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New program helps green up office practices

June 9, 2011

Are you wishing your department here at Chapman University could be a little greener?

Justin Koppelman with a few of the quick and easy ways to get green points for your department -- live plants, city recycling guide posted by the trash and an easy-to-find recycle bin.

The new Green Department Certification Program, developed by Student Civic Engagement, is ready to help with that. The program guides department managers through an evaluation of numerous practices, from double-sided printing to the proper use of recycle bins.

It’s designed to recognize what people are already doing well and challenge them to take it up a notch. Chances are there are live plants in the office — points already in your favor. Boost your efforts by switching to vegetable-based ink and the points pour in. Then an online calculator totes it all up. When you’re done – even if your department comes in a little low on the green scale – all efforts are recognized with a web logo indicating your department’s level of achievement.

“I think it’s important to recognize the little efforts so people will be empowered to do more,” said Justin Koppelman, program coordinator for student civic engagement.

Koppelman fashioned the program after those used at Pomona College and University of California, Santa Barbara, and has been invited to share it with other colleges and universities at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference in July at California State University, Long Beach.

To participate in Chapman’s program, visit the website and fill out the participation form to start the process. The online calculator is there, too, but don’t worry if it looks a little intimidating. A student trained in the program will be assigned to walk you through the process, which can be completed relatively leisurely over the course of a semester. Students also carry out the grubby part of the evaluation – a bit-by-bit look at the department’s trash and recycle bin use to make sure everyone’s on board and getting it right. So take the summer to start practicing. Those pizza boxes are recyclable!

For more information, contact Koppelman at

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