UCSF Sustainability Stories

Medical Education Earns Seven Gold Certificates

sam quoteWith backing from leadership, the Medical Education Green Team initiated an effort to have all Medical Education units LivingGreen Office certified. This is part of a larger effort to certify all School of Medicine offices.  To date, eight of the 13 Medical Education offices have been certified (see complete list below). A key lesson the Green Team learned is that it is important to get an actual contact in each unit to lead the certification process. 

Kristen Fitzhenry, chair of the Medical Education Green Team, led the certification process for her office, Undergraduate Medical Education (UME), which recently received a Gold LivingGreen Office certification in recognition its many green practices. UME completed the office assessment, earning additional points for going above and beyond and scoring a 97%!  The office received a detailed spreadsheet, which explained each point and identified clear areas for future improvement, including to order Green Seal cleaning products.

Congratulations to UME. Great job!  Consider joining the Race to Certification and get your office certified.  “Implementing sustainable practices safeguards the health of the next generation. Join me in the Race to Certification and move the School of Medicine to the forefront of sustainability,” says Dean Sam Hawgood.

Below are details on two of the innovative practices that helped this office win the gold.

Share Trash Bins to Reduce Trash Bags

trashIn the Zero Waste category, in addition to the usual points for such practices as recycling and printing double sided, the office earned two bonus points for using 100% post consumer waste (PCW) printer paper and getting rid of personal trash cans, which cuts down on garbage bag use.  Rather than have individual trash bins at each desk, the office moved a trashcan to a communal location, which includes a recycling bin.  “This reduces the number of trash bags used (and sent to landfills), plus encourages recycling as we have to make a conscious decision as to which bin we place waste, rather than throwing away recyclables in trashbins at our desks,” explains Kristen.

Organize and Engage a Green Team

In the Culture Shift category, the office was awarded three extra points for creating a green team website, on which Kristen and her Green Team co-workers post regular tips, resources, and success stories.  Kristen attributes the Green Team’s success to small and consistent efforts, which have helped to raise awareness of greener practices. 

Started in February 2009, the Green Team is a group of UCSF Medical Education employees working to green their workplaces and habits. Its purpose is to promote policies and activities aimed at reducing the environmental impact of their office space and work habits. The team works across all Medical Education sites and units providing support and education to help our offices reduce waste, recycle, save energy, and protect the environment. They have a Green Charter to describe their function as a group in more detail and official recommendations, the Medical Education Green Standards, which were reviewed and endorsed by the Medical Education leadership in February 2010.

Medical Education LivingGreen Office Certifications

Graduate Medical Education – GOLD
Kanbar Center – GOLD
Medical Education-Mission Center – GOLD
Office of Medical Education – GOLD
Pathways to Discovery – GOLD
Technology Enhanced Learning – GOLD
Undergraduate Medical Education – GOLD
Undergraduate Medical Education-Medical Student Services – SILVER