Snake plant against white block wall

Sustainability Launches Revised Green Office Program

By Jessica Hall, Sustainability Office

Many offices across campus have been involved in the Sustainability Office’s Green Office program, which helps campus employees learn how to be more sustainable in an office space and contribute to the university’s goals. Recently, Sustainability released a new version of the Green Office program with the hopes making the program more accessible to all offices.

The new Green Office certification process asks offices and departments to complete just eight actions to be certified. Actions include scheduling inclusivity trainings, reducing energy, reducing purchasing or switching to eco-friendly items, among others. The previous version of the Green Office program had many more items, says Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, engagement and communications manager for Sustainability.

“There are so many actions that staff can take to be more sustainable,” Clark-Proffitt says. “However, we really wanted to narrow the items on the checklist to better highlight the three pillars of sustainability—environmental, social, and economic equity—and make the program an easy, entry-level way to get involved. This is the base level of engagement with staff across campus.”

The new Green Office is completed through an online form, and the Sustainability Office created a worksheet to help offices understand the purpose of each item on the list. The new version of the program also incorporates ways for offices that are predominantly remote to participate, too.

supply cabinet at College of Nursing

The College of Nursing recently completed the Green Office program, and one point they completed was to keep office supplies in a central location. This reduces total purchasing, as well as shipping.

Sustainability quietly launched the new version late in the fall semester, and the College of Nursing accepted the challenge to pilot the new version. Jennifer Macali, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, facilitated the certification process for her department. Macali, who works with the health and wellbeing of people every day, says sustainability is very important in the health because “our health is reliant on the environment.”

“If we ignore the holistic aspects of sustainability, we aren’t doing our job as health scientists,” she says.

The new Green Office process is very straightforward, Macali says. She views the new version of the program as an easy way to embed sustainability into office systems, and she believes it should be expected for all offices to engage in Green Office.

Part of the Green Office program checklist allows for an innovation point, and Macali told us about the College of Nursing’s innovative way to be sustainable. Macali says the innovation point was easy for their office because they already had lots of ideas and contributions from employees all across the department. The college has a battery replacement system and an employee training that goes with it to educate staff on how to properly dispose of batteries in coordination with campus to pick up the used batteries. The College of Nursing is also partnering with the the Eccles Health Sciences Library and Sustainability’s Edible Campus Gardens on new ideas. Macali sees these collaborations as a way to form a more connected community.

Creating community is an important part of Green Office, says Clark-Proffitt, and we invite every office across the U to participate. Offices come in many shapes and sizes, and each has different strengths, but sustainability can be part of all spaces. Visit Sustainability’s Green Office page to learn how to get certified.