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Green Office Spotlight: MSU Center for Visual Arts

Cecily Cullen, Director and Curator at MSU Denver's Center for Visual Arts (CVA), is leading the way in the ASCP's Green Office Certification Program. Achieving Platinum Status in February 2024, CVA becomes the second platinum status office on the Auraria Campus, along with the ASCP!

The ASCP helps offices start "greening" their office environment by providing a checklist of tasks they can integrate to improve in aspects of sustainability. Once they've initiated changes in the sustainability-related categories, they can schedule an office audit with the ASCP representative who allots points based on their success in each category. They are then assigned a level of certification (bronze, silver, gold, or platinum) accordingly.

Congratulations, CVA! Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our campus sustainability mission.

1. What inspired you to pursue the Green Office program?

"CVA's mission is to spark dialogue about issues we are facing in society, both locally and globally. Because of that, we often host exhibitions that focus on climate change, environmental issues, or other sustainability-related issues. I wanted to make sure that we were not just preaching about sustainability practices or problems with sustainability, but to ensure we were living out the solutions and embedding those solutions into our practice. With that, I began thinking about how we could do things more sustainably at CVA. I went through the ESG certification at the University of Colorado Denver and that honed my interest and desire to do what I could to make a difference. I now believe that everyone should be an environmentalist and every job should embed sustainability. In art, we have such an opportunity to impact people's way of thinking that it made so much sense to me when those two things came together. I started searching to see what kind of programs existed on campus and that is how I stumbled across the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program and found the Green Office Program."

2. Why is this program important to your office?

“Universities, museum spaces, etc. are all in the business of educating and creating resources for the community. We need to be thought leaders and set examples for others to follow. I believe that it is important for us to espouse all of those values that we put forth through exhibitions by really examining our day-to-day ways of being and working. The guidance from your office and the checklist helped solidify what we were doing and where we could improve, giving us this tunnel vision in a sense that helped us focus on some things that were easy for us to do. There is more we can do, however, some of that is outside of our control or requires funding, so it is further down the road. But I love that the checklist gave us some actionable steps to make a difference right now.”

3. What does the Platinum level achievement mean to you and your office?

"We were all very excited to learn that we achieved the platinum level of certification right out of the gate. However, we have already discussed how we do not want the certification to let us be complacent. We want to continue to learn and investigate ways to do better because of course there are ways to improve. It is also a point of pride for our student employees because they know that what they are doing and what they are working towards is in alignment with their values and can make a difference."

4. What was your favorite part of pursuing this program?

“I really did appreciate having the checklist and being able to go down the list and say, 'Yes, we have definitely taken care of these few things' or 'Here are a couple of things we haven’t thought about', like space heaters, for example, was something I had no idea had such an impact. If you think about it, it makes sense, but I hadn't thought that in-depth, especially in our old industrial building where the heating is kind of uneven. I realized that we could stretch ourselves and make that small sacrifice to do things a bit differently (and it wasn’t that hard to give up our space heaters)!”

5. What are you most excited about going forward? 

“It has been so great to meet everyone and learn about all the resources the ASCP has to offer. I hope to continue working with you all and create a partnership. I am excited to work with you on our clothing swap and other events like Earth Week. I think just building a partnership between CVA and the ASCP would be really fantastic, that way we can learn about how CVA can improve our sustainability practices and how we can help each other get the word out about our programming.”



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