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Grant has allowed College of Nursing to improve sustainability practices

Ashley Hayford | The Daily Collegian | Jul 17, 2019

The Nursing Sciences Building on Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2019.
John Stinely

Penn State’s College of Nursing is not only notable for its academic excellence, but also for its dedication for sustainable practices and education.

According to an official statement, a grant to the formerly-titled School of Nursing from the Sustainability Insitute seven years ago has been utilized to begin a recycling program for its nursing simulations labs.

Beyond the University Park campus, all Commonwealth campuses with a nursing program received money from the grant. The program meant simulation materials could be discarded in a safe and eco-friendly manner.

“We could finally recycle plastic from tools like IV tubes and Stethoscope covers,” assistant teaching professor for the College of Nursing, Darlene Clark said in a statement.

She added that the program also allowed for organic material composting.

In 2013, when the School of Nursing transformed into the College of Nursing, the college began to incorporate sustainability more heavily into its courses. Currently, faculty members that teach first-year seminar courses, such as Clark, bring their students to tour the 100 percent renewable-energy power facility, MorningStar Solar Home.

This practice has become regular within nursing seminars so students are aware of the sustainable opportunities the campus offers.

“Nursing is filled with sustainable behaviors — breastfeeding instead of bottle-feeding, good nutrition, and getting vaccines to protect your children for now and the future,” Clark said. “A lot of it is behavior we are teaching our students that they can then pass down onto their patients. These are all threaded through our varying curricula.”

Supplimenting the students’ education, the nursing program formed organizations and programs to further practice sustainability, which is something the college considers one of its missions.

Clark organized the Green Team through the Sustainability Institute two years ago, according to a press release. This group of students, faculty, and staff participate in efforts such as recycling at football games and educating students and visitors about how to properly dispose of trash and recycling.

In addition, a sustainability council was created to overlook projects and recycling efforts three years ago. Clark acts as a chairperson of the committee and is still looking to further improve the College of Nursing’s programs and courses in the future, the release stated.

“[The college]’s been growing, and there are barriers of course, but now I think we are one of the most sustainable departments,” Clark said.


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