David Porteous, DMHAS Grants Facilitator in the School’s Office of Finance and Administration received a 2010-2012 Environmental Leadership Award presented by UConn President Susan Herbst at a special ceremony on November 16, 2012.
Upon hearing of the award, David said “I honestly was as honored to be nominated for it as I am to have received it”. “We did surmount numerous obstacles at every step and I did more than I could have imagined to make lemonade out of an unending deluge of lemons. BUT it was the students, faculty and staff on the Green Team, the facilities staff led by Bill Pecor, the Sun Services janitorial staff and management, and Mike Menard and Salome Raheim who made this success possible. And our hauler, CWPM, was helpful at every step as needed. It was a team effort…”
Environmental Leadership Awards are given biennially to those students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated dedication and outstanding contributions to the University’s principles of environmental leadership.
“David’s leadership, resourcefulness and determination has made a remarkable difference in recycling efforts and ‘green’ improvements on the Greater Hartford Campus and in raising awareness and cooperation across the campus community” said Dean Salome Raheim.
The Greater Hartford Campus (GHC) Green Team originated with the School of Social Work’s Academic Plan. Dean Salome Raheim appointed David Porteous to Chair this team because of his known commitment to recycling and environmental issues. The SSW Academic Plan specified that the team would be composed of SSW staff members, a faculty member, two graduate students, and an undergraduate staff person. David envisioned a larger campus-wide team taking the initiative to expand the Green Team to include undergraduate students and other GHC programs. He took his idea to the GHC Director, Michael Menard and the Dean of the SSW where it was well received. Students and staff from all campus programs are now involved as well as the GHC facilities director, Bill Pecor.
The Green Team began meeting in the summer of 2011 and decided its first goal was to focus on the dysfunctional recycling program on campus. It was believed that items put in blue recycle bins were not being recycled, and generally that was true. David once again took initiative and literally tracked paper, plastic, cans, and glass placed in bins all over the GHC. He found large quantities of these items were not being recycled while some were recycled depending on which of the five campus buildings they were in.
The Green Team met with CWPM, LLC: Waste, Removal and Recycling to determine how they could increase recycling on campus. It was determined that the GHC needed more containers, effective labels, and more access to the containers for students. In addition, a consistent recycling system for campus offices had to be developed.
Critical players in the process were the contracted custodial staff used on campus. They had to support these efforts while staying within their own contractual boundaries. With the increased recycling, CWPM, LLC now has a 6 ton bin for recyclables instead of the 2 ton bin. Recycling has tripled! More recycling education and new initiatives to promote environmental sustainability and justice will occur this year with the Green Team.