New Resource: Campus Green Office Programs
With computers, scanners, fax machines, and other office appliances on for several (sometimes 24!) hours per day, administrative hubs are prime locations for greening endeavors. Greening the operations of physical offices is among those sustainability opportunities that not only benefit the environment but also save money immediately, making it extremely palatable to those primarily seeking primarily economic gains (or avoiding short-term capital investment) as well as those seeking tangible and visible reductions in emissions.
In addition to non-profits, such as Shanghai-based Roots and Shoots which trains student volunteers to conduct free eco-audits, and private companies offering eco-audit services, higher education institutions have taken a lead in creating green office programs, given the benefit of reducing emissions significantly while engaging students, faculty, and staff in the institution’s sustainability initiatives. Higher education institutions that are participants of AASHE’s STARS program receive a credit for having an educational initiative to engage employees in campus sustainability.
AASHE’s newly launched member-only resource–Green Office Programs–is a compilation of university and colleges’ green office programs throughout the States and Canada. While some campuses have programs centered around training staff to be the sustainability leader for their administrative space, as is the case with New York University's Sustainability Advocate Program, others have student-led office greening programs, such as California State University, Chico’s Sustainability Consultation Of Office Practices (SCOOP) initiative.
Jeremy Friedman, Manager of Sustainable Initiatives at New York University’s Office of Sustainability sees NYU's Sustainability Advocate Program as “not just an easy way to save energy” but as “essential to the larger goal of building a culture of sustainability throughout the campus.”
“For that reason, the Advocate Program affects more than just the staff. It’s really one centripetal force which cuts across divisions within a large urban and decentralized institution. And it helps people understand their personal connection to the collective endeavour,” said Friedman.
Harvard University's comprehensive and renowned Green Office Program has over 2000 individual participants. One of the key characteristics of Harvard's program is the four leaf checklist system. According to Heather Henriksen, Director of Harvard's Office of Sustainability, "the four leaf levels and easy-to-follow checklists are goal-orientated, encourage healthy competition, and inspire formation of Green Teams to rally around Green Office recognition.”
"The Program gives our employees the tools and resources to put into practice every day actions that reduce energy and conserve resources in their workplace. It empowers the community, at every level of the University, to creatively and effectively contribute to our sustainability goals," said Henriksen.
Know of a green office program at your campus that should be included in our resource? Email email@example.com with the name of the institution and a link to a page or article describing the initiative.
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