September 4, 2008
When the new Abram Nesbitt, III Academic Commons opened its doors to faculty, staff and students, Penn State Wilkes-Barre reinforced its position as an ecological leader among northeastern Pennsylvania institutions.The environmentally responsible facility is one of the first structures within the Penn State system to be built. The building's eco-friendly aspects include motion-sensitive lights, temperature-sensitive windows, wood from certified sustainable forests, and recycled building materials which are formaldehyde-free and contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds. Another green initiative on campus is the twenty year-old recycling program. Recently, students, faculty and staff collected over 14,500 pounds of products ranging from paper and plastic goods; to glass and aluminum cans. In 2003, the program earned an award from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the greatest pounds of recycling per student, first among colleges in northeastern Pennsylvania. "What pleases me about the program is how long it has continued, and that it's a comprehensive program involving the entire campus, recycling both the common items such as paper and bottles, but also unusual items such as Styrofoam and discarded catalogs. We find a home for discarded books and many other reusable items," said Thomas Winter, physics professor and head of the recycling program at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.