May 29, 2024

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

Picking up right where we left off last semester, the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” is back!  If you’re new to this series, the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” is a weekly article featuring different ideas and suggestions that hopefully people will put into practice in order to create more sustainable office environments.  And sometimes, we like to look outside of the office as well.

Did you know January is the most popular month for joining a gym?  We indulge a bit more than we wanted to during those last few weeks of December, and then come January 1st, we’re making plans to join a gym, go seven times a week, and lose 40lbs in a month.  Obviously very achievable goals.  We know that you have probably already started to see results, so maybe now is the time to think about donating all those clothes you no longer fit into/no longer wear.  It is estimated that the typical American discards approximately 68 pounds of used clothing a year, resulting in two quadrillion pounds of clothing being tossed into our landfills every year.  Therefore, in addition to donating to those in need, donating your used clothes or items to charities is one of the easiest ways to help the environment.  You can also deduct your contributions from your taxes as you would a monetary donation.  Furthermore, you can start the new year off right by clearing clutter from your house.  Before you know it Spring will be here — so get a jump on that annual Spring cleaning!  Here are just a few organizations that accept clothing donations:

  • American Red Cross  (collects clothes, paired shoes, handbags, linens, stuffed animals, small toys; will come to your home to collect any clean, wearable, unwanted clothing)
  • Vietnam Veterans of America (Pick Up Please can pick up your donation within 24 hours in many areas; your donation of clothes, household goods, books, shoes, small appliances, electronics, and more make a big difference in the lives of America’s Veterans and their families. The items you donate generate the majority of the funding to support the local, state, and national programs of the Vietnam Veterans of America)
  • The Salvation Army  (one of the more well known charitable organizations, you can go to their website to find a nearby location or schedule a pick-up)
  • Dress for Success (The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life)
  • Big Brother Big Sister Foundation (When you donate clothing and other items to the BBBS Foundation, the donations are sold in bulk at their own “Big B” thrift store and other stores. The net profits then go to BBBS mentoring organizations. During times of need, donations are given to families)

This article is not a means of officially endorsing any of the above organizations, but rather just giving the reader some suggestions of places to look into if you are considering donating clothes or other items to charity.  Of course, you can also donate locally — churches, thrift stores, homeless shelters, school clothing drives, etc.  Rappahannock Goodwill Industries contains a list of goodwill stores in the area that you can bring your items to donate.  The goal should simply be to DONATE your used clothes as opposed to throwing them out.  Help others, help yourself, and help the environment!  We know what you’re thinking (“But what if I gain weight back?  I may need those old clothes!”).  Don’t be such a pessimist!  We KNOW you’re going to keep that weight off, so it’s time to buy yourself some new threads and donate the old ones to charity!  And don’t forget — Faculty/Staff and Faculty/Staff secondary card holders (a spouse or partner) are eligible to use the UMW Fitness Center with a UMW ID Card.  Plan your work-outs around your work schedule and you’ll not only save money by avoiding high fitness center/gym fees, but you’ll also be helping out the environment by reducing the amount of car trips you make by going to another fitness center/gym.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

 

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.

Comments

  1. Practical application of sustainability at the local level

    The increasing regional interest in sustainability inspires me to share two unique and economical sustainability approaches that can leverage any regions existing capacity and can result in job creation within any economic region.

    I operate the US arm of the international non-profit – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). As I work to share GRI’s story, I realize there are tremendous opportunities to apply GRI reporting in a wide range of relevant areas of the economy.

    GRI is the most widely used international standard for measuring, managing and reporting on sustainability performance – in the world. Of the world’s largest companies, more than 80% apply the GRI Guidelines.

    Governments are also referencing GRI in national laws, stock exchanges are integrating GRI into listing guidance and institutions are weaving GRI into procurement policies. Even a growing number of federal, state and local governments are using GRI to guide them through the process of sustainability integration, measurement, management and communication.

    Below is just the beginning of what is happening between the academic and local communities around the US and is an excellent example of how sustainability can be practically applied within regions and in partnership with local university systems.

    Given your own interests in these issues, I thought you would want to know about these precedent setting examples for your own efforts and possibly apply a similar approach in your area.

    Unless we all measure, manage and report using a consistent method, we will will never really know where we stand amongst each other, or within the our regional, national or global limits. That is why using the GRI Framework is so important.

    UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH

    2010
    – MBA students produced a sustainability report for University of Massachusetts Dartmouth – the first by any university in the world – to meet an A level of compliance with a GRI standard – http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/01/universities-embrace-gri-sustainability-reporting/
    – Within weeks, one of the students was hired by EMC because of this experience.

    2011
    – Research coauthored with a student (answering a question inspired by our GRI reporting, see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1521745) got widely cited – http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2011/02/go-green-for-happy-employees.html
    – MBA students continued the annual reporting exercise, adding the most recent to the gold status Net Impact chapter website: http://netimpact.umassd.edu/gri-report/

    2012
    – Approached municipalities to offer them a free service (in exchange for allowing students the learning experience): the preparation of sustainability reports.
    – Fall River, MA becomes the first city in the United States to have a GRI report – and apparently the first city in the world to have a GRI report that qualifies as A level – http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/12/11/umass-dartmouth-compiles-first-gri-report-for-a-city/,http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121207/NEWS/212070342/-1/NEWS,http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x1922374505/UMass-Dartmouth-report-shows-Fall-River-making-sustainability-gains
    – Dartmouth, MA becomes the first town in the United States to have a GRI report – and apparently the first town in the world to have a GRI report that qualifies as A level.
    – It was UMass Dartmouth MBA students who prepared both the Fall River and Dartmouth “first-in-the-USA, first-in-the-world” GRI reports.

    BALL STATE UNIVERSITY

    Three GRI sustainability reports have been published at Ball State
    University. The reports were generated by faculty led student teams in
    immersive learning projects. These reports were the first to link the GRI
    framework to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in
    Higher Education STARS framework.
    2010 GRI/STARS Sustainability Report
    2011 GRI/STARS Sustainability Report
    2012 GRI/STARS Sustainability Report
    http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/centersandinstitutes/cote/sustainability/gri

    To facilitate the integration of GRI and STARS frameworks, a linking
    document is available.
    http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/centersandinstitutes/cote/sustainability/gri

    Ball State’s reporting experience is documented in “STARS and GRI: Tools for Campus Greening Strategies
    and Prioritizations” written by Gwendolen B. White and Robert J. Koester. The article appears in Sustainability: The Journal of Record,Vol. 5 No. 2 April 2012. It documents the Ball State reporting experience using both frameworks.
    http://online.liebertpub.com/toc/sus/5/2

    During the spring semester 2013, a faculty led immersive learning team is
    preparing a GRI sustainability report for the City of Bloomington,
    Indiana. This project involves the collaboration of Ball State University,
    Indiana University, Sustainability Dashboard Tools, Inc., and the City of
    Bloomington. The report will be completed in April 2013.

    CONTACTS & INVOLVEMENT

    – If you’d like to make contact with the professor responsible for the UMD Project – Adam Sulkowski – asulkowski@umassd.edu

    – If you’d like to make contact with the professor responsible for the Ball State Project contact Gwendolen B. White – gwhite@bsu.edu

    – If you’d like to join GRI’s North American Academic network of practitioners contact Beau Danne – cbd29@case.edu

    If GRI can help with your sustainability efforts, please let me know. As a global not-for-profit with an established a 501c3 here in the US, there are various ways we can help you with your efforts.

    In the spirit of sustainability – I hope we can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle – starting with GRI’s 15-year history and momentum in the field.

    All the best with you efforts and feel free to share this information widely.

    Mike Wallace
    Director
    Global Reporting Initiative – USA
    NY, NY

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