In Fall 2011 the Office of Sustainability offered the first ever staff sustainability training – WORKbright green. Twenty campus staff from varying departments and job roles ranging from student affairs officers, to administrative assistants, to IST program supervisors, engaged with in-house campus experts (staff and students) about simple and feasible ways to reduce the environmental impacts of the work they do.
The free 7.5-hour training equipped staff with tools to make informed choices to improve sustainability in the workplace, bring green projects back to the office, and collaborate with other campus sustainability stewards. Course materials were at the beginner to intermediate level, and through interactive training modules staff members learned about:
- Campus transportation options – making more environmentally friendly travel choices.
- Creating less waste – methods to reduce, re-use, recycle, and compost.
- Energy efficiency and conservation -best practices in the workplace.
- Campus land use and greening buildings.
- Using less water – ways to reduce campus domestic and lab use.
- Green purchasing – making sustainable buying decisions at work.
- Student-led sustainability initiatives – ways for staff and students to work together.
- Money – grants and funding available to staff .
One major premise of the training is that sustainability can be enhanced in any job on campus – no matter what the job is. On the first day, participants gained insight from three UCB staff members who had already implemented green projects in their departments, including programs for recycling electronics, using videoconferencing to reduce business air travel, and converting lawn into a native plant landscape.
Training activities ranged from monitoring building energy usage with Patrick McArdle (Energy Efficiency Program Manager), to discussing campus- wide initiatives such as LEED certification of campus buildings with Judy Chess (Capital Projects Program Manager) and the new Energy Management Initiative with Erin Fenley (Communications Specialist). Hands-on student presentations from sustainability groups Building Sustainability @ Cal, ReUSE, Green Campus, and the Compost Alliance highlighted the many resources students have to offer staff in their green initiatives. For instance, staff learned about water and energy building audits and available educational outreach campaigns.
“I especially appreciated the opportunity to learn about so many interesting sustainability projects led by student groups on campus,” expressed staff participant Donna Dahrouge. TGIF Coordinator Katherine Walsh, both a participant and presenter on green grants and funding, reflected: “I was able to take the knowledge I learned from the Waste Reduction presentation and the Parking & Transportation presentation back to my office to share with my colleagues. Now, we have a better understanding about what the campus does and does not recycle, and more people are interested in bus and ride sharing options.”
Ending with a bang, staff participants received a congratulatory visit from Vice Chancellor John Wilton as they became members of a WORKbright green Network on campus, certification complete with sustainable gifts! Funded by The Green Initiative Fund and developed and hosted by Office student coordinator Kaya Sugerman and Sustainability Manager Kira Stoll—WORKbright green training met its initial objectives and plans are in the works for future offerings. Look out for the next training in Fall 2012! For more information, click here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
article by Kaya Sugerman
Read more great articles like this one in the February 2012 issue of BRIGHT GREEN NEWS from the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability.