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Sustainable Purchasing Green Purchasing Awards
Green Purchasing Award Winners 2020

2020 Green Purchasing Awards Announced


The University of Pennsylvania’s 2020 Green Purchasing Awards, presented by Penn Procurement Services and Penn Sustainability, were announced virtually this year during the award recipients’ staff meetings.

Now celebrating its seventh year, the program recognizes the outstanding contributions of an individual or team that significantly advance the development of sustainable purchasing practices at Penn.

This year’s awards are bestowed to Dr. Megan Ryerson from the Weitzman School of Design and Cheryl Hickey from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Megan Ryerson, Ph.D., UPS Chair of Transportation,

Associate Dean for Research, Weitzman School of Design

In the Spring of 2020, Professor Megan Ryerson incorporated a new aspect to her course CPLN 750: Advanced Transportation Seminar. In a novel approach, she collaborated with Procurement Services and tasked her graduate students with exploring the sustainability impact associated with Penn’s air travel consumption.  Professor Ryerson organized students into groups to assess:

-          the scope of air travel emissions resulting from travel conducted on behalf of the University;

-          the current systems that exist for data collection, and,

-          to conduct surveys of faculty, staff, and students regarding their awareness of air travel emissions and to learn how they make travel decisions.

Students explored travel efficiencies for various modes of transportation and put together a list of best practices to minimize travel-related emissions. Doing so allowed students to gain real-world experience addressing one of Penn’s campus sustainability challenges and provided the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee's Air Travel working group with valuable information that supported them in better understanding Penn’s air travel practices and options for addressing the resulting carbon emissions.  Professor Ryerson’s  innovative use of the campus-as-lab concept moves forward the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 (CSAP 3.0) goal to “Support the use of campus-as-lab to promote applied learning.”

Cheryl Hickey, Faculty Recruiting/Distinguished Lecturer Coordinator

Computer & Information Science Department

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Cheryl Hickey from the Computing & Information Science (CIS) Department saw an opportunity to eliminate a waste stream from the Department’s two kitchens, one inside Levine Hall and another inside Levine North Hall.  At the beginning of February 2020, Cheryl made a switch from disposable cups and purchased 150 permanent ceramic replacements to meet the department’s needs.  Each mug will divert 80 or more disposable cups per year.

This initiative will make a significant contribution to waste minimization in the Engineering Complex aswell as eliminate an ongoing, unsustainable purchase. Since disposable coffee cups are not recyclable, aswitch to ceramic mugs will stop approximately 12,000 cups from reaching a landfill each year. Thisgreen change will save CIS $1,355.88 a year. One-hundred fifty mugs are priced at $145.00 and a pack of 1,000 disposable cups is priced at $112.99, resulting in savings after one month.  also, Cheryl has encouraged others in the Penn Engineering community to bring in mugs rather than using disposable alternatives.

In such a vast procurement environment we can’t be fully aware of all of the impactful sustainable purchasing initiatives happening around us, “said Mark Mills, Penn’s Chief Procurement Officer. “Learning about Cheryl’s initiative – which can easily be implemented anywhere - and celebrating it with her and others is why this award exists.  It was also gratifying to honor Professor Ryerson for her contributions regarding air travel sustainability at Penn.  This has been rewarding on many levels, educationally and organizationally, and it’s wonderful to see Professor Ryerson honored as the first faculty awardee of the Green Purchasing Award.”