Become a part of URI’s Green Team program

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Small steps help lessen URI’s impact on environment

KINGSTON, R.I. – APRIL 21, 2014 – You want a better environment, but sometimes you feel helpless when oil spills mar our oceans or smog clouds our skies.

But if you are part of the University of Rhode Island, you can participate in a program that encourages small steps that can make a big difference—the Green Team Program.

It began two years ago when a campus community member sought out the Office of Sustainability to help her office become less wasteful and more conscious of paper and electricity use.

Marsha Garcia, the campus sustainability officer, said that as the world celebrates Earth Day Tuesday, it’s a good time to remind URI faculty and staff of the program.

“Any office, division or department can designate a green ambassador who encourages colleagues to make changes in their day-to-day operations,” Garcia said.

“The goal is to get your team to pledge to do better by printing less, or printing on both sides of the paper, shutting off computers or putting them in sleep mode when you are not in the office and eliminating bottled water,” she said.

Garcia said her office can help by providing reminder stickers and posters.

“Once you have a majority of your colleagues on your team, you can seek certification,” she said. “Our office comes out and conducts an audit to review how you are doing, and depending on how many points you earn on a rating system, you could be presented with a certificate signed by President (David M.) Dooley.”

So far, there are six active Green Teams across campus, but only two offices of the University are certified, the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) at the Graduate School of Oceanography, and the Campus Planning & Design/Business Services office. Garcia said the rate of participation should be much higher, and that becoming more sustainable is really just a matter of taking some simple steps and sticking with them. Garcia said personnel from her office would be glad to provide a brief overview to any University operation interested in getting started.

“ At URI, we are not all teachers, but we are all role models, and this is a great way to demonstrate to our students that we care about the campus and the future.”

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