PSU recognizes efforts of Green Team

Portland State recognized the efforts of the Green Team with a coffee hour held in Smith Memorial Student Union’s browsing room on Monday.

Portland State recognized the efforts of the Green Team with a coffee hour held in Smith Memorial Student Union’s browsing room on Monday. PSU President Wim Wiewel praised the Green Team’s aim to promote sustainability in various departments on campus.

“Having local teams in each department is the way to get things done at this point,” Wiewel said. “Eventually, we will ask ourselves when we should take this program to a larger scale.”

The PSU Green Team is comprised of faculty members from various departments, who promote sustainability, recycling and other eco-conscious ideals to fellow faculty.

More than 30 people attended the meeting, mostly Green Team members.

Campus Sustainability Office Manager Noelle Studer-Spevak is leaving PSU to pursue a career in sustainable real estate development, but she encourages people to embrace the Green Team.

“I ask each and every one of you to be a part of this culture,” Studer-Spevak said. “Start a Green Team in your own department.”

The Campus Sustainability Office oversees the Climate Champions program, which seeks to assess and track success in campus sustainable solutions. The program is guided by a five-point criterion that includes energy conservation, transportation, water conservation, purchase and waste reduction, recycling and compost. The program includes an extensive checklist that faculty can use to increase sustainability in each of these areas within their departments.

PSU is one of 685 signatories of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which seeks to develop plans for achieving carbon neutrality. On May 24, 2010, Wiewel signed the Climate Action Plan.

The key to building a more sustainable university, Wiewel said, is convenience.

“We have hard work to do,” he said. “We can’t rely on the enthusiasts and the true believers to get things done. We have to make sustainable options easy and convenient for people.”

One of PSU’s sustainable projects that’s currently struggling is Ooligan Press. The printing and publishing venture, which is staffed and operated entirely by students in the PSU graduate book publishering program, recently released “Rethinking Paper & Ink: The Sustainable Publishing Revolution,” which examines sustainable practices in the publishing industry.

Ooligan Press faces the possibility of being left with only one full-time faculty member to oversee its 120 students. Ooligan Program Director Dennis Stovall announced earlier this year that he will retire after the fall 2011 term, and PSU administrators are considering the option of hiring of his replacement.

While many Green Team representatives expressed concern for the areas in which PSU might improve its recycling and energy conservation programs, Campus Recreation Director Alex Accetta reminded everyone of how unique Portland’s culture of sustainability is.

“At a recent conference, I was shocked by what I heard about one major Texas university,” Accetta said. “Staff at this university were not allowed to buy recycled paper because of the extra cost. I think it’s important not to take for granted what we have here.” ?