Kyoto NOW! – Eco Action 2000-2009

Environmental Indicators Report

“A team of 30 students (both graduate and undergraduate) and several faculty mentors and young professionals conducted the research presented here. The members of the research team displayed great tenacity and creativity in collecting the data for the various indicators. They visited the Somerset County landfill that receives Penn State’s trash, journeyed to the open pit mines near Dubois that provide PSU’s coal, and walked through the local well fields that supply the University with water. And this was just a start. They went on to look into campus dumpsters to see what was being thrown away, to examine the food offerings in the dining halls, to study land transactions at the County deeds office, to calculate the loss of campus green space using maps in Pattee Library, to determine the numbers of exotic vs. native plants on campus through botanical surveys, to characterize the ecological literacy of graduating PSU seniors by administering questionnaires, and much more. These researchers conducted not an abstract educational exercise, but rather engaged in face-to-face interactions with Penn State’s complex and often invisible support systems and the people responsible for running them.


The intent of this report is not simply to supply answers but to raise questions. The questions center on ecological responsibility, research ethics, the wisdom of continual growth, the openness of decision making, the uncritical acceptance of technology, and the moral responsibilities of the University—in short, questions that are worthy of the attention of all vital institutions ” ~ PSU Environmental Indicators Report, 2000 

Rally Against Beef

“About 75 Penn State students and State College residents marched through campus Friday afternoon to rally against injustices committed buy the beef industry and celebrate the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.” ~ Daily Collegian Article

Push for Disclosure of PSU Investment

Eco Action in partnership with campus chapters of ACLU and Amnesty International pushed Penn State to open its investment portfolio to the public in 2000.

“Penn State’s money speaks for us. Forty-thousand students put their name on that money and say “this is OK.” ~ Julian Catchen, PSU ACLU

Kyoto Now!

KyotoNOW! was a student movement across the US to get university to commit to lowering their greenhouse gas emissions. The first KyotoNOW! group was formed at Cornell but Penn State’s Eco Action followed suit with KyotoNOW! campaign that became the largest campaign of its kind in the nation.

Penguin Bus Ride

An Eco Action member dressed as a penguin and rode the Blue Loop to inform riders of greenhouse gasses and get support for the KyotoNOW! campaign. Signatures were collected of students in support of the campaign and were delivered to Old Main as part of the letter chain protest (below).



10% Wind Power Protest

Eco Action protested out front of Pattee Library to urge Penn State to make 10% of its energy wind-powered. They planted 4,000 flags and a mock windmill to draw attention to the cause.


2006 Sit-In and Letter Chain

Eco Action members staged a sit-in in Old Main to wait for a meeting with President Graham Spanier to negotiate ways to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions. Eco Action also compiled a chain of 4,500 letters (half a mile long!) signed by PSU students to encourage the university to reduce their emissions.


The protest was a success and they were able to schedule a negotiation with Spanier. Gary Schultz, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, said “The fundamental difference between us and the Eco Action students is their wanting the administration to agree to a certain date and specific reduction by that date, which are both somewhat arbitrary.”

Letter Delivery


Coal Burned in 1 min Demonstration

Kleenex Kill Trees

Eco Action students approached staff of Kimberly-Clark at their booth at the Supply Chain Career Fair to discuss Kimberly-Clark’s policies on the amount of recycled fiber in Kimberly-Clark products.


Earth Day

Earth Day celebrations continued, though documentation declined. One highlight is Bill McKibben who spoke at Earth Day in 2000. Here are pictures from Earth Days in the 2000’s:



Pictures from unknown protests in the 2000’s that Eco Action participated in:


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