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10 Ways CU Denver’s School of Education Went Green and Saved Money at the Same Time

Get Green is an incentive program designed by a dedicated mix of staff and faculty at the CU Denver's School of Education & Human Development who are determined to educate and encourage faculty, staff and students to adopt greener habits. Get Green launched in August 2010 with the program "v1.0 Reducing our footPRINT" that focused on the School's use of paper, printers and copiers. From August 2010 to May 2011, the School's faculty and staff reduced copying and printing by 35% which resulted in a savings of more than $20,000. These savings included reductions in paper, toner, copy machine use and printing ordered from outside vendors. But the most significant results of the program were the habits and processes that changed to benefit the School and the environment.

Words of wisdom from the Green Team:

1. Make it a fun, positive contest. Academic programs and units competed monthly to be the biggest reducer. Data was gathered each month using printer logins and copy codes. The number of pages consumed was compared to that program/unit's consumption from the previous budget year for the same month.

2. Help participants think about the environmental significance of their actions. Most people want to go green. Some just need a reason (like a contest) to start better habits.

3. Keep people engaged on a regular basis. Trivia contests, raffles and regular e-mails with tips keep people active in the process.

4. Get participants to think before they print. Members of the Green Team attended academic program faculty meetings and staff meetings, engaging everyone in conversations about the effort.

5. Get people to print in duplex. Before the initiative started, only 15 percent of materials were printed in duplex. Now, a year later, 32 percent of print projects are double-sided.

6. Support people who need help with the technology. The School's technology team was in full support of the effort and helped everyone make better use of the paper-saving technology available to them.

7. Make the RTP (retention, ten-year, promotion) process for faculty electronic. One Green Team member advocated for changing a paper-intensive process into a more electronically-streamlined practice.

8. Track progress on a Get Green website. The Green Team created a website where faculty and staff could find resources, see results and ask for help.

9. Award prizes on a monthly and annual basis. The most popular prizes were lunches for the units who had the biggest reduction in their copying/printing in a given month. Other prizes included Starbucks gift certificates, gardening gloves and plants.

10. Celebrate year-end results! An end-of-the-budget-year Green Team party drew over 75 participants and encouraged everyone to keep up the good habits!

There you have it! The Green Team is open to new ideas and is preparing to launch a new initiative for the School of Education in August 2011.

For more information on how you can start a Green Team for your School/College, please contact Allison Rehor, or at 303-315-4921.​


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