State College has, for the first time, earned the Pennsylvania Sustainable Community platinum certification, recognizing the borough as a sustainability leader among communities across the state.
Previously honored with the program’s gold certification, State College received the platinum for operating at the highest levels among the criteria that track 131 policies and practices that define a sustainable community through operations, management and public service.
The Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification, managed by the Pennsylvania Municipal League in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh, recognizes municipalities ‘that are working to save money, conserve resources and serve vibrant communities,’ and to advance community and regional prosperity through sustainability practices, according to a news release.
‘We are delighted to see State College Borough distinguished among local governments that are leading the way in applying sustainability both to their operations and management as well as within the community,’ said Anne McCollum, director of training and development for the Pennsylvania Municipal League, which held its Sustainability Conference on Tuesday in State College.
Some actions and practices cited among those that make State College standout as a leading sustainable community include: outlining greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Standard for the Municipal Building, constructing local rain gardens to minimize stormwater runoff, establishing the first municipality-wide food waste collection and composting program on the East Coast, and maintaining a Human Relations Commission and an LGBTQ Advisory Committee.
The certification program also serves as a mechanism for sharing best practices, and the platinum recognition acknowledges the borough ‘as a leading example for progress in such areas as community design and land use, energy efficiency, health and wellness, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls and internal management and operations.’
“The mayor and borough council members have been strong advocates for sustainability, and as a result, State College has a long history of focusing on sustainability,’ Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said. ‘Being recognized as a Platinum Certified Community by the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program shows that we’ve made measurable strides towards our sustainability goals. We are honored to be recognized by our peers as a leading community in this field.
‘On Monday… we presented our Sustainability Plan draft which outlines additional goals and objectives that we are working to meet in the next five years.”