Spring 2020

BGSU Offices Go Green

by Dr. Nick Hennessy - Sustainability Manager

Campus Sustainability’s “Green Office” program aims to provide information and tools to offices across campus to help them operate more sustainably on a day to day basis.  The program began several years ago but has surged during this academic year as an effort has been made to contact as many offices as possible to participate in this effort.  It’s easy to apply, plenty of encouragement, direction, support and assistance is provided by Campus Sustainability, and it makes a big difference for the university, especially when each office’s efforts and results are added together.  What goes into determining whether an office is certified as “green”?  Basically, the university’s sustainability goals of reducing emissions (through using less energy), reducing waste/conserving resources, and education/outreach are transferred into daily activities and practices for an office.  Such items as printing 2-sided, having electronics power down when not in use, or having a variety of plants in the workplace garner points on the comprehensive application.

How do you get started with this process?  Go to the green office application online at the following link, and make a determination about what your office can do.  You’ll be surprised at how simple changes in practices and behaviors can achieve grand sustainability goals and results!  Once you’ve gone through the list and checked as many items as you think you’re able to do, contact Campus Sustainability at greenbg@bgsu.edu and we will set up a time to come and go over the list with you and advise you on it, perhaps suggesting other things that can be added to it.  If your office reaches or exceeds 75% of the total items possible, you’re certified!  You’ll get a picture taken of your office with your official Green Office certificate and it will be posted on our website.  You’ll then be listed as an office that is supporting BGSU’s sustainability efforts through real and concrete actions every single day!  Check our website for further details and to see what other offices have already been certified.  One of the first offices to be certified this academic year and showing a solid leadership example is the Office of the President.  Also certifications this year include:

  • The Browne Popular Culture Library
  • Undergraduate Student Government
  • Office of General Counsel
  • University Dining Services
  • Department of Environment & Sustainability

We spoke with some of the recently certified offices about the certification process and asked for feedback and information they could share with other offices.  Unanimously, they reported an increase in sustainable behaviors, such as turning out the lights in rooms when not needed, more frequent use of recycling bins, and curtailed use of disposable silverware and cups, among other things.

They also were clear that the process was much easier than expected, “not hard to do” and that they discovered they were already engaged in some of the items on the checklist.  It also seems that the educational goals of the program are well on their way to being realized.  Green offices shared various comments with us that “the process makes you more conscious of practicing sustainability in your everyday life”, and “helps you to understand how small actions can add up to much larger impacts” on the environment.

Thanks to all our green offices, congratulations on your certification.  And to all other offices, please take a look at this program and give us a call!

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BGSU Bike Rental Program

By Christopher Benge - Bike Mechanic Intern          

     Hello everyone, my name is Christopher Benge. I am the new student Bike Mechanic for the BGSU Bike rental program. I am from Tipp City, Ohio, and am a first-year transfer student, having attended Sinclair Community College. Here at BGSU I am majoring in adolescents and young adult (AYA) math education. Essentially, I am working to get a license to teach mathematics to students in grades 7 to 12. I really enjoyed my fall semester at BGSU and I am excited to continue forward.

            I have a number of interests outside of the classroom, and I am also a fully trained lifeguard having worked at the YMCA back home. I enjoy working on and riding bicycles and am excited to serve as the student mechanic for BGSU Bike Rental. I have worked on bikes for several years and also had the chance to work with the former bike mechanic, Maxwell McCray, fall semester before he graduated. So far, the program is continuing to do well.

            For those who don’t know, the BGSU Bike Rental Program provides bicycles for semester and academic year rental to students, faculty, and staff. Currently, our semester rentals are only $39 which includes service! I am the mechanic that will work with you to find, maintain, and repair that bike throughout the semester. Currently, we have around 70 bikes in total and can certainly fit you with one that you will enjoy. Keep this program mind as spring comes around. Bikes are a great form of exercise and transportation around campus. And of course BGSU is mostly flat so it is easy to hop on and get across campus easier and faster! We are located at 507 E. Reed; a 2 minute walk from Falcon Heights.   

Where Are They Now!?

by Christina Deehr - Graduate Intern

Over the years, many interns have walked in and out of The Office of Campus Sustainability doors. These interns have made major contributions and impacts that have marked successful milestones for the Office of Campus Sustainability. We wanted to know what these interns have been up to and how the work they did as an intern has impacted their lives. Therefore, we have started the new newsletter series “Where Are They Now?”. 

This month, The Office of Campus Sustainability caught up with Brooke Mason; the very first intern to work for the Office of Campus Sustainability.

Brooke Mason

Sustainability Assistant: 2009-2012

BGSU BS Environmental Policy (2012), UT BS Environmental Engineering (2016), UT MS Civil Engineering (2018), UM Ph. D Candidate Civil Engineering Intelligent Systems (Expected 2023).

In 2009, Campus Operations had only recently started the institutional sustainability initiative that would eventually become the Office of Campus Sustainability. Brooke Mason, just a freshman at the time, was thrown into all of the excitement that comes with the territory of establishing a new office on campus and she loved every minute of it.

Brooke was able to help Dr. Nick Hennessy, Sustainability Manager, build the Office of Campus Sustainability from the ground up. She consulted with administrators on the design of the office logo, created the website layout, and managed educational events. She also played a major role in establishing many of the programs still offered by the Office of Campus Sustainability such as Friday Night Lights, Green Game Day, and the bike rental program. She served on a “Green Team” of students and assisted with various Green Fund projects. She also worked with many groups of students volunteering with sustainability and even went on BGSU’s first Green Service Trip to Pensacola, Florida in spring 2010.

By the time Brook graduated from BGSU she had three years of work experience in higher education sustainability management. The University of Toledo saw Brooke’s potential and hired her to open a sustainability office on their campus. She worked in this position for three years until she decided to go back to school.

Today, you will find Brooke in a lab developing her Ph.D research on watershed management. When asked about her research Brooke said, “my goal is to make fundamental discoveries which will transform water management. I am motivated by algal blooms and polluted runoff which are threatening our water sources. My research seeks to improve water quality by enabling smart storm water systems to measure and control storm water infrastructure. These systems will use sensors and actuators to adapt watersheds to individual storms. My research includes three objectives: (1) investigate how pollutants flow through and change in watersheds; (2) determine how to optimize flows through a watershed to maximize pollutant treatment; and (3) investigate a systems framework to control water quality in real-time at the watershed scale”.

While Brooke is no longer working in sustainability administration, she learned a considerable amount about the environment and management from her time at BGSU in Campus Sustainability. These skills have allowed her to stay focused, motivated and organized as she strives to make progressive changes in watershed management to make the planet healthy.

Do you have any special memories of Campus Sustainability interns? Let us know at Greenbg@bgsu.edu.

Brooke-Mason
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