Author: Aimee LaBrie
As part of Penn’s initiative to create a more sustainable community at the grass-roots level (i.e. on campus, among students, faculty, and staff), the members of Sweeten Alumni House have entered into a little friendly competition to see which team can be the greenest.
To that end, our Green Team leader, Liz Pinnie, created the Gold Star Challenge. This challenge requires staff to make small changes in their day-to-day life that can lead to longer term commitment and have a real impact on the environment.
We even now have our own bulletin board to track how everyone is doing.There will be gold stars, which excites many of us here (we are largely a Type-A group).
From May 29 to June 28, we’ll be competing in the three following categories:
1. Transportation: Getting to Work. Staff are encouraged to start car pooling with friends, take public transportation to work instead of driving, or to either ride a bike or walk to work instead of consuming fuel. On Friday, I used this particular challenge as an excuse to buy a new pair of walking shoes.
2. Waste: Re-usable Mugs. This challenge definitely applies to me. Every morning, I buy coffee at the Penn bookstore, meaning that I go through about 5 paper cups a week. If only I could do multiplication, I could give you exact figures on usage, but it’s a lot. This weekend, I bought a handy travel mug, only $4.99 from Acme. I used it for the first time today. Please also note in this photo that I am recycling my pennies in the piggy bank.
3. Energy: Powering Down. Some of us in Sweeten (though I won’t name names, LW) almost never turn off our computers. I have been diligent about doing this for the most part, but learned recently that if you really want to power off, you should shut down the power strip connected to your computer and printer. I did consider putting in a photo of the power strip under my desk, but decided that a cat would be cuter and for some, more interesting. His name is Ernesto, and he’s big on recycling his fur into artistically rendered hairballs.
Faculty and staff can learn more from the Penn Eco-Rep’s Green Partnership Campus website, but you don’t have to be an employee to take part in the University’s efforts to create a greener world. Go here for more information about how you can start making changes both great and small today for a greener tomorrow.