UGA one of two universities awarded for green cleaning practices

UGA one of two universities awarded for green cleaning practices

October 29, 2008

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Kimberly Thomas

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Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia has become one of only two universities in the country to earn the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) Certification with Honors. The University received the award for the Physical Plant Building Services Department's work in the 28 buildings on North Campus which comprise UGA's new "Green Corridor." The University of Michigan is the other school which has obtained this distinction from the International Sanitary Supply Association.

CIMS applies to the management, operations and performance systems of cleaning organizations. Compliance with the standard demonstrates that a cleaning operation is structured to deliver consistent, quality services designed to meet customers' needs and expectations.

"We are certainly proud of our efforts and certification," said Al Jeffers, UGA Building Services interim superintendent. "I sincerely believe this is an invaluable tool for our program and by going through this process, we learned quite a bit about our operation and where improvements can be made. Our intention now is to roll our ‘green' program with CIMS across the entire campus."

UGA Physical Plant Division staff submitted documentation supporting its compliance with the requirements described in the five key sections of the standard: quality systems; service delivery; human resources; health, safety and environmental stewardship; and management commitment. An independent, accredited assessor conducted an on-site review of the university's systems, processes and documentation to ensure compliance. This process included interviews with services department customers from the North Campus "Green Corridor."

"The custodial management and staff at the University of Georgia are hard-working people dedicated to protecting our environment and providing high quality, value-added services to their university customers," said Bruce Stark of Stark Consulting who served as the university's certification assessor. "Their use of efficient and effective management hasresulted in clean buildings for campus users, and their goal to continuously strive for excellence is to be commended."

Stark highlighted three best practice programs as evidence of the university's commitment to excellence:

  • The green cleaning initiative, which began in 2007 to improve indoor air quality and reduce air contaminants and has now led to the elimination of more than 300 products from the university's overall chemical inventory;
  • The Building Services Academy program, which provides new building service workers with a two-week orientation and training curriculum prior to the individual's assignment in the field; and
  • Health and Safety training programs for building service employees, which emphasize hazardous material spill containment and response and other overall worker safety programs.

The UGA CIMS certification team was led by Dexter Fisher, director of services, and Kimberly Thomas, assistant director of services. The team was assisted by certified ISSA certification expert John Chittom, president of Athens Janitor Supply Company, Inc., Athens, who provided guidance and support throughout the process.

Fisher and Thomas both believed certification would demonstrate their department's commitment to excellence and provide an opportunity to build on the department's innovative green cleaning program. In fact, the Physical Plant Division was recently chosen to receive an honorable mention in the universities category of the 2008 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities thanks in large part to its CIMS certification efforts. Only four universities across the country received such an award, which is sponsored by American School and University Magazine, the Green Cleaning Network and the Healthy Schools Campaign.

More information on CIMS, the certification process and ISSA can be found at www.issa.com/standard. Information on the environmental sustainability initiative for the University of Georgia Physical Plant Division can be found at www.gogreen.uga.edu.

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