Green Points Game

The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery’s Green Team got rolling this summer after a member of their office staff attended a recent New Employee Orientation session. Divisional Administrator Rachel Spiegel  got the team together recently to celebrate their progress.  Beginning in late spring, the office staff was making changes to conserve energy and reduce waste.  “We started small by reusing paper, and some people were checking to ensure that their own equipment was off prior to leaving for the day,” Rachel said.  “But our initiative took off, when Debbie Hill came back from new employee orientation,” she continued. 

Debbie had been a traveling nurse working in the division and recently took a full time position there.  As a new full time employee Debbie attended the New Employee Orientation.  She heard two sessions on energy reduction and sustainability during the one-and-a-half day training.  Debbie saw that her co-workers were beginning to make changes.  She noted, “When I learned that saving energy and creating less waste were part of a growing movement across the entire Weill Cornell Medical College, I knew that we should keep going and really expand upon our initial efforts.”

The first step was to get as many of the staff on board as possible.  The goal was to have all staff switch off lights, air conditioners and computers at the end of every day, ensuring that no equipment is left on after hours.  Debbie Hill and Laura Crumpler were enthusiastic and comfortable asking co-workers to change, but they knew that it would also take consistent reminders.  And that was not going to be a pleasant task over the long term.  Debbie explains, “We decided to create a system of reminders that we call citations, and anyone can drop a citation on a colleague’s desk, anonymously, to alert them to a missed opportunity to save energy.”  For example, if the receptionist left for the day and the copier was left on, a “citation” would be set on her desk, with a small reminder to turn off the copier before leaving. Although negative points are given for each citation, positive points are awarded every two weeks for staff members with a stellar record of energy savings.  “We reuse the citation papers to save paper, keeping the supply small, but handy.” Laura added.

Nobody knows exactly who is responsible for giving a particular citation. Anyone can pick one up and discretely set it on a desk.  Because the citations seem to simply “appear” in a work area, the team refers to an instance of a mysterious citation as a visit by the “invisible green police.”  The staff of about thirteen working in the Stitch building report the citations to Debbie who maintains an internal website to track points.  Positive points are awarded for energy savings activities and negative points for reverting to old habits.  Debbie created an internal website, so that she can post how everyone is ranking in their efforts.  “People love to see their progress by the numbers, and the rankings create a bit of fun competition,” said Rachel.

The "Green Police" concept creates a fun environment raising awareness of energy consumption.  It has also help foster new ideas.  For example, the staff brought their own reusable steel water bottles and coffee mugs, reducing garbage created each day.  If you have a great story about green progress to share contact us.

Posted on 09/14/2010 in energy, green team | Permalink

Contact Info

The content of this site is managed by the Sustainability Web Publishing Team.  If you have comments or suggestions please contact us via email using the links below.  If you are interested in volunteering to support the team, please contact Kristen directly.

Kristen Adams, Department of Anesthesiology

Dorysel Mora, Department of Neurology