|Submission Date||March 1, 2019|
University of Richmond
EN-7: Employee Educators Program
|0.16 / 3.00||
Sustainability Communications & Engagement Specialist
Total number of employees (staff + faculty, headcount):
Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting):
Percentage of employees served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
Name of the employee educators program:
Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:
The Sustainability Staff Discussion & Education Group was an Office for Sustainability-led program aimed at increasing sustainability competencies among staff members who would then bring lessons learned back to their offices during, primarily during weekly staff meetings. The group met monthly to learn about a sustainability topic from an expert guest speaker or discuss a unit in a Northwest Earth Institute discussion guide from Fall 2017 through Summer 2018.
The primary mode of education was done via discussion. The group was tasked with 1) develop familiarity with a specific sustainability topic to speak comfortably with others; 2) make changes in their own lives related to the topic (e.g., find alternative transportation instead of single-passenger vehicle commuting); 3) share both their knowledge and experiences with peers in their offices.
Topics covered included an overview of sustainability, sustainable transportation, sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and well-being. During the discussion group sessions, a different group member prepared to lead the discussion each meeting by reading about the topic and selecting discussion questions. This increased their own competency and confidence to share this information outside of the group. By leading group discussions, staff members were equipped with sustainability knowledge they did not have before and got a chance to facilitate learning among their peers.
Among the most important lessons learned and best stories to share with peers were the changes staff members could made in their own lives. Some purchased more locally grown food or tested the use of public transportation. These personal changes translated into easy changes to recommend to other individuals and to office practices as a whole, including an intiative to remove all disposable items from one department.
The Staff Discussion & Education Group members also attended or volunteered at Office for Sustainability events throughout the year. This gave them an opportunity to include colleagues, which furthered the opportunity to educate their peers.
A brief description of how the employee educators are selected:
All University staff were invited to join this group through Spiderbytes (the University's daily email announcements), digital flyers, social media posts, and the Office for Sustainability website and newsletter. If a staff member wanted to join, they would contact the Office for Sustainability to sign up.
A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:
Participants learned about sustainability through Northwest Earth Institute discussion guides, information on sustainability.richmond.edu, and presentations from guest experts. One session each round was dedicated to sharing ideas of how to bring the information back to others. This included practice on talking about different aspects of sustainability, which was reinforced by the discussion questions in the group meetings. Personal experiences motivated by sustainability challenges were also part of the education process.
A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination):
The Office for Sustainability provided the discussion guides for this group, organized meetings, invited speakers, and provided refreshments for meetings.
Name of the employee educators program (2nd program):
Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount) (2nd program):
A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):
A brief description of how the employee educators are selected (2nd program):
A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):
A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):
A brief description of all other employee peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of employees served and how employee educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:
Total number of hours employee educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission: