Students encouraged to apply for new resident program in urban sustainability

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Starting in fall 2017, Penn State will launch a new program for students who are interested in helping the cities of today support the world of tomorrow. Study Away Pittsburgh is a 15-credit resident program that provides students with an immersive urban experience while taking classes in person and online. It is designed to allow students to learn about urban sustainability challenges and solutions while working on projects that directly improve Pittsburgh’s communities.

A unique component of the program is its community practicum or field experience requirement. Students will engage in research and learning projects sponsored by local governments, nonprofit organizations, and community partners. More than 35 community partners have identified projects for students that address the areas of affordable housing, alternative transportation, clean air and water, food security, health, urban forestry, energy efficiency, green business, economic revitalization, recreation, and park and green space revitalization. Depending on the student’s major, the community practicum may be used to fulfill an internship, field experience, or capstone requirement.

“Students selected for this program will gain valuable internship and field experience and will become active participants in Penn State’s efforts to address a wide array of urban sustainability issues in order to improve quality of life in metropolitan areas,” said Tom Bartnik, director of the Penn State Pittsburgh Center.

The residential nature of the program presents opportunities for students to network with Penn State alumni in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest groups of Penn State alumni in the world. They will also have the opportunity to explore the city and its local festivals, sporting events, outdoor activities, and various cultural experiences.

Study Away Pittsburgh is designed to align with the academic requirements of most undergraduate programs, including, but not limited to, Community, Environment, Development (CED); Landscape Architecture (LARCH); Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management (RPTM); Civic and Community Engagement (CIVCM); and Sustainability Leadership (SUSTL). The program is open to students from any major who will have achieved junior standing or above by fall 2017. Students are encouraged to consult their academic advisers to see how this program aligns with their degree requirements.

“Pittsburgh is a dynamic city that is experiencing a renaissance and economic renewal,” said Michele Halsell, director of Penn State’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative. “The city is a recognized leader in tackling the environmental and social challenges of the twenty-first century. Pittsburgh is one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Global Resilient Cities and is home to Sustainable Pittsburgh and other initiatives aimed at helping the city and its residents to thrive.”

Four 30-minute information sessions will be held on Thursday, February 23, in the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus, for students who are interested in learning more. Sessions will be held as follows:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Room 110
  • 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. in Room 110
  • 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Room 235
  • 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 235

Study Away Pittsburgh is a joint effort by the Penn State Pittsburgh Center, Outreach and Online Education, and the Sustainability Institute.

Financial aid is available to all students who apply.

For more information, email studyawaypgh@psu.edu.