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Sustainability Students Help Chart Lycoming County’s Green Future

Members of Penn College’s U.S. Green Building Council student chapter enrolled in the four-year building science and sustainable design major are benefiting from a project spearheaded by the Lycoming County Department of Planning & Community Development.

The invitation to participate in the countywide planning meetings grew out of two years of involvement from the Penn College faculty and the planning department, which is in the process of updating Lycoming County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Public input is sought to help the county and its communities establish priorities for growth, transportation, resource protection, recreation and more in the next 10 to 20 years.

“The department sees our program as a means to show ideas about what sustainable planning and building design looks like,” commented Dorothy J. Gerring, associate professor of architectural technology.

Students Robert W. Klingerman (left) and Timothy S. Shook, building science and sustainable majors at Penn College, staff a table during a Sept. 14 Lycoming County Comprehensive Plan meeting at the Trout Run Fire Hall. (Photo provided by the School of Construction & Design Technologies)
Students Robert W. Klingerman (left) and Timothy S. Shook, building science and sustainable majors at Penn College, staff a table during a Sept. 14 Lycoming County Comprehensive Plan meeting at the Trout Run Fire Hall. (Photo provided by the School of Construction & Design Technologies)

Kim Wheeler,  deputy director of planning, asked the students to participate to “disseminate new techniques and ideas to help spark future-oriented thinking about how we can build our communities in a more sustainable, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way.”

To date, the students have attended meetings at Trout Run and Jersey Shore, with Hughesville (Sept. 28) and Williamsport (Sept. 30) to be held later this month.

“I enjoyed connecting  with the community and promoting sustainability. I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with real people with real community issues,” said Timothy S. Shook, of Bangor, a senior and USGBC president.  “Knowing that this has the potential to be an actual project, I began to really think about how the process of finances and approvals that are needed for large-scale projects.”

Joining Shook at the Jersey Shore meeting was senior Robert W. Klingerman, of Langhorne, who said it was “exciting to see how the knowledge we learn in the classroom can be implemented at the community level.”

“It was cool to see communities coming together,” remarked Patrick T. McCaffery, a junior from Simpson, after his experience at the Sept. 16 Jersey Shore meeting. “And I really enjoyed that they were interested in our ideas and contributions.”

Michael J. Fonti, a senior from Wayne, New Jersey, added, “I live in a more populated area, so it was interesting to see how the communities in a different geographical area were looking at their strengths and weaknesses.”

Led by Shook, the USGBC chapter is coordinating the student coverage and displays. In addition to the valuable experience the club members are gaining from this experience, the students are fulfilling the community service obligation of their organization – a very sustainable model!

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