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Photo from Faran Savitz

This coming week, members of the Penn community can collectively declutter their lives by reducing their environmental footprint. 

From Oct. 15 to 19, Penn Sustainability is running its annual ReThink Your Footprint campaign. Various student organizations and schools will participate and hold events that raise awareness on sustainability. The week specifically focuses on minimizing waste and its impact.

Elizabeth Main, a staff member of Penn Sustainability, noted that the campaign involves “cross-campus collaboration” and encouraged the Penn community to reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Other events for the ReThink Your Footprint campaign feature student initiatives to influence Penn's impact on the environment.

One event on Wednesday will present the Wharton Student Sustainability Advisory Board's progress on the Wharton Green Tracker app, which will include survey results from pilot-testers. The group developed the app with MilkCrate in Philadelphia last spring, aiming to incentivize Penn students to demonstrate "green behavior," while also informing them of environment-related events. 

WSSAB member and Wharton junior Carmen Lau added that students who attend will “learn of its impact on the school community.”

There will also be events for members of the Penn community to reduce landfill waste and encourage upcycling.  

Penn Closet, the newest member of Penn Student Agencies, will host a clothing swap on Wednesday at its location in Williams Hall. 

College senior Anna Balfanz, the general manager of Penn Closet, encouraged students to participate in the clothing swap, in order to “keep [unwanted clothing] in circulation where other people can use them.” 

Penn Sustainability awards grants to student organizations with projects related to waste minimization efforts. 

Main said before the ReThink Your Footprint campaign begins, students can apply for $150 grants, while staff members can receive $200 grants. Throughout the year, Penn Sustainability also awards Green Fund grants to any sustainability program or initiative. 

Other events include a recycling hub and a School of Nursing Recycling Fair. The School of Engineering and Applied Science will have a “Back to Basics” fair that features an office supply swap, while the School of Arts and Sciences will run a Zero Waste Day. 

The Penn community can also participate in collection drives, such as E-Waste collections led by Penn Law School, the Perelman School of Medicine, and the School of Dental Medicine. 

To inform the public on "green culture," Penn Environmental Group Co-President and College senior Faran Savitz said College Green will have tables with a variety of groups, stores, staff members, and academic programs at GreenFest, the week's final event on Friday. 

“People should drop by GreenFest, even if they don't have an interest in the environment,” he said. "You never know what you'll end up liking." 

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