Penn State Educates Locals at State College Sustainability Festival

Sustainability experts and curious Centre County residents joined together for the Light Step, Right Step Festival and Energy Expo in downtown State College. The family-friendly event featured live music, locally sourced foods, workshops, live demonstrations and environmental movie screenings.

During this celebration of sustainability in the region, attendees spoke with innovators and leaders in areas such as global climate change, shale energy, home efficiency and transportation. Members of the Penn State EcoCAR 2 team set up an exhibit to teach visitors about the changing transportation industry and the role hybrid electric vehicles will play in upcoming years.

“Sustainability comes in many forms,” said Taylor Kidd, the team’s communications manager. “Fortunately, transportation is an area where people are starting to get more options, and it’s getting easier to make environmentally-friendly decisions.”

Many festival-goers were excited to hear how the team’s chosen architecture offers flexibility and peace of mind for both short distance drives and long ones. Attendees were also particularly impressed that the EcoCAR 2 competition focuses on consumer acceptability and appeal.

“You can have the most eco-friendly vehicle in the world, but it won’t do any good if no one will drive it,” said Kidd.

Engineering GRA Chris Golecki said sustainability in transportation is becoming a bigger issue in the news and it’s important to educate the public about how student engineers are doing their part to make improvements right in their own community.

“People were impressed that we’re taking on this type of project as students,” Golecki said. “A lot of them couldn’t believe how much work we have in store for Year Two of the competition.”

While there is certainly much to do this year, the team was encouraged to see hundreds of State College residents gathered at the festival in support of all types of sustainability going on right at home.