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New tools make it easier to step through Green Paws Program

October 21, 2015

Over 2,000 Penn Staters from 13 campuses are integrating sustainability into their offices through Penn State’s Green Paws Program, one step at a time.

The program provides participants with small tasks, organized into four levels, to grow their knowledge and application of sustainability in their office and personal life. Each office receives a certificate of recognition from President Barron when  75% of co-workers have completed a level.

“Green Paws is a small impact, but the overall picture is much bigger,” said Pam Kauffman, a participant in Mont Alto’s Science and Technology Building. “If you do a little bit and get someone else to do a little bit, it is that much more that was not being done before.”

Following the program can allow for personal and professional development as participants learn how sustainability affects their life and aligns with Penn State’s mission. Working with co-workers to accomplish each level provides an opportunity to create community and to learn how to communicate about and motivate sustainable behaviors.

“It’s helped me to hone into what types of communication styles are going to resonate with different types of audiences,” said Eric Reinhard of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Jamie Robinson, who has participated in Pollock Dining Commons Green Paws certification, has encouraged her office peers to include sustainability into their YOU@PSU goals and found that Green Paws is great way to accomplish this. “The program has been eye opening and made us really think about what we can do differently,” said Robinson.

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute provides many resources to facilitate and encourage participation:

  • Orientations - Provide information about the program and tools to be successful.

  • Email templates - Offer tips and facts to encourage office members to complete the action. They are available at each level’s webpage.

  • Health category - Adds a new dimension to Green Paws that draws a stronger connection between sustainability and individuals’ personal lives. The Health tab can be found on each level’s webpage.

  • “Why” each action is included - Emphasizes the impact that individual co-workers and the office as a whole can have completing each step. The “whys” are found by clicking each action tab on a level’s webpage.

"The email templates provided facts and real life examples for my team members so that we were able to understand how the changes we were making made an impact,” said Kaitlyn Ingram of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Register for Green Paws and join the 188 other Penn State offices engaging in sustainability, one step at a time.

For more information, visit or contact Lydia Vandenbergh at

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