Offices that complete Sustainable Office Certification receive a framed certificate acknowledging their success and are recognized at the annual Western Sustainability Awards reception. View the introductory presentation, and read the 3-step certification process to get involved.
In each department, a volunteer Facilitator completed the SOC score sheet, scoring the office for actions already in place and actions initiated during the certification process.
Peter Thut and Kendra Bradford first stepped into the role of Department Conservation Coordinators during the 10×12 pilot. In that first year, the stockroom staff implemented a number of innovative programs, including recycling Styrofoam, collection and distribution of reusable and recyclable materials, and a fume hood sash monitoring and closing effort. Additional efforts include circulation of email reminders about sustainable practices. In 2014, the instructors and lab technicians in the stockroom collaborated to complete the SOC scoresheet, to find that their efforts added up to certification at the Platinum level! The staff continually strives to discover and implement systematic changes with the greatest results.
Huxley College of the Environment, Main Office/Dean’s Office reached Platinum level in fall 2014, due to having already adopted many sustainable practices before being approached about participating in SOC. The Huxley office practices some unique actions, such as recycling empty coffee cans for bug collection, reusing and recycling the few plastic bags that are brought into the office, and encouraging carpooling by sending out email requests. The entire office shares one black-and-white printer, and the office uses a copier that is shared with three floors of the Environmental Studies building. Numerous large windows throughout the office allow for plenty of natural lighting and 75% of them open to allow for natural cooling. Office staff also maintain a collection of 16 plants that improve air quality in the workplace, including one impressive philodendron that runs along two long shelves.
HR staff have worked tirelessly to institute a successful waste sorting program in the HR break room. Beginning in March with a communal landfill bin and recycling done individually in the office, the break room now has composting and a full sorting system available. Cloth dishtowels and reusable silverware are available as well, cutting back unnecessary paper towel and utensil waste. On-campus HR events feature compostable materials and follow guidelines from the 12 Actions for Sustainable Events. Office Staff continually strive to both institute and educate about sustainable practices and have increased to the Platinum level.
When Program Assistant Britta Eschete joined the Woodring College of Education office at the Everett Extension of WWU, she saw many sustainable office practices in place, such as using refillable water pitchers and avid recycling. With her supervisor’s approval and co-worker participation, Britta reviewed the SOC scoresheet and invited Carol Berry, WWU Campus Conservation Program Manager, for a site visit, to join in a round-table conversation about what practices were in place and where staff & faculty wanted to go from there. The office documented their practices and added actions, encouraging each other and conferring with the University Center Technical Specialist. In September, they submitted the SOC scoresheet with a score of 129 points, meeting their goal of Platinum level certification! With great office practices in place, and a working environment that encourages collaboration, laughter, health, learning, and teaching, Woodring Everett is the FIRST WWU off-campus office to achieve sustainable office certification, and only the third WWU office to reach Platinum level certification. Everett Community College is committed to sustainable best practices such as composting, recycling, building design that maximizes light and a logical utilization of space, sharing of resources such as refrigerators, and partial reimbursement on bus passes. EvCC Energy Manager Molly Beeman deserves credit for support to Woodring Everett and the other Extension offices located at the University Center site.
Having reached the Silver level in 2012, TLA continued to improve, reaching Platinum after a year of deliberate effort throughout the department. TLA has expanded their influence beyond their own office by sponsoring weekly Western Sustainability Lunch & Learn Conversations, and encouraging other members of the Library Learning Commons to join SOC. TLA maintains bins for food waste compost, markers/pens/pencils, and plastic/bottles/cans recycling in the multi-use area outside their office. Reusable mugs are provided for TLA participants, and sustainability success stories are shared with folks throughout campus and community, during bi-weekly TLA sessions. TLA staff assisted the Office of Sustainability in developing an office energy inventory that is now included in the SOC scoresheet. Energy reduction efforts include turning off computers and printers after hours and on weekends, facilitating and rewarding carpooling to conferences, and choosing conference venues based on reduced environmental impacts.