Surrounded by booths of environmental organizations, festival-goers flocked to the first ever Light Step, Right Step Festival and Energy Expo.
After being moved inside the State College Municipal Building’s lobby and second floor, in addition to the Schlow Centre Region Library due to rain, the festival brought students and community members together to celebrate sustainability in the community now and in the future.
State College Borough Planner Meagan Tuttle said the festival went very well.
“It was a rough start in the beginning with the weather, but it really started to pick up in the afternoon,” Tuttle said of the crowd. “We finally got in the swing of things, and the festival became quite busy.”
Keynote speaker Richard Alley, a Penn State Evan Pugh professor of geosciences, spoke before noon to a crowded library community room.
Alley’s hour-long presentation was focused on how the community can look at the past, present and future of renewable resources, energy and climate change.
“We today burn our resources, then choose to learn about what happens after,” Alley said. “If we learn while we burn, then we can be better off.”
Alley stressed the importance of becoming educated about what renewable resources people use everyday and taking a look at an individual’s impact on the environment.
He also said climate change, energy and economic needs are all tied together, so it is up to the community to start looking toward the future.
Alley ended his presentation with questions from the audience about how they could start making a difference today, including their impact on the environment. Later in the afternoon, Alley’s documentaries were shown in the same room.
Back at the municipal building, many booths of businesses and organizations were showcased from local venders from Penn State and the State College community.
Shannon Brace, an intern for the New Leaf Initiative — a nonprofit group located in State College, said she was excited to be a part of the Light Step, Right Step festival.
“I was always interested in sustainability, and having been involved in New Leaf, it has been a great experience to help create awareness for our community,” Brace said.
Jeff D’Angelo, of State College, and Transition Town State College said he volunteered for the festival because he is eager to help the community learn about promoting environmental change.
“It’s great what we are able to accomplish here in our region because starting change with a grassroots movement can help to get more people involved,” D’Angelo said.