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Northwestern University
ISGMH Green team

A Campus Institute Goes Green for People and the Planet

The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) is proud to be Green Office certified! Our office is located in downtown Chicago and houses around 65 faculty members, staff, and interns. We were motivated to get involved in the Green Office program because we recognize the important role environmental justice plays in the mission of our Institute. ISGMH conducts research to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people.

As our associate director, Dr. Francesca Gaiba often reminds us, “we want to make the world a better place for LGBTQ people, but we don’t want to negatively impact the planet while doing so.”

We moved into our office in February 2017, and we actually already had many Green Office practices in place before we heard about sustainNU’s program. We had LED lighting, only used reusable dishes and utensils for everyday office use, regularly recycled, and purchased environmentally-friendly office products. The Green Office program gave us the opportunity to form a Green Team to work toward refining our existing sustainability policies and practices.

We become more active about sharing “green tips” with our staff, and we made it easier for folks to make green choices by labeling recycling bins and hanging up reminders to turn off lights and electronics. We also made an effort to reduce printing by encouraging people to use digital documents as much as possible.

We included sustainability practices in our ISGMH event programming by requesting that guests bring their own reusable utensils and dishes for lunch (it sounds strange, but folks have done it), only ordering buffet-style meals rather than individually packed lunches, and reusing serving utensils from past events. We also created a “Free Cycle” channel on our ISGMH Slack as a place for people to divert unwanted items from the trash.

We really enjoyed the support from sustainNU. They made the certification process easy by providing resources and answers to any sustainability questions we had. ISGMH is proud to receive this certification from sustainNU and we will continue to strive for environmental sustainability in our office!

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