Power Down - Nursing Sustainability

February 12, 2016

Interested in how we can better “nurse” sustainability on campus? We stopped by Fagin Hall to talk with Lucia DiNapoli, Executive Assistant to the Dean of Nursing and Joseph Gomez, Building and Operations Administrator for the School of Nursing to learn more about sustainability at Penn’s Nursing School.


Green Campus Partnership: What are your main responsibilities in a sustainability capacity?

Lucia DiNapoli: I am the unofficial sustainability coordinator for the School of Nursing, a faculty Eco-Rep, and a member of our Green Team. Together with [Joseph Gomez], I look at the big picture for sustainability at the school and help orchestrate a lot of the activities throughout the year with our Green Team.

Joseph Gomez: And I am the Senior Building Administrator for the School of Nursing. We only have one building, Fagin Hall, and I work with solid waste initiatives, the Green Team, and the staff Eco-Reps.


GCP: What has the School of Nursing done when it comes to sustainability?

Lucia: We’ve been really aggressive about Green Office Certification and the mini-trash bins initiative, focusing on how much waste people make in their workspace and increasing awareness about that and how to reduce waste. Our current goal is to be the first school to be completely Green Office certified. 

Joseph: We have seven or eight offices certified now.

Lucia: What we like about the program is that it is a very holistic look at sustainability through its various components. Then in March, we’re rolling out our green catering initiative. And energy will continue to be a big focus point for our initiatives.


GCP: What is the School of Nursing doing about energy specifically?

Lucia: We have not gotten to the point fully of addressing energy, but one of the reasons is that we have been fortunate enough to have portions of our building, Fagin Hall, renovated in five phases over the last 12.5 years.

Joseph: And in those five phases, sustainability and energy-savings have been a big part of the renovations.

Lucia: We are talking about energy being the focal theme for this next academic year.


GCP: There are certain challenges when it comes to sustainability in the medical community; could you talk a little about that?

Joseph: It is a struggle to bring some of our constituents on board because they have other needs beyond energy consumption reduction. For instance our simulation center focuses on education and training the nurses, rather than on shutting down simulation sets when they are not in use. We also have our wet lab where a lot of equipment is running 24/7. So part of what we have done is to buy the newest equipment that is much more energy efficient.


GCP: What do you want to tell the Penn community about how better to power down?

Lucia: So much comes down to messaging. Energy isn’t a concern until something isn’t working or it’s a Red Day. I think there’s something to be said about the new format of the Power Down Challenge and how it’s going to bring the whole University’s attention to the issue for the month, and then hopefully find sustainable ways to keep that conversation going.

I want to stress Green Office Certification as one of the most important resources that Green Campus Partnership has, because it includes purchasing, energy, and so many other components. If all schools made it a focal point, you’d see a continued buy-in from a greater number of faculty and staff members and a greater shift in our culture.  


Learn more about Penn’s Green Office Certification program and get involved here: /get-involved/green-office-program.

Image Copyright: Penn Connects

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