The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

New sustainability program promotes green office environment

Photo by Luca Ferrucci for The Lafayette
The Sustainable Office Program is part of the college’s commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2035.

This fall, the Office of Sustainability is pioneering the Sustainable Office Program, a voluntary, self-guided initiative focused on incorporating sustainable practices into the workplace. Faculty and staff offices on campus will soon be able to partake in the program.

In order to participate, offices must fill out a baseline survey and checklist to identify goals. These goals include waste reduction, recycling and purchasing sustainable goods. Each office will also appoint a sustainability ambassador who will work with the Office of Sustainability to assess areas of improvement and field recommendations.

“Based on the scores offices get from the checklist, they get certification as bronze, silver, platinum or gold,” Analise Draghi ‘25, a student employee of the sustainability office, said.

Draghi helped spearhead the program under Samantha Smith, the Office of Sustainability’s outreach and engagement manager.

Currently, there are three pilot offices enrolled in the program: Gateway Career Center, Recreation Services and the Office of Human Resources. Over the summer, Draghi worked to finalize the program and establish the checklist criteria while in correspondence with the offices.

The Office of Sustainability staff plans to present each of the three offices with an official certification in the next few weeks.

The offices have already made significant strides in reducing their day-to-day environmental impact.

“Gateway entered this process with a desire to discover ways that we can improve our sustainability efforts, and identify the many things we already do well in this area,” Joshua Walker, a Gateway Career Center staff member who serves as its sustainability ambassador, wrote in an email. “The biggest initiative we took at the beginning of the summer was to implement a composting program which was adopted by every member of the team and has already diverted about ten gallons of food waste into compost.”

As one of the initial adopters of the Sustainability Office Program, Walker hopes to offer feedback and help refine the program for campus offices participating in the future.

Moving forward, the Office of Sustainability hopes that the Sustainability Office Program will establish campus-wide outreach. The three currently participating offices are a launch point for other departments on campus to join the program. Delicia Nahman, the sustainability director, expects that the initiative will have reached all offices on campus within the next five to seven years.

“We’re going to have to lean more so into an education campaign and tell folks how being in the program is great for their offices and tangibly advances our climate action commitment on campus,” Nahman said.

In 2019, the college announced its pledge to achieve 40 percent waste diversion from landfills by 2030, 60 percent waste diversion from landfills by 2035 and carbon neutrality by 2035. The Sustainability Office Program is an important step in helping Lafayette meet this goal.

“Everyone on campus each has a role to play when it comes to sustainability in the grand scheme of things,” Smith said. “I think that’s one of the really cool things about this program. It allows staff to take a closer look at what their job is and how their job can relate to sustainability.”

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Luca Ferrucci, Assistant Business Manager

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *