Pennsylvania State University

Semester: 2014 Fall

Students: Tara Norris and Josh Fogarty

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute (SI), formed just over two years ago, was created to lead Penn State toward the university’s sustainability mission: a comprehensive integration of sustainability into the university’s research, teaching, outreach, and operations that prepares students, faculty, and staff to be sustainability leaders in their professional, personal, and civic lives.

In this two year period, the need for stakeholder engagement on critical topics has become increasingly clear, and both the upper administration and the community have looked to the Sustainability Institute as a “convener” of conversations and engagement processes.

HNMCP students will provide a recommended design for a community/stakeholder engagement process that is scalable and transferable to a number of high‐level resource challenges such as energy planning, climate action planning, and water management involving both the university and its regional community. Penn State’s heightened emphasis on openness and transparency makes it even more important to model a process of building consensus on institutional‐level sustainability related goals. This project with HNMCP aims at providing an important tool for addressing not just environmental questions, but problem solving and dispute resolution methods in general.

The project proposal includes, but may not be limited to, the following activities:

  • Student consultation with an internal Penn State project team;
  • Review of existing documentation and background material, including an existing stakeholder assessment;
  • Interviews and focus groups.

The following deliverable(s) are envisioned:

  • A recommended design for a stakeholder/community engagement process to be utilized in the following semester to convene a broad community working to identify and set institutional-level sustainability goals.
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