Workspace Certification Program Sees Progress in Year Three

In Year Three of the Sustainable Leaders Network (SLN) Workspace Certification program – a checklist of actions deployed to make workspaces more eco-friendly while fostering a culture of sustainability – over 190 Green Leaders have worked toward improving their office or department's sustainability. New groups including The Forum, where last year's Campus Sustainability Fair was held, have signed on to document their progress creating workplace habits to lessen Columbia's overall environmental footprint.

April 16, 2020
Sustainability Fair held at The Forum

Even as the Columbia community navigates the COVID-19 public health emergency, many teams have found ways to move the needle forward on their Workspace Certification progress. While the Annual Recognition event was postponed this year due to physical distancing requirements, the Office of Sustainability looks forward to celebrating the teams' successes in person down the road. In light of recent events, Green Teams will have an extended timeline to complete their checklists, giving them until the end of May to submit their progress for 2020 certification.

At last year's event, thirteen schools and departments comprising more than 65 teams were recognized, with two teams receiving Platinum certification. After the formal portion of the ceremony, guests relocated to The Forum’s ground floor Atrium where awardees posed for photos with their certificates and met with university partners like Staples, Steelcase, 511NY Rideshare, Citi Bike, GrowNYC, and more. Guests not currently participating in the Workspace Certification Program were encouraged to sign up, and current members shared best-practices for greening their offices and schools.

This year, sustainability at Columbia is unique in more ways than one: the University is currently undertaking the planning process for a new sustainability plan. Plan 2030 – a larger, more ambitious 10-year plan encompassing all four of Columbia’s campuses – will provide a roadmap for the University to take progressive, urgent action around climate change. Many members of the SLN, in addition to participating in the Workspace Certification program, have been an integral part of one of seven focus groups putting Plan 2030 together.  All planning committees will virtually convene this month to submit their proposals to the Senior Sustainability Advisory Committee (SSAC) and the Office of Sustainability to begin formalizing the path forward.