Group shot of smiling office workers

Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic

One of UAlberta’s newest Green Spaces certified office is the Office of the Provost and the Vice-President Academic. Thanks to the initiative of Lindsay Baranowski, Financial Assistant andRose Huculak, Records Coordinator, they achieved the highest rating, Gold.

How did you learn about Green Spaces?

LB: We learned about it through Roger Epp, the new Vice-Provost (Academic), and we also get the email newsletter from the Office of Sustainability. But Roger, being so involved with sustainability, brought the Green Spaces program to the attention of our office. When asked if we wanted to take it on, the two of us foolishly volunteered.

What made you want to volunteer to lead this initiative?

RH: To gain more knowledge of what we can do as an office, and also to gain more awareness of things I can do myself, at home. A lot of things do go to waste, and I feel that we should give others the chance to use things that we no longer need here. For instance, I’ve always been involved with the Campus Food Bank. But when I got in touch with them for Green Spaces, I learned even more about what they can take so I’m able to send more things to them now.

LB: I think sustainability is really important. It’s an emerging issue we’re all going to have to deal with more and more. Green Spaces is an interesting way to get involved with that challenge. I try to engage in eco practices at home and in my personal life—why not help make it easier to do that around the office too?

Your office earned Green Spaces Gold (congratulations!). How did you achieve this rating?

RH: One day I went around – because there was no one in the office – I went to see how many actually turned their lights off and it was like 95 per cent! So that was an automatic point, because people were already doing it.

LB: We did make some changes. Our innovative action was to start this Green Spaces board. Here we post sustainability news, initiatives and things people can access like eco discounts on campus. We also got new recycling bins for our kitchen, which is great. We’ve even been looking into kitchen composting. A lot of these changes were easy things that you simply don’t do until you think about it.

RH: I take care of ordering all of the office supplies, so I try to recycle as much as I can when we’re done with things – like with binders, I try to reuse the binders, recycle the tabs… If they’re not too new, I’ll send them to the Campus Food Bank for reuse. I try to reuse as many supplies as I can around the office.

LB: Some things are simple, like we’re telling people to turn off their computer monitors at night, because we realize that people forget about that. And then you realize, my gosh what an easy practice.

On a personal level, why is it important to you to take action on sustainability?

LB: I think we all have people we care about in upcoming generations that we want to see have a planet in the future.

RH: We have to save our earth! It’s getting polluted enough. Like we were discussing before, things like electronics just get thrown out. It’s such a waste to me. The more we recycle and reuse, the better the chance that the planet might be here when our great-grandchildren are around.

How can others get involved with campus sustainability?

LB: I recommend people just go through the Green Spaces checklist. See how much of it they are already doing and see what little things they can improve on. Even if they don’t implement every single action it’s still a really useful guide. One Simple Act on Campus is cool too. I like the suggestions that they made and they encourage people to come up with their own too.