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The College of Arts and Architecture seeks to strategically advance the University’s sustainability goals, fostering sustainability in teaching and learning, research, community engagement, student engagement, and operations in the college. Penn State’s Sustainability Institute embraces sustainability broadly, defining sustainability as “the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations.” Penn State strives to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Sustainability Institute supports sustainability champions throughout the University’s 24 campuses and 13 colleges. Here in the College of Arts and Architecture, Mihyun Kang, director for sustainability, contributed to the establishment of the Sustainability Council comprising College of Arts and Architecture faculty, staff, and students.

Sustainability Council

The College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Council advocates forming a sustainability vision for the college to connect it to other strategic initiatives while creating efficiencies and enhancing impact. The council approaches sustainability as a transformational concept that leads to innovation. It is anticipated that the Sustainability Council will develop action steps that advance the college’s priorities and the University’s sustainability vision and mission. The college’s Sustainability Council has working groups focusing on teaching and learning, research, community engagement, and operations.

Collage of A&A Sustainability Council members' headshots

Council Faculty, Staff, + Students

The Sustainability Council includes representatives from each of the college’s academic, outreach, and support areas, and other members from the faculty, staff, and student community. Council members include:


Chair Mihyun Kang (Director for Sustainability)
Teaching + Learning Heather McCune Bruhn (working group leader, Art History faculty)

Angela Rothrock (School of Visual Arts faculty)

Eric McKee (School of Music faculty)

Research Rahman Azari (working group leader, Architecture faculty)

Hong Wu (Landscape Architecture faculty)

Lauren Sosa (Faculty Council)

Kate Cholakis-Kolysko (Landscape Architecture Graduate Student)

Community Engagement Joyce Robinson (working group leader, Palmer Museum of Arts)

John Mark Rafacz (Center for the Performing Arts)

Hope Falk (Staff Advisory Council)

Huiwon Lim (Graphic Design faculty)

Alyssa Humarang (Undergraduate Student)

Operations Deborah Gulick (working group leader, Office of Digital Learning)

Chris Swetcky (School of Theatre faculty)

Kate Domico (Office of the Assistant Dean Administration and Information Technology)

Sustainability Council Charter

Teaching + Learning

Goals in this area include ensuring that every student at Penn State will have the opportunity to take one or more sustainability-focused or sustainability-related courses prior to graduation and that graduating seniors will demonstrate acquisition of sustainability awareness, attitudes, and knowledge. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

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Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows Program

This program annually recruits faculty and graduate students to serve as College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows. Ten faculty members and three graduate students, including at least one from each academic unit, were selected in 2019. The first cohort participated in the Sustainability Teaching Roundtable Series, integrating sustainability competencies into their courses and curriculum. The second cohort, including nine faculty and two graduate students, was announced in February 2021.

Visit the First Cohort Presentations


Visit the First Cohort Sizzle Reel


Visit the Second Cohort Announcement

Sustainability Teaching Roundtable Series

The Roundtable Teaching Series will transform the culture of sustainability education and pedagogy, embedding it into the college’s teaching culture. A wide range of topics concerning sustainability, curricular planning, and engagement across the college’s academic units will be addressed through the series. The series convenes faculty, staff, and graduate students for focused presentations and discussions.

Man giving a lecture in front of a classroom of people; one of the female attendees has her hand raised.


Goals in this area include building capacity for solutions-oriented transdisciplinary sustainability research, supporting translation and implementation of research-based solutions, and creating opportunities for sustainability research experiences for students and for engaged scholarship. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

Convergence: Sustainability Symposium title slide with multi-color sustainability wheel and photo of wind turbine.

Sustainability Symposium

Held in Fall 2020, the Sustainability Symposium highlighted, connected, and amplified sustainability research within the College of Arts and Architecture to foster collaboration with the Penn State sustainability research community and beyond. The symposium featured presentations by keynote speaker Julian C. Chambliss from Michigan State University and by College of Arts and Architecture faculty representing the Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design, Hamer Center for Community Design, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, School of Visual Arts Studio for Sustainability and Social Action, Arts and Design Research Incubator, and Ecology+Design. The symposium also featured presentations on sustainability initiatives in the College of Engineering and Smeal College of Business.

Visit the Symposium website


Visit the Symposium playlist


Visit the Symposium Sizzle Reel

Green, purple, and orange tiered circle infographic. The tiers are surrounded by sustainability icons and black text, "Planet, people, prosperity, peace, and partnership."

Sustainability Exhibition

Held in spring 2020, the Sustainability Exhibition recognized the research taking place within the college and explored sustainability research collaboration across disciplines. The two-week-long exhibition took an inclusive view of sustainability and included displays ranging from traditional research poster presentations and original artworks to a multimedia component.

Far off shot of a wind turbine on a mountain tinted with a blue ombre overlay.

Faculty Research Get-Together

This casual gathering provides an opportunity for faculty and doctoral students to become acquainted with each other, learn more about sustainability research by peers, and explore potential collaboration. The first gathering was held in November 2020.

Community Engagement

Goals in this area include expanding student access and community access to engaged scholarship focused on sustainability challenges, increasing sustainability literacy in public and private sectors, expanding commitment to sustainable practices and policies at the local and state levels, and fostering strong, resilient, and sustainable communities through programs and engagement processes. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

We are Sustainable Video Series

Dark blue background with "We Are Sustainable with Alumni" white text

We Are Sustainable with Alumni

In these short video interviews, Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture alumni reflect on the role of sustainability in their work and how their Penn State experience led them to where they are today.

Visit the Alumni playlist

White background with navy blue We Are Sustainable with Faculty and Staff text

We Are Sustainable with Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff within Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture share insights on how sustainability enters their research, teaching, and community engagement initiatives. They also share advice for students hoping to integrate sustainability into their learning.

Coral pink background with white We Are Sustainable with Students text

We Are Sustainable with Students

Students across Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture reflect on how they have engaged with the topic of sustainability in their studies and what they hope to do next.

Visit the Student playlist


Goals in this area include changing and enhancing college operations to not only adapt and combat the effects of human-induced climate change but to reverse the current direction of climate change. This involves examining opportunities for sustainability improvements; educating staff about sustainability concepts; and encouraging employees to identify actions and processes that need to change, get involved in the change process, and pioneer new solutions. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

Green Paws

Offices within the College of Arts and Architecture explore opportunities to improve sustainability efforts in the workplace.

Green Teams

The Center for Performing Arts revitalized the Green Team, which engages and educates its peers to help them operate in a more efficient, innovative, and healthy way.
green seedling sprouting from the soil.


Sustainability in Arts and Architecture

Mihyun Kang
Director for Sustainability

News from A&A

Stuckeman School professor recognized for sustainability efforts

Mihyun Kang, director for sustainability and research professor in the Stuckeman School, has been named a 2021 Campus Sustainability Champion by the Pennsylvania Environmental

UNIVERSTY PARK, Pa. — Mihyun Kang, director for sustainability in the College of Arts and Architecture and research professor in the Stuckeman School, has been named a 2021 Campus Sustainability

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Earth Day talk April 22 to feature artists from world-music film

Two artists featured in the project “Small Island Big Song” will join Penn State students in a free discussion about climate change and the arts.
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College names second cohort of Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows

The college named its second cohort of Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows, including nine faculty members and two graduate students representing various disciplines.
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