Think Sustainability in the Workplace This Year

Sustainability Office with Bikes

At Florida State University, the Sustainable Campus office strives to make the campus, well, more sustainable.  So what exactly does that mean and how does that look different for different groups of people on campus?

Being embedded within a University, our 16 programs are primarily student-facing and focused on student development, leadership, outreach, and engagement.

But there is a large population of faculty and staff who are an integral part of the FSU community and a significant force in contributing to sustainable culture on-campus.  So, we designed the Green Office Certification program to engage FSU employees and offices in on-campus sustainable behavior and action.

The Green Office Certification program, or Green Office for short, acts as a framework for implementing sustainable practices in FSU’s workplace environments.  Currently, 27 FSU offices participate in the Green Office program and over 2,000 people have been reached by a variety of Green Office initiatives.  Participation in Green Office is entirely voluntary and certification is based upon an honor system.

The process is easy: first, faculty and/or staff from an office or department appoint a Green Office Liaison, a person excited about the program who will represent their office.  Second, the Liaison fills out an easy-to-use checklist about their office’s current and future practices.  There are categories such as energy conservation, IT, waste reduction, reuse, recycling, transportation, purchasing, with room for innovation.  Third, after a review with Sustainable Campus, Liaisons create an action plan and timeline for implementing and encouraging sustainable operations and behaviors in the future.

The Liaison then receives Green Tips of the Month, which shares sustainable tips or provides materials for encouraging sustainable behavior within the office.

However, we strive to build more than just an email list; we want to build community around these issues and have a place for that discussion to take place.  So each semester, the Liaisons are thanked in a luncheon that features a guest speaker or a panel on an important issue or sustainability best practice on campus.

Certified Green Offices contribute to the culture of campus sustainability by ensuring that environmental and economic resource conservation practices are the norm within their department.

The fact of the matter is that many of us spend significant amounts of time at our places of employment.  As you begin the new year, take a look at your habits and those that are normal in your workplace.

Do you walk or carpool with colleagues to meetings outside of your building, pack your own lunch, or have a scrap box for single-sided printed paper?  If so, you’re taking sustainable action!

Talk to me: What sustainable actions do you take in your workplace?  What actions do you hope to take in the New Year?

Interested in finding out more?  Visit the Green Office page ( on the Sustainable Campus website.

Kristen Lee is the Program Coordinator with FSU Sustainable Campus. Contact her at,. FSU is a member of the Capital Area Sustainability Council, a forum organized by Sustainable Tallahassee, which brings you “Greening Our Community” articles.  Visit for more information.