Green Campus Spotlight: Climate Champions take sustainable practices to the next level
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: May 3, 2016

The Campus Sustainability Office this month certified nine PSU departments as silver level Climate Champions, verifying that those departments support PSU’s sustainability and climate action goals in areas such as energy and water conservation, transportation, waste prevention, purchasing, and event planning. 

Silver Climate Champions meet at least 36 of the 50 criteria outlined in the Climate Champions survey. A total of 27 departments have applied to the Climate Champions program to date. In addition to the nine silver certified departments, nine other departments have received the bronze level certification. 

"It has been incredibly fulfilling working with different departments on campus to certify them as Climate Champions," said Ruby Buchholtz, conservation outreach specialist with the Campus Sustainability Office and a graduate student in environmental science. "The program has given me a great opportunity to help departments discover resources that they can utilize to reduce their energy and water demand and promote reuse throughout their departments." 

Read a few highlights from each of the Silver Climate Champs below. 

Office of the President

  • Collects dried out pens for recycling through Terracycle.
  • Arranges carpooling for staff for frequent trips to Salem.

Transportation & Parking Services

  • Promotional materials contain 50-100 percent post-consumer recycled content and display this percentage on the final product.
  • Telecommuting options, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing technologies are used when feasible instead of traveling (e.g., Skype, Google hangout, Facetime, Go to Meeting).

Bike Hub

Environmental Health & Safety

  • Implements a shutdown policy for evenings, weekends, and breaks.
  • Utilizes refillable pens and durable dishware in the break room.

School of Social Work

  • Assigns one staff member to be a water and light monitor that’s responsible for receiving information on plumbing malfunctions and water waste and alerting Facilities, and for dimming or turning off lights in shared spaces when adequate sunlight is available.
  • Registers a team in the PSU Bike Challenge (in May) and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance Bike Commute Challenge (in September).

Learning Center

  • Collects and reuses single sided prints from around campus for their tutors to use as scratch paper.
  • Uses an electronic filing system to save paper.

Student Sustainability Center

  • Hosts a seed library for the entire campus to use.
  • Ensures reuse of unneeded office equipment, office furniture, and office supplies by completing a work order for surplus or utilizing the Reuse Room in Cramer Hall 180.

University Honors College

  • Sends an email reminding staff to shut off electronics and lights before holidays and breaks.
  • Keeps promotional giveaways to a minimum and chooses reusable items that contain recycled or sustainable materials.

Institute for Sustainable Solutions 

  • Provides reusable dishtowels and durable dishware in shared kitchen, and refillable, low odor white board markers in all conference rooms.
  • Purchases 100 percent post-consumer recycled content printer paper that is locally produced in Camas, Washington.

These are just a few of the ways these departments are going above and beyond to make our campus more sustainable. Please see the Climate Champions webpage or email to learn more or participate in the program.