School of Information first school certified Platinum for sustainability


The School of Information is the first school on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus to have all of its spaces achieve Platinum-level certification for sustainability.

UMSI’s three locations earned the highest certification available through the Sustainable Workplace Program, offered by the Office of Campus Sustainability, by advancing from Silver status in 2014 and Gold status in 2015. Locations include spaces at North Quad, Maynard Street and North University Avenue.

“Earning this certification was truly an all-school effort, led by a dedicated and determined team of staff members who worked with imagination and commitment to improve our Planet Blue status, year by year,” says UMSI Dean Thomas A. Finholt.

Since 2012, the Office of Campus Sustainability has set sustainable workplace standards and guided departments through the necessary steps for certification, which include an inventory of practices, identification of gaps and recommendations of actions to implement best practices.

Dean Thomas A. Finholt holds the Planet Blue Platinum certificate awarded to the School of Information at an all-staff meeting. (Photo by Jay Jackson, School of Information)

To earn Platinum certification, UMSI incorporated sustainability training available through the Planet Blue Ambassador program into all new employee training. Eighty-five percent of UMSI’s staff are certified Planet Blue Ambassadors.

UMSI also increased the use of reusable mugs in the workplace by creating incentives to bring them to work, replacing disposable cups in lounges and purchasing large water dispensers to reduce the use of disposable bottled water.

The school reduced waste by programming printers to print double-sided by default and purchasing rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones.

Additional activities that contributed toward UMSI’s Platinum status included:

• Installing bottle refill attachments on drinking fountains at North Quad.

• Enabling sleep mode on computers and printers.

• Installing hallway light timers.

UMSI’s facilities are among 165 certified Sustainable Workplaces on campus helping to promote more sustainable actions.

The Sustainable Workplace program creates a culture of sustainability by building awareness and encouraging sustainable behaviors that support the university’s 2025 sustainability goals and its overall commitment to sustainability, known as Planet Blue.


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