Coastal Studio Penn State Wins Community Involvement and Scholarship Award


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – The Coastal Studio Penn State Project (CSPSU) – Portsmouth Rhode Island Resilience Planning has received the 2022 Penn State Award for Community Involvement and Scholarship. The effort is led by Peter Stempel, associate professor of landscape architecture at the College of Arts and Architecture.

The award recognizes a project that best exemplifies Penn State as an “engaged institution,” which the Kellogg Commission defines as an institution that has redesigned teaching, research, outreach, and service functions to engage with even more sympathetic and productive way with its communities.

The project involves Penn State experts responsible for promoting coastal resilience in communities such as Portsmouth Rhode Island, which face the existential challenges of rising sea levels and coastal storms. Penn State design students apply scientific research to solve community-identified problems in these communities, such as flooding and septic system failures. The studio is able to illustrate future scenarios based on the severity of climate change while providing solutions for community planners.

“CSPSU brings to life the Kellogg Commission’s definition of commitment as going beyond outreach to align education, research, and extension in a sympathetic way that serves communities and the nation more broadly,” said a proponent.

Nominators said low-lying areas of Portsmouth face an imminent threat from rising sea levels. Rising water tables and high tides are beginning to flood the community on sunny days and community planners need expertise, information and solutions.

Working with Penn State’s Coastal Studio has bridged real-world information gaps and provided the City of Portsmouth with useful visualizations, analytics and designs that help us make real-world decisions,” said one. nominator. “Coastal Studio students have raised unimagined possibilities that will shape sea-level adaptation planning.

The nominators said the project mutually benefits community needs, laying the foundation for solutions to issues facing many coastal communities, while training the next generation of Penn State leaders whose careers will no doubt play a part. vital in creating global resilience to the problems posed by sea-level rise and climate change. The partnership, which is rooted in Stempel’s research, also follows a consistent path that extends beyond university semesters.

Coastal Studio Penn State becomes one tool in a larger toolbox of efforts led by the University of Rhode Island Center for Coastal Resilience in coordination with other government and nonprofit agencies,” said one nominator. . “It exposes students to the practice of coastal resilience, while giving them a meaningful way to contribute to the process. It is an honor to mentor and observe these future practitioners who will have a realistic view of the challenges, opportunities and partnerships needed to succeed in their careers.


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