2020 Green Purchasing Awards Announced

tree in shopping cart
January 21, 2021

The University of Pennsylvania’s 2020 Green Purchasing Awards, presented by Penn Purchasing Services and Penn Sustainability, were recently announced during the award recipients’ virtual staff meetings.

The award honorees, who are recognized for their outstanding contributions that significantly advance the development of sustaining purchasing at Penn, are Dr. Megan Ryerson from the Weitzman School of Design and Cheryl Hickey from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

 

Megan Ryerson, Ph.D., UPS Chair of Transportation

Associate Dean for Research, Weitzman School of Design

In the Spring of 2020, Professor Megan Ryerson incorporated a new aspect to her course CPLN 750: Advanced Transportation Seminar. In a novel approach, she collaborated with Purchasing Services and tasked her graduate students with exploring the sustainability impact associated with Penn’s air travel consumption. Professor Ryerson organized students into groups to assess:

  • the scope of air travel emissions resulting from travel conducted on behalf of the University,
  • the current systems that exist for data collection, and,
  • to conduct surveys of faculty, staff, and students regarding their awareness of air travel emissions and to learn how they make travel decisions.

Students explored travel efficiencies for various modes of transportation and documented best practices to minimize travel-related emissions. Doing so allowed students to gain real-world experience and provided the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee's Air Travel working group with valuable information to better understand Penn’s air travel practices and options for addressing the resulting carbon emissions. Professor Ryerson’s innovative use of the campus-as-lab concept moves forward the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 goal to “Support the use of campus-as-lab to promote applied learning.”

 

Cheryl Hickey, Faculty Recruiting/Distinguished Lecturer Coordinator

Computer & Information Science Department

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Cheryl Hickey from the Computing & Information Science (CIS) Department eliminated a waste stream from the Department’s two kitchens, one inside Levine Hall and another inside Levine North Hall. In February 2020, Cheryl made a switch from disposable cups and purchased 150 permanent ceramic replacements to meet the department’s needs. Each mug will divert 80 or more disposable cups per year.

This initiative makes a significant contribution to waste minimization in the Engineering Complex and eliminates an ongoing, unsustainable purchase. Since disposable coffee cups are not recyclable, a switch to ceramic mugs will stop approximately 12,000 cups from reaching a landfill each year. This green change also saves CIS $1,355.88 a year. One-hundred fifty mugs are priced at $145.00 and a pack of 1,000 disposable cups is$112.99, resulting in savings after one month. Also, Cheryl has encouraged others in the Penn Engineering community to bring in mugs rather than using disposable alternatives.

“It is gratifying to honor Professor Ryerson as the first faculty recipient of the Green Purchasing Award for her contributions regarding air travel sustainability at Penn,” said Mark Mills, Penn’s Chief Procurement Officer. “The leadership she exhibited in the initiative has been rewarding on many levels, both educationally and organizationally. It is also noteworthy that Penn’s vast, decentralized procurement environment presents a challenge to our being fully aware of all the impactful sustainable purchasing initiatives happening around us. Learning about Cheryl Hickey’s initiative in CIS– which can easily be implemented anywhere - and celebrating it with her and others is a key reason that this award exists.“