Campus pushes sustainability goals by having offices to get certified


Falcon Media Staff

An office on campus becomes Green Office Certified.

Jay Flood, Reporter

As of March 2023, 14 offices are currently Green Office Certified (GOC) and in the past 10 years, there have been a total of 17 offices certified and recertified 36 times.

The GOC program was created in 2013 by BGSU’s Office of Campus Sustainability. In the first year, only two offices became certified: the Office of the President and Undergraduate Student Government (USG).

“We’re seeing more student interest now compared to 2013,” said Dr. Nick Hennessy, manager of sustainability. “I think a lot of students are taking the lead on this, not for a certificate they can hang on their wall, but because they feel compelled to do what they can to be more sustainable.”

In order to be certified, offices must submit an online application to the Office of Campus Sustainability. Applicants will then have a meeting with the sustainability office where they go over a checklist and find innovative ways to make their office more sustainable.

The GOC checklist is divided into categories where offices can earn points. These categories include printer and paper reduction, lighting, heating/cooling, energy, waste reduction, breakroom, transportation, meetings, education, involvement and innovation.

“I think the biggest thing is the potential each office has for innovation,” said Sustainability Graduate Intern Zach Hayes. “Every office is different, so every office has a unique way they can contribute to making BGSU more green.”

While some offices focus on saving energy or reducing paper waste, others might begin composting initiatives or host green events.

USG’s Director of Campus Sustainability, Maria Velovski, and Director of Safety and Well-Being, Carly Hitchcock, recently led USG to be recertified after being the first student-coordinated office to be certified in 2013.

“I thought getting certified would be a great initiative for USG to tackle, since we have an office and a lot of other student organizations don’t,” said Hitchcock.

One initiative USG is working on in tandem with other BGSU organizations is the Green Falcon Pledge.

As an incentive, money will be put toward a tree planting fund in exchange for a certain number of sustainable actions pledged by each student. 

The Office of Campus Sustainability is planning to implement a recertification process to ensure offices are keeping up with their sustainability goals.

“The only way to make this effective is to have a recertification process,” said Hennessy. “The people involved are going to change over the years, so having their office recertify will ensure every person knows what they pledged.”

While it’s difficult to quantify the impact GOC has, the overall carbon footprint on BGSU’s campus has decreased by nearly 33% in 10 years.

“BGSU has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, and GOC is definitely a good way to localize it to specific offices,” said Hayes. “It can be really simple things like unplugging a lamp that’s never used or making sure the printer is energy-star certified.”