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Amy Allen
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Thursday, October 6, 2011

Environmental Health and Safety Management Green Team first at IU to receive Tree Certification

Oct. 6, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Green Team is the first on the Indiana University Bloomington campus to earn Tree Certification, the fourth and highest level of certification through the IU Office of Sustainability's Green Team Certification Program.

The EHS Green Team formed in September 2010 and, with the department's professional focus on environmental health and safety, quickly became a campus leader in green team certification.

EHS Green Team

The EHS Green Team includes: back row, from left, Graham McKeen, April Karr and Megan Utley; front row, from left, Carole Baynes, Patricia Moser, Shonna McCracken and Alex Bohorquez. Not pictured is Michael Dorsett.

Print-Quality Photo

To earn Tree Certification, the team met 75 criteria in seven categories including education and outreach, resource use, recycling, sustainable computing, energy and built environment, transportation, and food. At the Tree level, a number of these requirements include collaborative efforts with other teams; implementing sustainable practices, materials, and products; and reaching out to both the IU and Bloomington community.

"EHS has shown that campus sustainability is not a spectator sport," said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability. "Green teams allow anyone to get in the game in their own department or building and lead the way. We hope that the EHS success story is one many other green teams will follow."

EHS started a composting program, committed to using 50 percent recycled paper, instituted a conservation program to monitor energy and other utility usage and replaced the previous departmental vehicle with a hybrid model. Green team members also conducted a Green Lunch event, attended a green team initiative meeting and volunteered during the Arbor Day tree planting.

When asked what motivated them to complete their certifications so quickly, team members said that, as environmental health and safety professionals, they are committed to environmentally sound and sustainable practices both in their professional and personal lives, so it just seemed intuitive.

Each department faces its own challenges when working to achieve certification. EHS initially faced funding constraints and pushback from co-workers who were hesitant to change behavior and office policies.

"It seemed that some objectives would not be attainable, but once we provided our management with well-researched information we were able to implement the objectives successfully," said Patty Moser, EHS industrial hygienist. "In addition, there were some objectives that did not directly apply to our department because we are not a traditional academic department, so rather than not do them, we decided to institute other sustainable alternate projects to amend our efforts."

What is next for EHS? According to Moser, "EHS plans to continue to implement measures to be a sustainable department and work with the Office of Sustainability and the various working groups to make IU a sustainable university.

The Green Teams Program was implemented in the fall of 2009 as a way for students, faculty, and staff to collectively promote environmentally, socially, and economically friendly practices within their offices and buildings. It is modeled after the priorities outlined by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), of which Indiana University is a charter member.

Now in its third year, the program consists of 29 teams that assist in making the IU campus a more sustainable institution. Certification for green teams, developed in accordance with AASHE guidelines, includes three levels: Seed, Sprout, Sapling and Tree.

For more information about the Green Teams Program visit For weekly updates on the Green Team Certification Program, green tips and more, visit the Green Teams blog at Information about the IU Office of Sustainability and its programs can be found at