Green office certified program promotes education on “going green”

News Editor and News Editor

The Office of Campus Sustainability has a new program that hopes to make offices go “green” one office at a time.

The Green Office Certification program advises departments and offices at the University to engage themselves in environmentally sustainable actions in their offices. Each office is required to fill out a checklist of items resulting to 75 points total that must be completed in order to become office certified.

The checklist has multiple options for offices to make their office “green” where each item equals one point.

“The items on the list are able to help office members become more aware and cautious of how to ensure a safe and healthy environment,” said Nick Hennessy, director of sustainability. “It helps us out and them.”

This is one reason why the Office of the President decided to become one of the first offices to be Green Office Certified.

“We were approached to be one of the first offices to be certified and we were excited to get started,” said Amy Davis, secretary for the Office of the President.

Because President Mary Ellen Mazey signed the President’s Climate Commitment this past year, it was important for them to set an example and show interest in this opportunity, Davis said.

“We also wanted to show that it is possible for any office, big or small, that they can make their office Green Office Certified,” she said.

While the Office of the President is not fully Green Office Certified yet, there hope is to be at the end of the week.

“We hope this catches on and other offices show interest because it is rewarding,” Davis said.

The office has turned in their application and checklist and is currently waiting for the Office of Campus Sustainability to check their office to make sure they fulfilled the requirements and award them a certificate.

The process of becoming Green Office Certified is simple, Hennessy said.

An office can go online to the University’s Campus Sustainability page and click on the application and checklist link to get started.

Once the office turns in both to the Office of Campus Sustainability, they review both.

“We go in and double check to make sure everything they checked is completed and equals 75 points,” Hennessy said. “Once that check is done we congratulate them with an official certificate saying they are Green Office Certified to hang in their office.”

The website also offers resources and suggestions on how to become office certified. Some tips include: turning off lights, recycling locations and carpooling and biking information.

“[This will] help make the University community aware of sustainability practices and how even fairly simple changes can collectively have a significant impact on making us more sustainable,” Hennessy said. “Helping the environment and in some cases, saving us money as well.”

The Office of Campus Sustainability also hopes this will encourage students to become more green.

“University offices showing leadership and commitment to a sustainable University is a great way of role modeling the same type of practices that students can engage in to save energy, reduce waste, recycle more, use fewer resources and cut their carbon footprints.”

Freshman Trey Barber believes the University is going in the right direction with this decision to make offices “go green,” but isn’t sure students will become more aware of being more green.

“I think for the most part students are going to [be environmentally aware] based off of how you are raised,” Barber said. “I think this is a step forward though.”

However, freshman Anastasia Smith said that may not be a factor at all.

“This is the day of technology and an [evolving] generation, so I don’t believe [going green] will sink in to everyone,” Smith said. “It’s a great idea, I just think it may take some time for students to do more “green” things on a regular basis.”

The Office of Campus Sustainability’s main goal this year is to educate the University on how and why becoming environmentally friendly will benefit everyone in the long run, this process is a start to that.

“We want to educate people so they know how it can help everyone,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy said he wants each department and office to be “Green Office Certified” by the end of this year.

“It may seem a little out of reach, but I think it can happen,” Hennessy said.

Offices currently in the process:

Office of the President

Office of the VP for Finance and Administration

Office of the VP for Academic Affairs /Provost’s Office