Green Team Spotlight is an occasional series highlighting Green Teams at the University of Utah. Green Teams are self-organized groups that focus on sustainability opportunities and work on effecting change in their departments by focusing on issues such as recycling, energy, transportation, and more.
By Erin Olschewski, Sustainability Resource Center
The Facilities Management (FM) Green Team has been in existence for less than a year but under Stephanie Dolmat-Connell’s leadership, the FM Green Team has done some excellent work in promoting sustainability in its short tenure.
The team’s first big initiative was to increase participation in the Clear the Air Challenge last summer. Clear the Air is a month-long competition in Salt Lake City during July that encourages residents to drive less to improve air quality. Facilities Management invented the “Mike on a Bike Campaign,” where Mike Perez, associate vice president of Facilities Management, rode his bike to reduce his footprint. Employees were encouraged to “beat” Mike by logging more trip reductions than him. Through its innovative tactics, the FM Green Team was able to motivate many people to sign up and ended up winning 1st place in the team category, beating teams such as Goldman Sachs and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. In one month, Facilities Management eliminated over 7,500 trips and 847 pounds of emissions.
Last month, the team engaged all of the Facilities Management departments in an Energy Challenge, a competition to reduce total energy use. Each participating department came up with its own solutions to reduce energy consumption and created posters as visual reminders of the challenge commitments. With money for a department-specific event on the line, 22 departments participated in the challenge. In the end, the Landscape Maintenance won the grand prize and will host a bowling party for its employees with the prize money.
The Facilities Management Green Team consists of 10-15 regular members from many different backgrounds and departments within Facilities Management (FM), including, but not limited to, shops, landscaping maintenance, heating and ventilation, and business services. Dolmat-Connell, a senior research analyst for Facilities Management and the Sustainability Resource Center, attributes the team’s success to the organic collaboration among team members and the “incredible” support from Perez.
Erin Olschewski is a junior in Communication Studies. She is a Sustainability Ambassador with the Sustainability Resource Center.