Facilities is one of the largest departments at Georgia Tech, with 570 employees. They have achieved national acclaim through their innovative green cleaning solutions that lessens their environmental impact. Knowing that this is a huge department that is already on the cutting edge of green methods, we were excited to support their Work Green Mini-Grant project. Work Green champions Wendy Welker and Lynne Bentley created an educational series for facilities employees to attend to learn more about various topics relating to sustainability.
When asked how they chose what programs to offer, Wendy and Lynne shared that they chose topics they thought their staff would enjoy—how to shop a farmer’s market, urban organic gardening, and canning. Presenters are brought in, and Wendy and Lynne publicize the meeting to their staff. Attendance and feedback from both their fellow staff and other departments has been positive. These sessions provide a way to keep sustainability in mind.
Participating in sustainability is important to Facilities, as they consider sustainability to be a natural partner to their department. Wendy says that as a department, "pairing (sustainability) with how we live in our workspace is easy, and we want to be the example and encourage the rest of campus to go this way." They have already won awards and certifications for their sustainable efforts. Facilities is also directly impacted by other department’s involvement in sustainable efforts, such as the AWARE program. Participating in the Work Green program was a natural fit—Wendy and Lynne want how they live in their workplace to reflect their commitment to sustainability. As Wendy and Lynne said, to build up a sustainably conscious environment is to complete many small tasks. These small tasks, such as participating in AWARE, practicing self-governance to always turn off the lights, and to as a department provide encouragement and making information readily available, are all small ways that make a big impact on sustainability.