Washington State University: Ever Green

Standing in front of the newly remodeled Cougar Copies store are (from the left) Mary Read, director of University Publishing, holding the in-plant’s 2009 IPMA Management Award; Edward Sala, Web Services manager; Steven Rigby, director of Printing; and Sharon Kimble, Cougar Copies manager, showing off the in-plant’s FSC certificate.

“One of our task force members designed a successful “Think Green” campaign program to encourage responsible practices among our own staff,” says Steven Rigby, director of Printing Services. “The mini-signs remind people to take environmentally conscious actions: turn off lights, duplex on copiers, share a ride, recycle.”

Brian Nicholson checks a sheet printed on the in-plant’s HP Indigo 3050 digital press.

The Sustainability Committee at University Publishing leads the unit’s sustainability efforts through regular meetings, ongoing research and project implementation. On the committee are (from the left) Steven Rigby, Caryn Lawton, Leslie Little and Becky Veliz. Missing: Traci Watson. (Warehouse Supervisor Neil Johnson is on the lift truck.)

Walter Wyatt inks up the in-plant’s Heidelberg Speedmaster 74, one of five offset presses at University Publishing.

The Sustainability Committee at University Publishing leads the unit’s sustainability efforts through regular meetings, ongoing research and project implementation.

Alvin Yuen runs the Océ equipment.

Neil Johnson at the cutter

Ken Sundvik runs the folder.

The University Publishing team at Washington State University has made a perennial commitment to environmentally conscious operations and materials usage.

A SCHOOL located in the southeastern part of the Evergreen State might be expected to maintain a green state of mind. And, indeed, Pullman-based Washington State University (WSU) prioritizes university-wide social responsibility, conservation and environmental practices.

So, it’s not surprising that WSU’s University Publishing office has established its own sustainability program, which promotes responsible usage of paper and other printing resources. Nor would it be unusual for the publishing agency to garner support from customers and colleagues on campus.

Still, who’d have thought that, in 2008, WSU’s College of Business would dedicate the entire back cover of its annual magazine to University Publishing in recognition of one of the in-plant’s green initiatives? Don’t business majors typically focus on monetary shades of green?

Well…no, especially in a business college led by an environmentally enlightened dean.

“Their response was really heartwarming,” says Steven Rigby, University Publishing’s director of Printing Services. “They probably could have sold that page as advertising.”

Why the kudos? University Publishing had been awarded Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification, which recognizes the in-plant’s correct use of FSC-certified paper and allows the agency to use the FSC logo on print jobs.

“We were the first university in-plant in the nation to achieve certification,” Rigby notes.

The in-plant began the process in 2007, when a paper merchant told Rigby about the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program for FSC forest management certification.

“I contacted SmartWood and found that the program just rang true with some of our overarching goals and processes,” he recalls.

The most difficult part of the FSC certification process was the paperwork involved.

“We were already buying and using FSC-certified papers, but we didn’t know how to understand and prepare the forms,” Rigby remembers. “Once we figured that out and had our systems in place, it’s been a pretty easy process to maintain.”

Related story: Washington State University Honored for Management Excellence

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