Apply sustainability in our work environment by adopting clear criteria to consider in purchasing and contracting decisions, reducing consumption of goods, and providing staff with necessary training and tools.
Gateway strives to make sustainability a permanent part of its culture by establishing policies and processes for its own staff and for companies that provide goods and services to the college.
Procurement policy. The college has centralized purchasing for all capital equipment and service agreements over $25,000. Campus and facilities staff members are encouraged to purchase energy-efficient equipment with ENERGY STAR ratings where available.
Reducing use of printing supplies. Departments are being asked to voluntarily remove printers from individual offices in favor of more centralized printing. There are now 269 printers on the Gateway campuses. New computer printers are required to have double-sided printing capability. For students, a pay-for-print system discourages unnecessary printing and saves paper, toner, energy, and printer wear and tear.
Reducing disposable water bottles. Staff members, through the installation of drinking fountains with bottle fillers are encouraged to use tap water in refillable bottles instead of buying water in plastic bottles.
Disposal of property. College policies require disposal of surplus or obsolete equipment and materials cost-effectively and sustainably. Typically, items that still have value are sold to bidders or at auction, donated to charities, sold for scrap value, or recycled.
Energy policy. Policy requires the college to promote and invest in energy conservation (electricity, natural gas and motor fuels), use alternative energy sources, conserve water, reuse and recycle, select environmentally friendly cleaning and other chemicals, maintain high indoor air quality, and foster a sustainability culture among employees and students.
Sustainable event planning. The college has developed guidelines for ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and other special events that help minimize their environmental footprint. Measures include:
- Publicizing recycling policies and making sure recycling containers are on site
- Providing pitchers or water coolers where participants can fill their own water bottles
- Serving food that is locally grown or provided by local vendors when possible
Employee onboarding. As part of their Gateway journey, new employees are briefed on the college’s sustainability mission.
Plans for the future
Develop tracking measures. The college staff has created an energy and sustainability dashboard that will be used to report to the college leadership on a regular basis. It includes performance figures on utility usage, recycling volumes, data on recycling of materials from remodeling and construction projects, information on sustainability-related academic and training programs, and more.
Office sustainability. A team is developing a Green Office program to help in the developing more sustainable work spaces.