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Friday, September 18, 2020

Campus

Student Centers awarded Gold Green Office certification


Student Center North and South were awarded Gold Green Office certification by the Office of Sustainability. | File Photo/The Cougar

Student Center North and South were awarded Gold Green Office certification by the Office of Sustainability. | File Photo/The Cougar

The Student Centers were the first UH buildings to be awarded the Gold Green Office Certification in January from the Office of Sustainability.

Through this system, offices are challenged to complete tasks to make a building more sustainable. It includes things such as encouraging employees to bring reusable mugs to work, use natural lighting when possible and appointing a sustainability champion.

“It’s the little things to help reduce our carbon footprint,” said Student Center Program Manager and Chair of Sustainability Committee Andrea Trevino. “It’s important for folks around us to be a part of an initiative.”

Trevino said that everyone in an office needs to be invested in a sustainability program in order to make progress toward a more environmentally friendly workplace.

Silver certifications were awarded to the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life as well as University Career services. Campus Recreation and Cullen Performance Hall were awarded bronze certification.

Trevino said the Student Center offices started from a simple task and built their way up.

Trevino started off by encouraging the use of recycled paper and bringing reusable cups to work, but the biggest project for the Sustainability Committee is to spread education on how to be a more sustainable campus. 

Increasing education on sustainability will help get more students involved, Trevino said. The Student Center is also hoping that this momentum will help get the platinum certification by the end of the year.

“They’re above and beyond service than what’s in the checklist,” said Sustainability Coordinator Gabriel Durnham. “There’s a clear devotion in office culture.”

Durnham said what put the Student Centers up to achieve gold status were the projects that weren’t listed on the checklist. Having their own sustainability committee and a whole section of their webpage dedicated to sustainability were only a few of the initiatives that stood out when determining the status of certification.

The Green Office Certification program is “slowly gaining its ground” with it being only two months old, according to Durnham.

With Houston being the most bio-diverse city in the world, according to Durnham, and the University of Houston holding Gold status with the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System, it is a mission to move forward to a sustainable campus for the Office of Sustainability and Student Centers alike, Durnham said.

“It’s recycle, reuse, renew versus actually thinking about it holistically,” Trevino said. “The meetings we hold are meant to get like-minded individuals coming to the table and walking away with something they can take back to their offices.”

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