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Northwestern University

Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing 

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

As their associate director, Dr. Francesca Gaiba often reminds them, “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.”

The staff moved into their office in February 2017, and they had many Green Office practices in place before they heard about sustainNU’s program. They 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 them the opportunity to form a Green Team to work toward refining their existing sustainability policies and practices.

The members of the Green Team become more active about sharing “green tips” with the staff, and they made it easier for people to make green choices by labeling recycling bins and hanging up reminders to turn off lights and electronics. They also made an effort to reduce printing by encouraging people to use digital documents as much as possible.

The group included sustainability practices in ISGMH event programming by requesting that guests bring their own reusable utensils and dishes for lunch (this worked better than expected), only ordering buffet-style meals rather than individually packed lunches, and reusing serving utensils from past events. They also created a “Free Cycle” channel on their ISGMH Slack as a place for people to divert unwanted items from the trash.

The ISGMH team really enjoyed the support from sustainNU. They said the sustainNU team made the certification process easy by providing resources and answers to sustainability questions. ISGMH is proud to receive this certification from sustainNU and will continue to strive for environmental sustainability.

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