Sustainable Initiatives at The University of Northern Colorado

Here at touchPoint, we love to help support companies as they transition into more sustainable business practices, but we also like to recognize efforts from organizations that are making changes without our direct assistance.

A short time ago we posed a blog on the sustainable efforts that the University of Colorado, Boulder has been taking, and now we return to the subject, this time visiting the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).

Recycling programs have always been a great start to greening every kind of organization; they are simply to initiate and maintain. UNC has had very successful recycling programs in place for many years, and not just the obvious things like cardboard, glass, plastic, and paper, but also a campus computer recycling program and a program for non-campus household hazardous waste.

The green initiatives spread even to the kitchens. In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Smart Steps for Healthy Leaps Program, the dining halls of UNC have customized menu items deserving of the Smart Meal Seal.

Although “sustainability” is often associated with “green,” it is also about the social impact of an organization, it’s about helping the people and UNC has many programs in place to do just that.

The Monfort College of Business brings in guest speakers annually, but lately has had quite a few industry leaders come in to teach students about how to create and maintain sustainable businesses.

Along with a great business school, UNC also has an awesome honors program. The Center for Honors, Scholars, and Leadership claims to be the campus’ leader in “civic engagement, community service, experiential leadership opportunities, and sustainability education.” They have put together many successful programs such as Earth Day, the 2008 Gang Prevention and Intervention Summit, and Embracing Community, Together. In 2009, the group partnered with the university’s SIFE team to host the Engage – Enact – Inspire Sustainable Communities Summit.

Speaking of UNC’s SIFE team, who has won at least 2 regional championships and advanced to National Competition in 2009, this is another great program that the school has in place to help the community. According to their core value, “we use the power of business and the empowerment of education to make a sustained difference in our community.” The organization achieves this through the execution of “educational outreach projects” like volunteering at local schools and food banks.

With so many successful programs, UNC has many ways for students to get involved and feed their hunger for sustainable practices. But it doesn’t end there. When that day finally comes, the day that you walk across that great stage and receive your diploma, UNC is practicing sustainability there too.

Herff Jones takes care of all students’ graduation needs, from announcements to the cap and gown. Being a green company, Herff Jones has all graduation gowns cleaned with environmentally-friendly solvent DriSol and uses recovery dryers that capture 90% of used solvent. They also individually mark, package and ship students’ orders in recycled or recyclable products in order to minimize waste. The company is also ISO certified and accentuates their commitment to recycling and re-use methods and practices.

From recycling programs, to the food and student organizations, UNC has found many ways to implement sustainable business practices, and hats off to them!