Of the four largest cities in Pennsylvania, only Erie had lacked a dedicated green website.

That distinction is now a thing of the past, however, as Gannon University formally has launched http://www.greeneriepa.org/, designed as a comprehensive source of “all things green” for both local residents and businesses.

The launch was celebrated with a party at the University’s Schuster Theatre that included a site demo and a “made in Erie” table of products.

Greeneriepa.org will provide unique and new information not currently available online while serving as a “portal” for area residents to more easily locate green businesses, activities, services, products, and more. Through the dozens of articles on the site, Gannon University students and faculty hope to promote:

  • Increased recycling, along with minimizing unnecessary waste
  • Increased energy and water conservation
  • Green organizations, such as Environment Erie, the Presque Isle Partnership, the Northwest PA Green Economy Taskforce, Clarion River Organics, the Lake Erie Region Conservancy and the Erie County Recycling Convenience Center
  • Practical ways the community can strengthen its focus on and commitment to the environment through “how to” information on properly disposing of pharmaceuticals and using public transit and alternative forms of transportation, for example

The site is made possible by a $7,300 grant to Gannon University from the Erie Community Foundation. In addition, the environmental sustainability committee of Gannon’s Erie-GAINS program led the effort to develop an educational website. Environmental stewardship is one of the five key focus areas of Erie-GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability), and the website is considered a signature project.

Two Gannon faculty members, Ann Bomberger, Ph.D. (English), and Michelle Homan, Ph.D. (environmental science and engineering), have overseen its development and maintenance. Bomberger and Homan serve on the environmental sustainability committee.

Gannon University students also have helped make the site a reality. For the students, it’s been both an educational and fun experience.

“During the process of researching and meeting with green businesses, I’ve learned more than I ever expected about the environment and how to be more environmentally conscious,” said Craig Schill, a graduate student in environmental health and engineering. “I’m confident this website will help empower individuals who want to positively impact the environment.”

Said Carolyn McIntyre, an undergraduate English major, “It’s exciting to see so many organizations making a commitment to the green movement and to the future health of our community and the environment.”

In addition, a number of community partners have contributed to the site’s development, including Don Blakesley, Erie County recycling coordinator; Melanie Johnson, Erie business action team manager for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership; Steve Porter, chair of the Northwest PA Green Economy Taskforce; Brittany Prischak, sustainability coordinator at Mercyhurst University; Sister Pat Lupo of the Neighborhood Art House; and Angela Porfilio of Environment Erie.

This article was originally published on Nov. 14, 2012 on www.gannon.edu.