Never let it be said that college students are only interested in cheap booze and the latest episode of My Super Sweet 16. OK, it can be said about some people (hello, freshman roomie), but never let it be said about these folks:

Penn State green group EcoAction has been pressing uni-prez Graham Spanier for two years to lower greenhouse-gas emissions and get PSU in compliance with Kyoto (Now!). Last month, the group staged a sit-in in the guy’s office (and also, clearly, outside, as seen in the photo above from It’s Getting Hot in Here). They also delivered about 4,500 signatures of support, including a string of thousands of signed letters delivered via a human chain into his office. Apparently, in a recent campaign, they planted 4,000 red and orange flags along a campus green area to represent the 4,000 students (10 percent of the student body!) supporting their cause — in the process making a nice statement about wind power and creating a can’t-miss-it visual display. Kudos, kids!

And speaking of creative visuals, 41 student teams recently competed in a sustainable design competition sponsored by the EPA and held on the National Mall. The P3 award — for People, Prosperity, and the Planet — includes funding up to $75,000 for the students to see their ideas to fruition.

The winning teams and their ideas, below the fold:

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  • Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. Closing the Biodiesel Loop: community based production of biodiesel from local waste vegetable oil.
  • Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. Sustainable Water Systems in Honduras — a simple method to remove inorganic arsenic from groundwater sources.
  • Portland State University, Portland, Ore. WISE, an interactive Web site for educators and students on a holistic approach to sustainable development.
  • Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. The Green Dorm: design and construction of a sustainable facility for residential, laboratory and commons space.
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Mass. Cancer treatment drugs from green tea.
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Growing alternative sustainable buildings from natural fiber, biodegradable or recyclable materials.