ASU makes commitment to go ‘green’

March 24, 2008

It’s one thing to talk about “going green” in purchasing and facilities management, but it’s quite another to actually do it.

After nearly a year of research and planning, ASU has made that step and implemented a new “green” policy, ASU PUR 210. The policy states that all companies that want to do business with ASU must pass a stringent test of their environmental practices. Download Full Image

Vendors who wish to sell products to ASU first must fill out an 11-point “Green Profile Questionnaire,” which includes such questions as, “What policies are in place to monitor and manage your supply chain regarding environmental issues?”, “Does your company have a Green Transportation Plan?” and “Has your company ever been cited for non-compliance of an environmental or safety issue?”

The policy also requires that all bidders, proposers and contracts use recycled paper and double-sided copying for all documents they create in doing business with ASU.

And, all packaging and packing materials have to meet at least one – but preferably all – of the following criteria:

• Made from recycled materials.

• Be recyclable or reusable.

• Non-toxic or biodegradable.

“We’re not looking so much at the product, but what the company that makes it, or the distributor, is doing to be environmentally responsible,” says Gina Webber, associate director of purchasing and business services.

When ASU’s purchasing department decided to officially “go green” last spring, the department hired two honors students at the W. P. Carey School of Business to conduct research on the environmental policies of other public and private agencies. Webber then wrote a draft and impact statements.

ASU’s new policy is spelled out for nine areas: energy, water, toxins and pollutions, bio-based products, forest conservation, recycling, packaging, green building and landscaping.

This means, for example, that suppliers of electronic equipment must take the equipment back for re-use or environmentally safe recycling, when appropriate; that ASU buy the most water-efficient appliances available, such as low-flow faucets and upgraded irrigation systems; and manage pest-control through prevention and the use of environmentally friendly products.

ASU also has committed to buying only wood materials that have Forest Stewardship Council certification, or are previously used products (or bamboo products such as bamboo mop handles); to re-use every scrap of stone and brick possible; and to buy carpet only from distributors who have an ASU-approved carpet recycling plan.

ASU now is in the forefront of sustainability, and officials want the university to remain there.

“It is important that our behavior, which is often governed by our policies, be in alignment with our values,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “Establishing a procurement policy that supports our commitment to sustainability is an important step for ASU.”

Adds Jonathan Fink, director of the Global Institute for Sustainability: “The university community is doing a lot of great things that enhance our operational sustainability. A procurement policy that addresses not only the nature of the goods and services we purchase, but that can also influence the business practices of our suppliers can extend our influence into the business community.”

“The policy we have developed reflects the best practices in sustainable purchasing,” says John Riley, executive director of purchasing and business services. “We are pleased that much of what is now policy is actually being done at ASU. Establishing a ‘green’ purchasing policy will help us to maintain our direction.”

For more information, contact Webber at (480) 965-4071 or gina.webber">">

Dr. Arthur Glenberg receives NSF grant

March 24, 2008

Dr. Arthur Glenberg has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research on the application of theories of embodied cognition to education.
In previous work, Dr. Glenberg demonstrated that understanding text requires that the words and sentences be connected to experiences.
Because new readers have to concentrate on translating orthography into phonology (i.e., saying the words), they may not make the connection between the written words and relevant experiences, resulting in poor reading comprehension. Having children act out the meaning of sentences using toys establishes the connection and improves comprehension.
The NSF grant will support research on:
• Translating these findings into classroom curricula.
• Exploring how acting out sentences may enhance vocabulary acquisition and transfer to mathematical problem solving.
• Development and testing of a computer-based version of the intervention.