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Sustainability Tips for Faculty & Staff

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  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Conservation of natural resources and energy 
  • Zero waste
  • Waste management
  • Pollution prevention
  • Social and community sustainability
  • Sustainable development
  • Green architecture and landscape architecture
  • Green product design
  • Industrial ecology
  • Ecotourism
  • Business sustainability, and more.


  • Take your class on a campus sustainability tour.
  • Encourage students to bring a reusable water bottle to campus, to help decrease the usage of single-use plastics on campus.
  • Go digital! Use your online classroom for sharing handouts and for students to submit assignments and papers. 
  • Allow students to turn in their assignments virtually.
  • Instead of using paper note books and agendas, take notes and plan electronically!
  • If planning and taking notes electronically isn't for some students, suggest they get refillable notebooks or spiral notebooks made from recycled content for the class.
  • Let in more sunlight! Opt for natural lighting by opening the blinds in the classroom.
  • Encourage students to think of the campus as a sustainability laboratory.  Assign projects that allow students to create solutions to sustainability issues they identify in their own dormitories and dining halls.
Additional ways to teach about sustainability


  • If possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator to your classroom and/or office.
  • Schedule office hours before or after class so commuting students don't have to make a separate trip to campus.
  • Set your printer default to double-sided printing. 
  • Purchase recycled content paper for the office.
  • Save printed paper for scratch paper and recycle paper you cannot re-use.
  • Make sure to turn off office lights when not in use. If you can, use natural light instead of electrical lighting.
  • Use "sleep-mode" so your computer automatically uses less energy when you leave your desk, even if it is just for a short time. Screen savers do not save energy.
  • Turn off your computer when you leave for lunch and at the end of the day.
More ways to make your office sustainable

More ways to be sustainable

Oklahoma State University is a tight-knit community, and sustainability has become one of the threads. You work to make OSU the brightest orange in America, and becoming sustainable is part of that mission. Whether behind the scenes or in the spotlight, Oklahoma State employees are what help make this university so successful. We look to you to be the example in the position you fulfill and in how you take responsibility for the resources entrusted to you.

  • Build a sustainable work community
    One person can start, but they can’t do it alone. Make sustainability a priority where you work. Try to get your colleagues involved and establish a Green Team for your area. Know what resources you have and the most efficient ways to use them.  Learn how to reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve energy, reduce pollution, and make wise purchases on behalf of the University. 
  • The break room
    • It is your time to relax, but you can still be a good steward. 
    • Centralization is key for saving energy. Whenever possible, use a common refrigerator in the break room instead of mini-fridges in individual offices.
    • Use natural light if possible. Only have the light on if necessary, and turn it off when you are the last one to leave. Even if you only leave your office for a few minutes, turning lights off will save energy – a lot of energy if we all do it.
  • Carpool
    • Walking, riding a bike,  and riding the bus are the most sustainable modes of transportation.
    • If you don't have those options, you can still cut down on your carbon footprint by carpooling. OSU Parking and Transit Services offers a free online matching service to help people locate others interested in carpooling. You don’t have to own a car to be a part of a carpool! Paying your share for gas can help alleviate this pressure. If you are worried that your schedule is too chaotic, you don’t have to carpool every day! Figure out what days are the best for you and work with others' schedules to make a functional carpool! Register your carpool with OSU to be eligible for a reserved parking space! 
  • Reducing paper usage
    University Imaging converts documents to electronic files, which saves office space and makes it easier for a department to retrieve files. Electronic document management cuts down on paper consumption and saves money. If your unit is part of the Associate VP & Comptroller Department, then imaging is already covered. For other departments, the cost averages 10 cents per image, which includes prepping the documents, imaging, indexing, destruction or recycling. 
  • Purchasing
    • Consider purchases as investments – choose items that are durable and long-lasting. This requires considering the long-term impact of the item being purchased. Sometimes the least expensive product may break easily and require repair or replacement sooner than the better-made options.  Many times the cheaper product will require more energy or other input over the course of its operation. (Think cheap printers that use expensive cartridges!)
    • Make purchases with energy and resource conservation in mind and check OSU Surplus before buying new. You can also look for products that are recyclable and contain recycled content and opt for locally produced goods and services whenever possible.
    • Save money by purchasing a central printer that services many offices. You’ll find it’s nice to take a break from computer work and get out of your chair to retrieve your print jobs. Stretch break!
    • Purchase FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper directly from Staples via the OK Corral.
  • Sustainability Stakeholders
    • Sustainability Stakeholders represent various specialties and areas of campus.  As OSU moves forward with sustainability initiatives in teaching, research, outreach, and operations, Sustainability Stakeholders will be key in providing invaluable advice and collaborations toward these efforts.  If you’d like to be added to this campus-wide group of volunteers, please email  us!
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