Staff Green Guide gives tips on events, catering and more


It’s been a very sustainable year for Pitt.

The University released its Sustainability Plan in January and then hired its first sustainability director, Aurora Sharrard, in July. The newly released Staff Green Guide will complete a sustainability trifecta and complement the Student Green Guide, which was unveiled last year.


Nominations are being sought for the 2019 Pitt Sustainability Awards. The program, in its fifth year, recognizes faculty, staff, students and groups who are making an extraordinary impact on campus sustainability. Deadline for nominations is Feb. 28.

The new guide was co-developed by PittServes, the Student Office of Sustainability, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the Office of Sustainability.

“I think what we tried to do with the Staff Green Guide is focus on decisions that staff have the opportunity to make differently or better, maybe a place that they didn't even know they could,” Sharrard said. “So, focusing on internal catering decisions and events, purchasing, how to dispose of waste, in a lot of different ways that students don’t necessarily think about. Just touching all of those daily opportunities, such as commuting.”

The Staff Green Guide gives tips in several categories, including:

  • Event planning — Ideas include using compostable or reusable dinnerware and, for events with more than 100 attendees, requesting the Water Monster. The guide also has links to request Green Event Certification from the Student Office of Sustainability.
  • Green Your Office — Use recycled office paper, turn lights out when not in use, provide recycle bins and more.
  • Purchasing and surplus — This category stresses reuse of materials, particularly through Pitt Surplus Property.
  • Electronic waste — Highlights recycling collection areas for cell phones, batteries and toner cartridges.
  • Recycling — Provides a list of what can and cannot be recycled in Pitt’s single stream collection system.
  • Compost — Lists what you can compost on campus and where to take it.

Other categories include Food, Reuse and Commuting & Mobility.

For more information about the University’s efforts, go to Pitt Sustainability.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.