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Washington and Lee Launches Green Office Initiative

Washington and Lee University is kicking off the Green Office Initiative to encourage staff, faculty and students to practice sound environmental practices in their offices, classrooms and residence halls. Organizers hope a friendly competition across the campus community will make sustainability an even more integral part of the participants’ daily routine.

The initiative is a logical next step in the University’s commitment to environmental awareness. “Washington and Lee has made great strides toward the goal of sustainability in the past few years,” said Morris Trimmer, one of W&L’s two energy educators. “We have installed a solar photovoltaic array, reduced our energy consumption by more than 20 percent, and diverted thousands of tons of waste from the landfill.”

The goals of the initiative:

  • Engage the campus community in activities that will advance the University’s progress toward sustainability
  • Recognize and reward leadership in sustainability
  • Educate participants about how and why to take action
  • Support the University’s 2010 Climate Action Plan
  • Further integrate sustainability into campus culture
  • Conserve water, save energy, minimize waste and save money
  • Promote campus policies that support sustainability

This year, the competition will be arranged by offices, a category that may comprise anything from a group of people who share a common area, to all the faculty and staff on one floor of a building, such as an academic department. Next year, the competition will expand to include student residence halls and green houses.

Offices will choose a person to serve as their Green Office Representatives (GO Rep). After orientation and training, the GO Reps will encourage their officemates and track their progress in saving energy. Winners of the Green Office designation will receive plaques, acknowledgement on the Green Office website, a digital logo for their website and other items.

The Green Offices Initiative is a program of the University Sustainability Committee, which includes members of the staff, faculty and student body. The departments of University Facilities, Information Technology Services, Auxiliary Services and Energy Education also play an important role in the initiative. Cort Hammond, a junior from Seattle, Wash., did key work on the project during the past summer.