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Skidmore College

Sustainable Workplace Operations Program

Sustainable Workplace Operations Program (SWOP)’s mission is to educate community members about sustainability, inspire behavior change, and to encourage participants to make improvements for a healthier, more sustainable workplace and lifestyle. Participants complete the SWOP checklist and earn a badge commensurate with their efforts. 

Faculty and staff are invited to participate as a department or as an individual. Your entire department does not need to sign on in order to be eligible for the program, and you can enter a department with only ⅓ of your department committing. We encourage SWOP leaders to motivate peers to join the program over time. As a team, the group must work as a collective to complete and discuss the SWOP checklist and earn a badge. Individuals are welcomed if they do not have a large department or if they prefer trying the program independently. We have tried to make SWOP flexible and adaptable so that participants have the freedom to define their workplace. 

Our program was based on Sustainability Tracking And Rating System (STARS), a program by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS is a rating system for institutional sustainability at colleges and universities around the world. Skidmore campus earned a Silver rating in 2017.

Curious about SWOP? Follow student program managers Luna and Maggie through a quick demo in and around the Sustainability Office! We’ll highlight some points on the evaluation form and give you a brief introduction to the program.

To participate in SWOP, participants will…

  1. Indicate interest in participating by completing this survey linked here and below. Entries accepted until April 15, 2022 for Spring '22. The next review will begin in Fall '22.
  2. Receive a checklist via email with a menu of action items in a variety of categories, including energy, health/well-being, waste, transportaion, DEI, and purchasing.
  3. Check off action items they currently implement in their workplace in order to accumulate points.
  4. Submit completed checklist, and note they are accepted on a rolling basis through November 19, 2021 for the Fall 2021 semester. The checklists will be reviewed by our student Sustainable Workplace Managers, who will connect with the participant to review the submission.
  5. Receive a certification sticker based on the overall points generated over the semester. The levels of certification are from bronze to platinum.

In addition, our student Sustainable Workplace Managers will host regular brown bag lunches. All participants will be notified of upcoming lunches. We welcome submissions of suggested topics for these lunches.

If you are interested in becoming a SWOP participant, please fill out this form, and our Sustainable Workplace Managers will connect with you.  

As a participant of the Sustainable Workplace Operations Program (SWOP), participants are invited to a biweekly lunch-in to discuss topics that address multiple aspects of our community. Attendees should bring their own lunch to listen, engage, and expand their knowledege on a given topic. At these regular lunches, the presenter will offer a 20-30 minute presentation and open up the conversation to the group. As the program continues, participants will have the liberty to work with SWOP managers to craft presentations and discussion topics based on their interests.

Brown Bag Lunch with SWOP: Featuring Professor Siobhan Hart
Thursday, April 28 @ 12-1pm in DHall 2nd floor Room 1.
Bring your own lunch!
SWOP invites you to join our student managers and Anthropology Professor Siobhan Hart for a discussion of local indigenous history and research. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch ang enjoy light refreshments with this presentation from Professor Hart, whose research and teaching focus on indigenous archaeology in the Northeast. Our SWOP managers have pulled together this Native and Indigenous Resource Sheet for your reference and review.

Fri, April 22 @ 11:30-1:30pm, Skidmore Community Garden
The Sustainable Workplace Operations Program (SWOP)  in collaboration with Human Resources will host “SeedMore”: a drop-by event to learn more about the SWOP certification program, meet and greet with fellow staff, and pick a seedling. Stop by the Community Garden, located between Case parking lot and the north end of Wiecking hall, to indulge in some fresh refreshments, snacks, and select a seedling for your home or office. Limited pots and plants will be available, and attendees are encouraged to bring your own pot.


How can I participate in this program?

We want to make SWOP work for you! We are happy to work with you as an individual, department, office, or even building. Our only restriction is that we ask at least ⅓ of a department is actively involved with the SWOP checklist to recieve a departmental ranking.

What if some of the points do not apply to me?

We understand that every office is different, and we have designed our scoresheet with that in mind! Any category that does not apply to you can be filled in as “NA” and your score will be adjusted proportionately. 

This feels too hard… Is this worth doing?
SWOP has been designed to challenge participants. Even the Sustainability Office is a few points short of platinum.

How long does a SWOP certification last?
Sustainability is dynamic! Participation occurs on a semester-by-semester basis. We encourage you to participate annually or each semester as your office and our checklist evolves. Updates to the checklist are made semi-annually, and ranking stickers are labeled by academic year.

How does SWOP work within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Our checklist is entirely adaptable to the adjustments the college has made for our health and safety. Our “NA” system for point adjustment helps us better contextualize participant efforts in the face of the current global health emergency.

I don’t have agency over purchasing in my department. Does this negatively impact my score?

Our purchasing evaluation works on a more office-wide scale than other categories. We can also implement the NA system to adjust for certain circumstances. Additionally, we are happy to work with you, your colleagues, facilities, and purchasing to help make sustainable changes in your workplace!

SWOP badges, circles in platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, lined up.