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INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
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Campus Recreation a Green Office Star

MAY 27, 2015 — In iSEE’s inaugural year of the Certified Green Office Program, several campus offices went above and beyond the minimum requirements of the program, taking on additional steps to be a more sustainable workplace.

Campus Recreation was a top performer in the 2014-15 edition of the program, completing 21 of the 22 required and bonus actions suggested.

Kristina Pettigrew, Facilities Coordinator at Campus Recreation, served as the sustainability ambassador to the program. Because she makes sure all of the indoor and outdoor spaces are well maintained, it made sense that she also was the person to make sure they are maintained in a green way.

Campus Recreation started a green team in 2008, around the time of the opening of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). This group was responsible for placing plastic bottle recycling bins throughout recreation facilities, eliminating the sale of bottled water in favor of $5 reusable bottles, and instituting green lighting hours to require using natural light rather than a electricity whenever possible.

Moving the power strips from the floor to the desktop was one way Campus Recreation made sustainability more "in your face" said Krissy Pettigrew.

Moving power strips from the floor to the desktop was one way Campus Recreation made sustainability more “in your face,” according to Kristina Pettigrew.

Pettigrew said making green changes wasn’t difficult — in fact, because of the green team, Campus Rec already was doing almost everything iSEE recommended on the CGOP application and “extra miles” form — but getting complete buy-in from the 52 professional and 750+ student staff was the true success story of the Certified Green Office experience.

“We always had things like turning off the power strip at night, and our IT department had been really good about setting all that up, but workers just wouldn’t do it because they didn’t realize there was a benefit in it,” she said.

So, Campus Rec changed the automatic default screensavers in the office to read at the very top “please turn off your power strip” as a friendly reminder. Power strips were placed on employees’ desks and labeled with a large sign stating “please turn off your power strip at night.”

In one of Campus Recreation’s regular all-staff meetings, Pettigrew gave a presentation on the program and why participation as a green office is important. She taught employees about the bus routes for getting around to all of Campus Rec’s facilities and about the new office policies. All information regarding the green operation of the office was put on Campus Rec’s intranet for employees to refer back to later.

“I think people are really on board now,” Pettigrew said. “I think after they learned about it in the staff meeting, they were actually excited. No one was upset about reduced lighting or having to use recycled paper.”

At the end of the day, she is most proud of the awareness the Certified Green Office Program brought to Campus Recreation employees and students using the facilities.

“We affect so many people here on campus,” she said. “Last time I heard, 92 percent of the student body comes in to one of our facilities at least once during a year here. So to be able to affect that many students, to get them to realize why we do sustainability — that’s the biggest motivation for me.”

 

— Olivia Harris, iSEE Communications Assistant

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