Work, play sustainably with ASU office, event certifications
University Sustainability Practices makes it easy to green your event and office during campus sustainability month. Event hosts and office staff may participate in the ASU Sustainability Certification Program to receive a bronze, silver or gold certificate.
“The new certification is more relevant and provides more supporting information,” said Michele Nobles, ASU Global Launch business operations manager and Green Devil. “The Blackboard site makes it easier to find, track and save progress to finish the checklist later.”
Green events are an easy way to be sustainable and engage attendees to become more aware of campus sustainability in the process. Beyond pairing recycling and landfill bins, food, transportation and education are areas to begin greening events.
Event planners can use ASU’s Aramark catering services’ Decidedly Green Catering Menu, which includes vegan and vegetarian products that encourage attendees to eat low on the food chain.
This menu is seasonal, plant-based and serves food from more than 15 local food producers, like eggs from Hickman’s Family Farms. Catered events serve American Humane Certified meat, cage-free eggs and Monterey Bay Seafood Watch certified seafood.
Every certified event diverts or recycles environmentally friendly eating utensils.
The campus culture of sustainability is apparent when Zero Waste department volunteers work at large university events. ASU’s annual staff barbecues are the largest zero waste event on campus each year. At the 2017 events, the diversion rate was 94.3 percent.
Overall in the fiscal year 2016, ASU composted 508.09 tons and diverted 36.5 percent of all waste from the landfill. Also in the fiscal year 2016, University Sustainability Practices engaged 8,597 students, faculty and staff through 102 sustainability-related events.
“Greening events made a positive impact on campus last year, and the ASU community has the opportunity to work together to continue our momentum this year,” said Mick Dalrymple, University Sustainability Practices director. "Campus sustainability month offers many opportunities for community members to start greening their events and join that momentum."
Arizona State University’s Fresh and Local Market sells fresh, local and organic produce.
ASU is a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University. During ASU’s Bike Month in October, Sun Devils are invited to attend campus bicycle registration events.
ASU’s annual staff barbecues are the largest zero waste events on campus each year.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Denis Hayes, founder of the Earth Day Network and president of the Bullitt Foundation, came to ASU this month to talk about how universities might help create better buildings.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
This month, ASU celebrated the opening of its Student Pavilion — the first net zero energy building at the university, meaning it uses no more energy than it creates.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
ASU intercampus shuttles transport students, faculty and staff between the Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, Tempe and West campuses. Additional shuttle service is also available to the Scottsdale Mayo Clinic from Tempe and to the Thunderbird campus from West.
The Blue Bag program complements the university’s widespread blue bin commingled recycling program. Blue bags are available free of charge to offices and departments on all ASU campuses.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Green your workplace
With more than 14,000 employees, ASU faculty and staff have a chance to impact sustainable campus culture with its certification program for offices. The certification engages all aspects of the workplace, including printing, energy, purchasing, waste and creating a sustainable workplace community.
“The office certification is easy, fast and achievable. My department gets together, chooses one topic and focuses on it,” said Laurie Bitz, ASU Health Services medical assistant. “I think it opened the eyes of a few coworkers who didn’t know what sustainability was.”
A Canon Print Assessment is a simple way to start the office certification process. Assessments may include energy, toner and paper-saving recommendations.
These small changes made a big impact in ASU offices. Double-sided printing saved 417,326 pages and 1,434,855 gallons of water in the fiscal year 2016. By completing Canon Print Assessments, ASU departments reduced its carbon footprint by 154,739 pounds and saved 1,688 trees in the fiscal year 2016.
Reaching a gold-level office certification could be as simple as a commitment to turn off lights and monitors when not in use. Another option is to install motion-sensor lights, which turn off after a period of inactivity.
When office equipment or other items are exhausted, send them to ASU Surplus Property, which diverts used ASU office items from the landfill. Some of the items for sale are often cheaper than buying new.
There are two ways to divert waste from the landfill and increase ASU’s zero waste reporting. Departments may request on-demand or scheduled pickups of lockable shredding containers for a small fee. The Zero Waste department also provides the Blue Bag program to divert hard-to-recycle items like plastic coffee pods and batteries.
To become more involved with ASU’s sustainability culture, join the Green Devil Network, which includes training to become a sustainability advocate. Sustainable transportation efforts staff can make include carpooling or using the intercampus shuttle between campuses. Additionally, campus sustainability events like the Fresh and Local Market engage participants to consider sustainable practices.
University Sustainability Practices began offering the Sustainability Certification Program for events and offices in 2014 and 2010, respectively. Since then, more than 250 events and 40 offices have been certified. ASU staff who made individual improvements to their events and offices make ASU a leader in sustainable operations.