What is the Green Office Program?
The Green Office Program at the University of Washington seeks to:
- Help offices gauge how sustainably they are currently operating
- Show offices specific ways they can operate more sustainably
- Recognize offices for the good work they are already doing
For this program, “office” has a flexible definition. An office may be an individual, a small group, or an entire department. A smaller office can encourage other offices within a larger department to become certified.
Members of any UW office can enroll their office in the Green Office Program. Offices may belong to UW Seattle, UW Tacoma, or UW Bothell, or be an off-campus UW office. To join, office members must simply identify an Office Champion who will 1. complete a short online questionnaire on office practices (this typically takes 20-25 mins), 2. receive the quarterly Green Office Newsletter, and 3. lead sustainable change in the office.
Why join the Green Office Program?
UW's Climate Action Plan calls for the establishment of a departmental level reporting tool and for the availability of general office guidelines for UW offices, both of which the Green Office Program supports. Join the nearly 70 offices that are already working to operate more sustainably!
How does joining the Green Office Program work?
Instead of scoring offices on their responses, the initial questionnaire asks offices to consider what steps they are currently taking to operate sustainably and shows them where they can improve. It addresses workplace practices in action areas such as purchasing, publications and marketing, waste, and more. Similarly, the quarterly Green Office Newsletter provides offices with specific strategies and resources to improve the sustainability of their operations.
To remain in the Green Office Program, offices should maintain an active Office Champion and annually update their initial online questionnaire responses to reflect any sustainable changes made to office practices over the past academic year.
To learn more about the Green Office Program, as well as resources and sustainable practices your office can use, check out a past issue of the Green Office Newsletter or join the Green Office mailing list!
How was the program developed?
A student intern with UW Sustainability (then the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability office) initiated the program, and brought together staff members from various departments on campus who have expertise in different aspects of sustainability (see below). This committee developed the framework and criteria for the program. Through the Program on the Environment’s Capstone Meet & Greet Event, members of UW Sustainability were connected with two students interested in working with the Green Office Certification program as part of their capstone project. These students worked together with the intern to develop resources, and pilot and implement the program. In their research, they studied what standards make workplaces sustainable, and what practices make college campus’ greener. After piloting, the program was launched university-wide with the intention of setting a sustainability standard for UW offices, and accomplishing goals set by UW’s Climate Action Plan.