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Sustainability in the Community

With civic engagement and leadership at the heart of the university's mission, Widener is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the communities we serve—locally, nationally, and internationally.

Widener is a member of Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH ), a consortium of colleges and universities worldwide that are committed to addressing world hunger and sustainability through collective action and sharing best practices in teaching, research, outreach, and student engagement. In 2015, Widener's PUSH students volunteered at the Ruth L. Bennett Farm in Chester, Pa., helping to harvest 2,500 pounds of food for the local community.

In spring of 2016, Dr. Patricia Dyer, director of study abroad, took her Languages and Cultures students to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where they worked with Zamorano University students to build a sustainable mini-farm at an orphanage. Widener students later raised funds to pay for a pump that will run the irrigation system for the farm.

In 2015, Widener's Delaware Law School established the Global Environment and Natural Resources Law Institute in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Commonwealth Law School established a Sustainability Law Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Law Professor John C. Dernbach and several students from his “Sustainability Law and Practice” class successfully pitched sustainability ordinances for recycling, composting, stormwater management, permeable paving, and sustainable building materials to Harrisburg City Council. We are also proud that in 2015, two of our law professors—Professor Dernbach and Scholar in Residence Don Brown—presented research and moderated discussions at the U.N. Climate Talks in Paris, France.

Dr. Stephen Madigosky, chair of the environmental science department, and Dr. Chad Freed, associate professor of environmental science, and Itzick Vatnick, professor of biology, spent several winter breaks in Costa Rica with students enrolled in ENVR 180, Sustainable Development: Service Learning in Tropical America. Dr. Madigosky and his students later teamed up with local farmers in Las Lajas, Costa Rica, to grow sustainable, organic coffee. Learn more about WUBrew.

Environmental Science Professor Jamie Anderson specializes in stormwater management. She works with the Pennsylvania Resources Council to educate Delaware County residents on the importance and benefits of managing stormwater. Professor Anderson has offered community workshops on how to install rain barrels that protect the environment and save money; a free food-grade barrel and installation kit are provided to participants. Her most recent workshop was in Chester, Pennsylvania, in October 2015.

Dr. Chad Freed and his environmental science students were developing a model for the design, construction, and maintenance of a shade-tree inventory for the city of Chester. They worked with Chester’s Shade Tree Commission to study the city’s trees and recommend new plantings. They have mapped their suggested plan using a geographic information system (GIS).

In 2010, the School of Business Administration held its first highly acclaimed “Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility” workshop for local high school students, which involved learning about best practices and creating an environmentally friendly aluminum plant in Indonesia.