College of Law Hosts Summer Sustainability Challenge

Laurelin Haas
College of Law

Six College of Law Departments Earn Gold, Garnet, and Green Office Ratings

Six departments in the College of Law have earned Sustainable Campus Green Office certifications during the summer semester. In May 2022, College of Law Associate Dean for Administration Catherine Miller challenged all units within the college to become more sustainable. 

“There was a time during COVID when everything went online and was remote,” said Katie Schneider, a representative from the College of Law Dean’s Office. “We didn’t realize how many products we were using before the pandemic, so coming back to campus, we wanted to be resourceful and use as little as possible.” 

The Dean Miller was also interested in College of Law departments becoming Green Office certified to encourage College of Law employees to take part in university-wide initiatives and reduce the College of Law’s carbon footprint. To incentivize departments to participate, Dean Miller offered various prizes, including sustainability swag and a trip to Cascades Park. 

Over the course of the summer semester, the College of Law held three Green Office challenges focusing on different areas of sustainability. The first challenge was related to transportation and energy use. To reach their sustainability goals, the departments implemented energy saving measures such as smart power strips, learned about bicycle safety through the online CyclingSavvy course, and introduced resources such as the RideOn Emergency Ride Home Program to their colleagues. 

The second challenge involved waste minimization, and the departments were asked to find new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. In response, one department created custom signage to remind coworkers to sort their trash properly, and another department hung hooks in their kitchen area, asking everyone to bring reusable towels from home to reduce paper towel usage. 

The final challenge included sustainable purchasing, water consumption, and health and wellness. Departments were tasked with identifying whether their procurement processes were environmentally friendly and whether employees were supported in their overall wellness goals. One department hosted weekly walking challenges to encourage College of Law employees to become more active, and another department used biodegradable containers at their events. 

“Sustainability is important because while it’s benefiting us now, it’s going to be beneficial for generations to come, as well as preserving the planet,” said Ariel Elliott, a representative from the Juris Masters Online Program.

At the end of the challenge, the College of Law Juris Masters Online Program was awarded a Gold certification. The College of Law Dean’s Office, Admissions Office, Career Services Office, and Office of Development & Alumni Affairs earned Garnet certifications. Finally, the College of Law Registrar’s Office earned a Green certification. 

Debra Henley, Associate Dean for Career Services and Professional Development, believed the Green Office certification process was very helpful for her department.

“I think Sustainable Campus has really opened our eyes to other things we can be doing that we may not have thought of, as well as other programs and resources,” said Henley. 

To learn more about the Green Office Program, visit