Green Office News

The Green Office now has monthly updates during the school year -- part of the Sustainability Office newsletter. Check out new information on the program, interviews and highlights with offices and green champions, as well as articles and resources about how to be a more green office!

    June 2020

  • With this year coming to an end we wanted to recap some of the accomplishments we’ve made. During fall and winter quarter we certified seven offices, reaching 174 program participants. In addition, we had two sustainability workshops during winter and spring quarter respectively and we wanted to thank everyone who participated! Lastly, we have just concluded our Home Office Assessment challenge with over twenty people certifying their home offices and reporting their scores! Thank you all for being understanding during this uncertain time and participating in our challenge. Next year, be on the lookout for more future engagement opportunities similar to the Home Office Assessment Challenge!


  • May 2020

  • The Green Office Program has some exciting news! 

    Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been working on ways to provide helpful tools for everyone to make their home office more sustainable. We have made updates to our website to include a resource page for home offices and as of May 5th, we have launched our Home Office Assessment Challenge! This challenge brings our Green Office Certification into your homes and allows you to assess your remote office’s sustainability yourself. In addition, we want to provide some tips to get you started on making your home workspace sustainable, which are provided below. We hope you enjoy creating a home workplace that is productive and environmentally friendly! 


    Tips for creating a more environmentally sustainable home office:


    Waste:

    1. Try to buy office supplies with minimal packaging when possible. 
    2. Purchase paper products that are made with post consumer waste.
    3. If using pens or pencils, buy refillable ones.
    4. Go paperless by using Docusign and digital invoicing, emailing instead of printing forms, and taking digital notes when possible. 
    5. Print double sided when printing is necessary.
    6. Try to buy items with minimal packaging at the grocery store.
      1. Paper grocery bags can be reused as liners for recycling or compost bins, as wrapping paper, or as a weed blocker.
      2. Reuse plastic bags as trash bags for smaller bins, to wrap sandwiches and snacks, or as dog walking waste bags. Remember that bagged plastic bags can be recycled!
      3. Reuse plastic food containers as tupperware, for arts and crafts, or as pots for planting. 

    Water:

    1. Do not use disposable plastic bottles, drink from the tap or use a water filter.
    2. Shorten showers - if you want to challenge yourself, strive for 5! (minutes)
    3. Adjust your water heater temperature to 115-120 degrees fahrenheit.

    Energy:

    1. Open shades to make use of natural lighting and improve your mental health
    2. Use smart power strips at home for all appliances, and shut off strips when not in use.
    3. Enable eco mode if possible on appliances and turn computers, printers, and other appliances off at night.
    4. Need to replace a lightbulb? Consider buying a UC discounted LED bulb.
    5. Open windows for better airflow and to cool down rooms.
    6. Utilize California's amazing solar photovoltaic resources by doing your laundry between 8am and 4pm. Learn more about California's Duck Curve.
    7. Only charge devices when they are at low power and unplug them when they reach full charge.

    Personal Sustainability: 

    1. Add plants to your workspace.
    2. Use reused materials when creating storage or decorating your workspace.
    3. Take walks in between work tasks to get blood and oxygen flowing. 
    4. Meal prep to help save time cooking during the week, decrease trips to the grocery store, and minimize food waste.

    Carbon Footprint:

    1. Shop local when possible. 
    2. Don’t drive when you don’t need to - try biking or walking instead. 
    3. Reduce your meat intake (particularly red meat) as much as you can.  

  • April 2020

  • Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Green Office Team will not be conducting Green Office Certifications through the remote learning period. Instead, we will be providing online resources and tips on how to make your home office more environmentally friendly. More information will be provided soon and we thank you for your patience as we find alternative methods of assisting you. We want to prioritize everyone’s safety and hope everyone is staying healthy.

  • March 2020

  • For the Green Office Team the month of February has been a breather month. We are in the process of certifying 4 offices, and are training our two new members. 

    In the beginning of this month we finished certifying the Stevenson College Office and they answered a few questions about their experience. They briefly summarized that they are happy with the rigid process that the GOC program reps take to vet the client offices; and truly gauge where they are in terms of potential for "sustainable" operations. The post-assessment plan that you create for the client office is realistic and achievable; and promoting efforts to start with low-hanging fruit has been effective in inspiring us to take our efforts further. We love the GOC rep who has guided along the way; very friendly and informed on the consequences of inaction”. The Stevenson Office was certified as a sprout with lots of room to grow! They have also already made changes in their office such as having a compost bin in their kitchen, shutting off power strips and embracing the smart strip, and using natural light whenever possible. A unique step they have taken is adding a SLACK channel to encourage employees to post about their green practices.

    We are also going to be hosting another Green Office workshop with the Sustainability Certificate program in the upcoming quarter, dates are TBA. 


  • February 2020

  • Sustainability Certificate Workshop

    We have successfully hosted our first Sustainability Certificate Program workshop about green office practices. It has been confirmed that this workshop will also be offered again in spring quarter. We will be announcing the date soon so keep an eye on the newsletter as well as the Sustainability Certificate Program webpage!
  • New Team Members!

    We are also happy to announce that the Green Team has grown to 4 members! We have hired Bonnie Feldberg and Elaina “Ellie” Vendegna. 

    Ellie Vendegna: I am a second year envs major. I'm excited to start working for the Green Office Team because I want to help make UCSC more environmentally friendly and a fun fact about me is orcas are my favorite animal. 

    Bonnie Feldberg: I’m a fourth-year Environmental Studies and Community Studies double major. I love cooking and reading and am looking forward to spending my last couple of quarters here working to make offices at UCSC more environmentally sustainable.

  • Recent Certifications

    We also Certified Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Earth and Planetary Sciences Office last quarter. They both have answered a few questions about their experience: 


    Astronomy and Astrophysics Department

    The Astronomy and Astrophysics Department was awarded the level of Sprout , to which they added that they have so much room to grow. When asked what steps is the office is taking to make their office a more sustainable environment, they said that “There was a large amount of recyclable paper waste in our trash so we encouraged people to place recycling bins in their office to collect it. After new signage is provided we would like to make maps specific to ISB, CFAO, and Nat Sci so people can easily locate different bins.” 

    The office is also exploring other ways to reduce and use compostable waste since there are no bins of that type in the Science Hill area and say that “suggestions are welcome”. 

    They said that “The process [of getting certified] was eye opening and exposed our team to the variety of issues our campus must face to create a more sustainable environment.  We were impressed with the work the Sustainability Office has done campus-wide. There were some metrics that did not fully capture the extent of our department's impact (not including air travel in transportation) and our score could have been worse.” We thank the Department of Astronomy for their time, efforts and future endeavors in sustainability!


    Earth and Planetary Sciences Department

    The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department Office has also been recently certified and received the certification level of Sapling. Amy Kornberg, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Dept. Assistant said that their office is “actively reducing the amount of waste” that the office produces and found the certification process to be informative. We thank the office for their involvement and efforts to become more sustainable and conscious of their environmental impacts. 


  • December 2019

  • Sustainability Certificate Workshop

    The Green Office Team is happy to announce that we will be hosting a sustainability workshop through the Sustainability Certificate Program. This workshop will focus on tools, tips and resources to empower offices to be more sustainable. There will be activities, discussions, and materials for people to use in their offices. The workshop will take place on January 15th, 2020. While spots are full for this year, ask around your office to see if your coworkers will be participating, they will be your new green office ambassadors! 
  • Green Office Associate Position

    The Green Office is looking for a new Green Office Associate. This position will ensure the ongoing success of the Green Office Team housed within the Sustainability Office. The student employee will be part of a student team that helps university staff and faculty implement sustainable practices at work. Part of this role also includes working with the Green Office Team to co-lead workshops and programs that provide resources and education for staff. More information on this page.

  • November 2019

  • November 2019We are excited to announce that we’re expanding our focus to provide education and resources to employees outside of the formal Green Office Certification Program. Our team name will now be “Green Office Team” to reflect this change. We will continue to offer a formal Certification for those who are interested, and have made overall program improvements to the Certification Process. This includes updates to our calculator and streamlining of the assessment process. Our goal is to both reach more offices across campus and provide greater breadth and depth of information.

  • Art Department gets Recertified!

  • We had the pleasure of certifying the UCSC Art Department again this past September. They did the recertification and reached our Tree level meaning that they are at the top tier of sustainability. We also sat down recently for an interview where they decribed their experience as “The Green Office Program is an excellent way to have offices at UCSC think about their impact on the environment and make improvements to their practices and habits that will benefit the environment. The process of getting certified by the wonderful green office staff is actually fun and informative. We recommend all offices on campus to participate.” Their studios have also been certified by our sister program the Green Labs Program (Insert link to green labs site). Overall, the Art department is a true green office that we are happy to have encouraged a sustainable environment. They concluded their interview with, “We are proud to show off our Tree level status and hope to inspire other units across campus to engage in the Green Office certification and work proactively to have less of a negative impact on our fragile environment”.