As the mother of a kindergartner, I now have completed my first experience as a parent with public schools. For me, the year flew by, and I enjoyed the whole experience—from noticing how clean the restrooms were to learning about the lunchroom’s recycling and composting efforts.
But as an administrator or facility manager, maybe you felt it dragged on—continually working to keep facilities clean and healthful for students and staff, fielding complaints about various issues or constantly reviewing budgets to find ways to trim costs.
Regardless, another school year is over for most schools; students will be moving to new classrooms or new schools next year. The playgrounds are empty, and the cafeteria is free from the smells of lunch.
The halls may be empty of students, but the work is far from done for the summer. Now is the time to do those jobs that couldn’t be done when the kids were walking the halls: tackling roofing projects, painting, removing and replacing carpet tiles, perhaps replacing gymnasium flooring.
As the list of tasks may seem too long to tackle, I’m suggesting you add one more thing that will provide a big return on investment: applying for the Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities.
In its sixth year, the award provides recognition for the winners, and, even if your application doesn’t rise to the top this year, it provides at least two positive considerations: it’s a written record of green efforts you are pursuing, and it’s a reminder of ways in which you may need to shore up efforts.
In addition, it’s a way to ask those often difficult questions: Where do we as an institution stack up with our green cleaning efforts? Are there changes we can pursue that will improve the program but not add to the bottom line? What are our peer institutions doing that we can learn from and carry out in our own district or campus?
Learn more about the award and how to enter at ASUmag.com/green_cleaning_award.
Lustig is executive editor of AS&U.