Sustainable Practices - Departments
September 2013 Featured Department: Professional and Organizational Development & Diversity Office
Professional and Organizational Development &
Diversity Office employees Roxanne Watson and Donna Koechig
accepting the Green Office Certificate
Lane's Professional and Organizational Development & Diversity Office (POD/Diversity) is comprised of two passionate and hardworking folks - Donna Koechig and Roxanne Watson – along with a work study student worker. Donna and Roxanne are the organizers of important Lane all-staff events such as the Fall In-service, Spring Conference, and the Aspiring Leaders Program. They also provide resources, coordination, and leadership to support Lane's diversity core value. POD/Diversity recently became the third department to receive the Green Office Certification with 23 out of 25 points!
POD/Diversity's practices that contributed to their Green Office Certification include:
- Turning off lights when a room is not in use and when daylighting is sufficient.
- Minimizing appliances and electronics and ensuring they are turned off at the end of the day.
- Using only rechargeable batteries.
- Using tap water and washable drinking containers and not supplying cups or bottled water. This practice extends beyond POD/Diversity's office practices and into the events and trainings that they organize.
- Decreasing paper use by printing double-sided and using an electronic filing system. One of POD's huge paper saving initiatives was to move from printing handouts for all staff at Lane's Fall In-service and Spring Conference events to publishing materials on the web.
Sustainability in purchasing is a place in which POD/Diversity really shines. POD has been working to include more organic, local, and healthy food and beverage options at Fall In-service, Spring Conference, Aspiring Leaders retreats, and staff trainings. Staff is reminded and encouraged to bring their own beverage containers. They have also made an effort towards using more reusables, fewer disposables, and ensuring that disposable items are composted and/or recycled. In addition, POD has moved toward purchasing more eco-friendly awards for the Employee Recognition Gala in several ways: all dollars spent remain in the local community, engraved retirement and years-of-service awards are crafted from recycled glass, and retiree bricks for the Wall of Honor are now made by a small, local cottage industry company.
Diversity is also an essential component of sustainability and the work of the Diversity Office is closely linked to the work of the Institute for Sustainable Practices. Sustainability is often thought of as environmental conservation, but it also encompasses aspects of social justice and economic sustainability. Sustainability grew out of the environmental movement, but it is an evolution from thinking just about ecological preservation to realizing that people who do not live in a peaceful, just, and economically stable society - people who have a daily struggle for food, clean water, and health care - will not have the time or energy to think about "the environment" and will likely use ecologically destructive practices, if they must, to survive. Therefore, the Diversity Office's efforts to pursue social justice are also in support of sustainability at Lane.