Behavior-change Programs

At Colgate, we recognize that behavior change can be the most cost-effective way to advance sustainability on campus while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.  If every employee and student considered sustainability when making daily decisions, then progress would occur in pervasive and substantial ways.  Moreover, with no large capital costs and few technological barriers to overcome, behavior-change programs and their impacts can be implemented immediately and serve as a gateway to community engagement and achievement of longer-term goals.  Quantifying resource conservation, energy reduction, and carbon emissions associated with behavior-change programs is difficult. For this reason, we erred on the side of caution and used conservative estimates for each of our behavior-change projects.

Current Practices and Recent Accomplishments
Over the past few years, the Colgate community has made great strides in raising its knowledge, awareness, and practice of campus sustainability.  Colgate’s Campus Ecology Group, established in 1997, is the university’s longest standing environmental sustainability committee. Today, the Campus Ecology Group serves as a clearinghouse of information, a sounding board for new ideas, and a platform for project updates helping to keep campus sustainability objectives alive throughout the academic year.  Other committees such as Colgate’s Sustainability Council and the Climate Action Plan Subcommittees involve dozens of faculty, staff, and students in the planning process of creating a culture of sustainability at Colgate.  Annual events such as the Green Summit, 13 Days of Green, National Teach-in, PowerShift, Focus the Nation, Earth Day, Colgate's Eco-Olympics, the Green Careers Forum, and RecycleMania cast a wide net involving hundreds of students on campus.  With over 10 student groups (representing over 100 students) dedicated to sustainability, an informational website, social media, a sustainability pledge, and the Green Office Program, the awareness of campus sustainability is greater now than at any point in Colgate’s history.

4.1.1 Green Office Program
Created in 2009 by a group of faculty and staff, the Green Office Program  is intended to foster sustainable behavior in the workplace by providing educational resources, generating excitement, and raising awareness around issues of sustainability in the work environment.  At the heart of the Green Office Program is a checklist of green practices that if implemented would reduce Colgate’s ecological and carbon footprints. 

By 2015, we hope to certify 40 offices influencing the behavior of 240 individuals or 25 percent of Colgate’s employees.

Metrics and Timeline:
Register and certify 10 green offices per year for a total of 40 offices or 240 employees by the end of Fiscal Year 2015.

Recommended Action:
Reach out to administrative assistants and other employees through workshops and office meetings to introduce the Green Office Program and encourage teams to sign up.
Continue exploring creative ways to encourage participation.
Continue publishing monthly “Green Tip of the Month” information sheet.

Green Office Program financial analysis and cost savings per MTeCO2 reduced between FY 2012 and FY 2015.

4.1.2 Green Living Program
Created by student interns and volunteers in collaboration with the Sustainability Office, the Green Living Program  is intended to foster sustainable behavior among Colgate's residential students.  By implementing a series of green practices, students can promote environmentally-friendly behaviors that ultimately reduce Colgate’s ecological and carbon footprints.  Also at the heart of the Green Living Program are annual energy/water saving and recycling competitions such as the Eco-Olympics and RecycleMania respectively.  These annual competitions are made possible by utilizing an online building dashboard that tracks real-time energy use in first and second year housing.  Together, these programs promote green living on the Colgate campus.

By 2015, we hope to influence the behavior of nearly 2,000 residential students or over 70 percent of Colgate’s student body.

Metrics and Timeline:
  • FY 2012: Student intern helps to develop educational program and overall plan. 
  • FY 2013: Implement the Green Living Program in first-year housing (Andrews, Curtis, East, Gate House, Stillman, and West).  Install building dashboard energy monitoring system in first-year housing.
  • FY 2014: Implement the Green Living Program in second-year housing (Bryan Complex, Cutten Complex, and Drake).  Install building dashboard energy monitoring system in second-year housing.
  • FY 2015: Implement the Green Living Program in junior and senior housing (Newell, Parker, University Court, and Townhouses).

Recommended Action:
  • Establish Eco-Rep training program that facilitates student ambassadors for sustainability on campus.
  • Hire student interns to help research, promote, and implement programs in specific living areas.
  • Install building dashboard energy monitoring system in first-year housing in FY 2013 and in second-year housing in 2014.
  • Establish Eco-Olympics and RecycleMania as annual spring semester events with broad awareness and participation. 
Green Living Program financial analysis between FY 2012 and FY 2015.

4.1.3 Green Events: Waste Minimization and Recycling
Campus events provide a great opportunity to introduce and engage community members to the principles and practices of sustainability.  Some events such as Reunion, Convocation, graduation, home athletic events, lectures, and ceremonies attract hundreds and sometimes thousands of participants.  Promoting green practices during these events can result in significant reductions in landfill waste, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Current practices and recent accomplishments: 
  • A number of campus organizers are taking measures to reduce waste and promote sustainability at their events.  A few recent examples include:
  • Environmental Studies Brown Bag Lunch Series which serves local and organic foods and eliminates waste through composting and recycling.
  • Sporting events such as home football and hockey games now include recycling bins.  Student environmentalists promote recycling by attending games and encouraging tailgaters and fans to recycle. 
  • The annual Tu B'shvat celebration at the Sapperstein Jewish Center composts all food waste and eliminates most disposable items. 
  • Faculty Sustainability Tunk which serves local and local/organic foods.
  • Students of Environmental Action (SEA) host an annual local-foods dinner.
  • Reunion incorporates local food options, composting, recycling, biodegradable/compostable dinnerware, carpooling, energy savings, and offset options into each year’s Reunion College.
By 2015, all campus events strive to achieve zero waste through careful planning, recycling, and composting.  Organizers will incorporate other green practices such as serving local and/or organic foods when possible, carbon offsetting, and utilizing environmentally friendly products.  The table below highlights green practices that event organizers should consider when planning for and hosting an event. 

Basic options for incorporating green practices into all campus events.

Metrics and Timeline:
By 2012, all campus events include conveniently placed and highly visible recycling containers. In 2012, composting at events continues at Reunion 2012 and other select campus events.  This program is expanded annually to include other venues around campus.

Recommended Action:
  • Organizers plan for zero-waste (or near zero-waste) events where disposable, one-time use items are avoided.
  • Provide recycling bins and clear signage as part of the standard setup for all campus events.
  • Compost food items at select campus events. Expand this program yearly for four years.
Green event planning financial analysis between FY 2012 and FY 2015.

4.1.4 Employee Training and New Employee Orientation
Working with staff and introducing new employees to the goals, practices, and concepts of sustainability at Colgate is an ideal way to encourage sustainable behavior on campus.   This initiative looks to create workshops and educational material that introduces and engages new employees to our sustainability program.

Current practices and recent accomplishments: 
Human Resources has been working with the Sustainability Office to introduce staff to the sustainability goals and practices at Colgate.  The Sustainability Office contributes regular articles in the monthly faculty and staff newsletter, The Open 'Gate.  The Sustainability Office also runs periodic workshops introducing individuals to the Green Office Program and encouraging participation.  Additionally, the Sustainability Coordinator introduces sustainability to new employees during new employee orientation.  This is all done in a manner to promote better business practices that advance sustainability in the workplace.

By 2013, the Sustainability Office runs a series of annual workshops along two main tracks: 1) Green Office Program Orientation Workshops and 2) Introduction to Sustainability Seminars for staff that explores the concept of sustainability, local food issues, climate change, green cleaning, transportation, and others.   

Metrics and Timeline:
  • By 2013, the Sustainability Office reaches each new employee offering guidance and educational opportunities to learn about Colgate's sustainability program and values.
  • Starting in 2013, the Sustainability Office launches its seminar series in sustainability with the goal of having at least 10 employees registered.

Recommended Action:
  • The Sustainability Office continues offering Green Office Orientation Workshops and new employee orientation presentations. 
  • Starting in 2012, the Sustainability Office runs at least three Green Office Orientation Workshops annually. 
  • By 2013, the Sustainability Office creates and begins hosting Introduction to Sustainability Seminars.

4.1.5 Sustainability in the First-Year Experience
A Colgate student’s first semester on campus is the ideal time to introduce him or her to the principals and practices of sustainability.   This initiative looks to create workshops and educational material that introduces and engages new students to our sustainability program.

Current practices and recent accomplishments: 
Over the past few years, the Sustainability Office has partnered with Green Summit students, the Dean of First-Year Students, Residential Living, and the LOFT program to raise awareness, inspire, and empower students early in their Colgate experience to embrace sustainability goals and practices.
In a partnership between the Sustainability Office and Dean of First-Year Student, Colgate provides reusable tote bags that highlighted our green initiatives on campus and introduced students to the value of avoiding plastic bags.
The Sustainability Office and Green Summit students work with the Links and Residential Advisors during their training programs to promote the practice of recycling and sustainability in their residence halls.
The Sustainability Office provides a sustainability flyer that is placed in student’s orientation packet.
Leadership Options for Tomorrow (LOFT) is a program designed for first-year students who are coming to college with some basic leadership training and are planning to assume leadership positions at Colgate.  The Sustainability Office offers a leadership track that introduces students to sustainability at Colgate while exploring ways that LOFT students can be environmental leaders on campus.

By 2013, sustainability plays a salient role in the First-Year experience by offering green practices at various orientation events and by offering workshops and presentations during the first weeks of the new academic year.

Metrics and Timeline:
  • Reusable tote bags are offered to each incoming student annually. 
  • Every incoming student receives an introduction to sustainability flyer in their orientation material that also highlights ways individuals can get involved. 
  • The Sustainability Office continues to work with students to develop Link and RA training materials. 
  • The Sustainability Office continues to provide a LOFT track that further develops student leaders in sustainability.
Recommended Action:
  • The Sustainability Office continues to work with the Dean of First-Year Students and the Director of Residential Living to explore options to increase the presence of sustainability in the first-year experience. 
  • The Sustainability Coordinator continues to work with student interns and staff to offer and improve orientation and training materials that impact first-year students.

4.1.6 Campus Sustainability Awards
Host an annual awards ceremony to celebrate outstanding individual or group achievements in sustainability.  These awards can be incorporated into the annual Green Summit or as part of a more formal awards ceremony on campus.    

Beginning in 2011, we will acknowledge campus leaders in sustainability and turn this into an annual event. 

Recommended Action:
Develop criteria and venue for awards.