Green Offices encourage sustainable work spaces

By: Madi Mainman Intern, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Laura Hunt, the Program Coordinator for the department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures (REALC), and Terez Whatley, the Academic Department Administrator for German Studies, have teamed up to enhance sustainability in their offices at Emory’s Modern Languages Building. Whatley serves as the Sustainability chair for the building and Hunt is a Piedmont Fellow for art and sustainability.

They believe that their administrative positions allow them to make an impact on a departmental level, rather than just taking action as individuals. Their commitment to sustainability is apparent in their accomplishments, composting office wide before Emory rolled out their Zero Waste Initiative & winning an energy reduction competition for buildings on campus not once, but twice.

Since joining the Green Offices program, they have upgraded to an energy saving refrigerator, provided thermoses for faculty members, and purchased a soda stream for sparkling water, removing the need for canned sparkling water day-to-day and at office events.

They have taken their sustainable habits back home with them as well as influenced those in their offices to do the same. Whatley and Hunt both compost at home now, saying they’ve realized how much easier it is to be sustainable once you’ve created a habit.

One of their work study students echoed this sentiment, saying that he has noticed he’s more careful about turning off lights and recycling in his dorm. The REALC and German Studies offices are a great example of how being a part of a community that is passionate about sustainability can cultivate personal responsibility and make individuals more aware of their impact on the environment.

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