Outreaching to the Incoming: Integrating New Faculty Into Campus Sustainability Programs

Amorette Getty, University of California, Santa Barbara
Christina Greever, University of Colorado, Boulder

The addition of new a new faculty member or primary investigator (PI) is a moment of particular import in campus research sustainability efforts, in several major regards. Research spaces are often overhauled or renovated when launching a new faculty member's lab: ventilation levels may be scrutinized, utilities may be removed or added, plumbing, lighting, and fixtures updated or modified. Start-up packages for incoming PIs often include the purchase of new instrumentation, or provide for the transport of older (possibly aging and energy-guzzling) equipment from a previous campus. Additionally, the new faculty member is likely not yet aware of the full range of resources available to them on their new campus. They may not know what equipment purchases could be deferred through use of communal resources, and lack institutional knowledge of the programs, practices, and culture surrounding sustainability that Green Labs and Smart Labs programs strive so much to cultivate.

The University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of Colorado, Boulder have both recently made strides to welcome and integrate new faculty into their sustainable lab communities. This presentation will include highlights of past lessons learned in welcoming new faculty to campus-- or in some cases illustrating what happens when we don't succeed in doing so. We will outline the key features of current welcome programs on both campuses, and discuss some challenges and barriers overcome in setting up reliable outreach procedures. Finally, we will briefly discuss a few key features to watch for when assisting campus designers and new PIs in reviewing small-scale lab renovation plans.

Green Labs programs can spend years working to slowly change ingrained practices in long-standing campus community members. Each new PI presents a fresh start for a small corner of the local research network. If the new beginning launches with the message that sustainable and integrated research efforts are a campus priority, those values embed themselves more deeply in the social fabric of the campus, and can become a key recruiting point in and of themselves.

Learning Objectives

  • understand the opportunities generated when a new faculty member comes to campus.
  • be aware of some of the barriers to overcome when setting up a new-faculty welcome program.
  • gain an understanding of the perspective of incoming PIs so outreach can be tailored to their needs and priorities.
  • be able to look for the kinds of hidden costs lack of outreach has on campus operations, energy budget, and culture.


Amorette Getty works to help scientific labs use every resource they have with expanded efficiency: electrical energy, human energy, water, material waste, researcher time, experience, and attention, and grant funding dollars. She is Co-Director of UCSB's LabRATS program, and chairs the UCSB Campus' Laboratory Ventilation Working Group.

Christina Greever is the Program Assistant and Outreach Coordinator for CU Green Labs at the University of Colorado Boulder. Since beginning with CU Green Labs in September 2015, Christina has worked on a wide variety of initiatives including establishing the shared ultra-low temperature freezer program, writing a case study about our Biochemistry Cell Culture Facility, promoting the North American and International Laboratory Freezer Challenges, lab equipment metering, and outreach to labs.


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