Department of Sociology helps kick off Green Office Certification program


Radford University’s Sustainability Office completed a pilot program at the conclusion of the 2021 spring semester that is designed to promote sustainable behavior and support individuals who wish to make their campus offices greener.

The new Green Office Certification program kicked off in January with participating offices collaborating with Sustainability Manager Josh Nease on efforts to “to increase efficiency and decrease the environmental impacts of operations with respect to specific categories,” Nease said.

Ten people in the Department of Sociology were the first to participate in the program and earn certification. Those individuals include Aysha Bodenhamer, Ph.D.; Stephanie Bradley, Ph.D.; Joanna Hunter, Ph.D.; Sidra Kaluszka; Mary Lalone, Ph.D.; Beth Lyman, Ph.D.; Roby Page, Ph.D.; Allison Wisecup, Ph.D.; Paula Prince, Ph.D.; and Will Taggart.

Sydney Gillenwater ’21 was a senior sociology major in the spring of 2021 who interned in the Sustainability Office. Serving as the Green Office coordinator, she worked with Nease to help launch the pilot program. Gillenwater, from Gate City, Virginia, worked with faculty and staff in the Department of Sociology to guide them through the program’s checklist and guide them through the certification process.

The program will continue in the fall 2021 semester. Individuals on campus who wish to participate can do so by contacting Nease and then downloading the checklist on the Sustainability Office website. The list includes 30 goals in categories pertaining to office energy, water paper use, waste management, health and transportation.

Each item on the checklist is worth one point. Twenty-eight or more checks earn participants a platinum certification; 25 checks earn gold, 20 earns silver and 15 earns bronze.

Bodenhamer found the certification program to be beneficial, she said, “because it shows our commitment to sustainability by being aware of our use of natural resources and energy.

“Consumption is often taken for granted in our society, and we rarely question where our resources originate,” Bodenhamer continued. “By making this commitment, it brings to light that many of the resources we use are finite resources and deserve to be protected for future generations to come. By challenging consumptive norms, we can create better environmental and social outcomes over time.”

Each person in the Department of Sociology who participated earned gold certification.

Gillenwater introduced the certification program to the department through a formal presentation.

“She made us aware of how, if departments across campus made even small changes in their day-to-day operations, we could make a significant environmental impact together as a campus community,” said Sociology Department chair Beth Lyman, Ph.D. “Sustainability in and of itself ought to be valued, but by participating in the program, we also know that we are living out one of the University’s core values; we are being good neighbors to the Radford community and New River Valley; and we are sending a message to our students that we care about an issue that is important to their generation as a whole.”

Former student and Sustainability Office intern Jaxon Emery ‘20 initially served as the Green Office coordinator and started the certification program in the spring of 2020. However, the COVID-19 global health pandemic interrupted the program’s progress, and Gillenwater began running the program in the fall of 2021.

To learn more about the Green Office Certification program, contact Nease at the Sustainability Office at 540-831-5223 or

Jun 17, 2021
Chad Osborne