Enhancing Sustainability through DarlingCorps

Jul 19, 2022

John Lorentzen, BN’77, LA’77, and Penney Fillmer’s strong commitment to sustainability has made a significant impact on the Drake campus.

Their investments have added charging stations for electric vehicles and enhanced the energy efficiency of campus buildings, including the Drake Tennis Center, Tom and Ruth Harkin Center, and Meredith Hall, which is currently undergoing revitalization that will make it more sustainable.

Now, John and Penney have made a giftthat will help students prepare for careers in sustainability. Their gift to The Ones campaign will create the Lorentzen Family Endowed DarlingCorps Scholarship and an endowed research fund for the Jay N. Darling Institute. The DarlingCorps empowers students to play a key role in creating value and new opportunities for rural communities.

In conjunction with the gift, the first Lorentzen DarlingCorps Scholar, Vanessa Southgate, will complete a comprehensive habitat and land management plan for the couple’sproperty in Illinois. Vanessa is a junior business management and sustainability double major. Under the guidance of Keith Summerville, director of the Jay N. Darling Institute and professor of environmental science, she will create a digital map of the land’s topography, develop a plan for a hardwood forest, and investigate the feasibility of solar and hydropower on the property.

“This is hands-on training that will help Vanessa prepare for her careeras a sustainability coordinator,” says Keith. “This project will also create a demonstratable record of achievement that will provide a model for other DarlingCorps initiatives in the future.”

Electric vehicle parking sign

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