The Sustainability Club at Penn State World Campus is hosting a spring volunteering initiative for the entire Penn State community.

“Local Lion Heroes” encourages the Penn State community to volunteer in a way that supports sustainable development to honor Earth Day on April 22. Penn Staters can participate from anywhere in the world by volunteering in their local communities. Student participants are then eligible to submit an entry to a raffle in which three randomly selected participants will get to select their own $100 bundle of prizes, which includes Penn State clothing, accessories, and more.

To enter the contest, participants must:

  • Volunteer now through April 19 with an organization that aligns with at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals listed by the United Nations. Some of these goals include zero hunger, gender equality, climate action, and clean water.
  • Capture the moment through a photo or video of the work, the participant/group volunteering, or the location where one volunteered.
  • Submit the photo or video on the Sustainability Club’s website.

The club of online learners previously hosted an art contest in the fall 2022 semester in which Penn Staters showcased their perspectives through various art mediums for the theme “What About Tomorrow?” The artwork explored climate change, the human relationship with the environment, sustainability efforts, and what the artists viewed for the future.

Club president Mattea Derr is a student in the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Management and Policy program. She decided to pursue additional education after spending six years working and volunteering in Philadelphia.

A headshot of Mattea Derr.
Mattea Derr
Courtesy photo

“Being a part of the community and giving back socially through community engagement volunteer opportunities and giving back environmentally through participation in a local community garden started me on this path of sustainability,” she said.

Derr enrolled in courses to learn about climate change, renewable energy, environmental and societal equity, and sustainability initiatives. She wanted to get involved beyond her course work and joined the Sustainability Club, a Penn State World Campus student-led organization that is open to any Penn Stater.

“It’s all a learning experience, and I think when we have those conversations, we learn a little bit faster and together,” she said.

Derr said the group’s meetings and website provide small ways people can implement sustainable practices in their daily lives to help make a big change. Focusing on zero-waste practices, reducing plastic consumption, and thrifting clothes can help an individual take steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

“It’s really about taking intentional time to learn about it,” she said.

The Sustainability Club hosts online discussions and provides more information about the “Local Lion Heroes” initiative and other sustainability learning resources on its website.

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