment plant, Learning Factory students worked to develop the concept into a physical piece of affordable hardware. The team hopes to use the technology to improve drinking water and sanitation in Africa and to help local communities become more healthy and sustainable.