UWG is first and foremost an educational institution. It is up to faculty, as well as staff, to help inform students about sustainability. First off, live by example: talking recycling and then throwing your plastic bottle in the regular trash will probably not inspire students. Faculty, think about incorporating a sustainability component into your course work – there are so many angles to take. If you do so, let us know, and we will advertise your course as having a sustainability element. Open the pathways of communication and share your pedagogical experiences with your peers. Hopefully we will soon have regular development sessions focused on sustainability education.
According to a recent survey we estimate that 91% of faculty/staff drive alone to work, while 4% bike or walk, and 5% carpool. With commuting making up nearly a half of UWG’s carbon footprint, this is an obvious area that could see improvement. We are hoping that the Greenbelt and the University’s efforts to improve bike and pedestrian access to and across campus, will improve the use of non-carbon modes of transport. Carpooling is another smart way to reduce carbon output while saving money. The Center wants to facilitate such choices. Let us know your ideas for making a switch to greener modes of commuting. By the way, our choice of transport is a great way to lead by example.
Recycling is now ubiquitous on campus. There should be bottle shaped dispensaries close to you for the disposal of all cans and bottles. Every department should have blue recycling containers, which is for white paper only. Cardboard boxes should be broken down and folded and left outside your door for janitorial services to pick up. Remember that the best way to avoid waste is to use reusable items, such as sturdy water bottles and coffee mugs.
Water and Energy
Turn off lights and other electronics when you leave any room you've used on campus. Especially be aware to turn off overhead projectors; not only is that wasted energy, but the bulbs cost an arm and a leg. Use natural lighting - read or work near windows if you can. Put efficient light bulbs in any lamps you have in your department, and use a power strip for your office electronics so you can shut all of them off when you leave.
Report any leaks and drips in sinks, showers, and toilets on campus to UWG facilities. Support the installation of water dispensary in your building if you don’t have one yet.
Electronics, office supplies, coffee: while many of our electronics come from ITS, which is considering an environmental purchasing policy, departments and individuals will purchase some electronics on their own. Try to buy Energy Star or EPEAT certified equipment and appliances wherever possible. Also seek to purchase sustainable office supplies, such as paper that is recycled or contains recycled materials. Lastly, if the department purchases coffee, consider paying a little more to offer Fair Trade and/or Rain Forest Alliance coffee. All of these moves will show that your department is forward thinking and proactive. By formalizing a department purchasing policy, your department could even advertise its progressive behavior to the outside world.
Printing: Scan and go digital whenever possible. Use recycled paper if your printer can handle it. Print double-sided and use single-sided paper for scrap.
Stay abreast with the Sustainability Council by attending meetings or talking to your representative about current initiatives. Sign up to take part in one of the Council’s taskforces. The Sustainability Council posts all the minutes from its meetings, so you can keep up with the most recent initiatives.
What Sustains You? Calculate your Carbon Footprint here and think about how to reduce it:http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/