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What is it?

The Sustainability Tracking and Evaluation Program (STEP) is a sustainability certification program which aims to recognize departments or offices across campus for their sustainable efforts, whether they be existing practices or new changes. The certification program consists of a series of items or tasks on a checklist that count as points toward becoming certified. Behavior changes, implementation of new protocols, and education make up a large amount of the tasks included in the checklist. The goal of STEP is to engage faculty, staff and students in the effort to improve the sustainability profile of Ohio University.

Who is eligible?

Any administrative or academic department or office located on any Ohio University campus, no matter how large or small!

What about student organizations, labs and Greek life?

The Office of Sustainability is working to create different versions of STEP for key sub-groups on campus. If you are a member of a student organization, research lab, fraternity or sorority and would like to assist in piloting these sub-group certifications, please email us.

What are the benefits of becoming certified?

Benefits include:

  1. Marketing of your office/department as "Sustainably Certified" on the Office of Sustainability website.
  2. A certificate/award to display in your office
  3. Automatic nomination for the competition for Exemplary Sustainable Department Award given on Earth Day by the Office of Sustainability.
  4. Most importantly, individuals involved in the program will gain knowledge about sustainability and get to play a part in making a positive impact at Ohio University.

What is sustainability and why is it important for my office to be sustainable?

Sustainability is the ability to use resources today in a way that doesn't negatively impact future generations' abilities to utilize resources (adapted from the Brundtland Definition). At Ohio University, we take the "Triple Bottom Line" approach to sustainability in that we equally examine social, environmental and financial constructs in all decisions. When those three items intersect equally, sustainability is being employed. It is important for offices to consider sustainability so we can uphold institutional values of sustainability, be fiduciary stewards of University resources and build up our campus community.

Who is already certified through STEP?

- Office of Global Opportunities, Silver Certified, April 2016

- Office of Sustainability, Gold Certified, July 2016

- Center for Intervention Research in Schools, Gold Certified, December 2016

- Ridges Building 22 Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service - Environmental Studies, Silver Certified, July 2017

- Office of Information Technology - Acquisitions, Silver Certified, January 2020

- Geography Department, Gold Certified, September 2021

Sounds great! How do we get started?

If you are interested in getting your office or department certified through STEP, you can follow these simple steps...

  1. If you want a member of our staff to come to a staff meeting to discuss the program and answer questions before you get started, simply fill out a presentation request form and we'd be happy to attend a staff meeting.
  2. Designate a leader from your department or office to facilitate the communication efforts among your staff and to the Office of Sustainability.
  3. Download the STEP Checklist and work with your team to respond to each item.
    1. Here's a tip from the Office of Global Opportunities: Ask each member of your team to spend 10 minutes filling out the form on their own, then have a student employee compile the results. Once your results are in, spend some time at a staff meeting discussing what you can do as a team to improve your sustainability profile and encourage one another.
  4. When you have completed the checklist, you can email the final version to for final review. We will then reach out with your certificate and follow-up materials.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Any member of the Office of Sustainability staff would be happy to answer your questions about STEP.

In Person: Silas Bingham House, Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm
Telephone: 740-593-0460