HomeSchool of BusinessSchool of Business Walks the Sustainability Talk

School of Business Walks the Sustainability Talk

As part of its mission, the SCSU School of Business supports United Nations’ 17 goals of sustainable development.  The new School of Business building, soon to stand as the State of Connecticut’s first “net zero” structure, will meet or surpass a number of those UN goals.

And the School takes those goals to heart. One recent example addresses goal 12, “Responsible Consumption and Production,” and highlights both the School of Business’s mission and the university’s Office of Sustainability, headquartered at Room 236 of Facilities Operations. 

MBA Recruiter Mark Zampino discovered the Office of Sustainability and completely refurbished the office he inherited – SB 120 in the School of Business – without a single University expenditure when he settled into his position a little over a year ago.

“I compiled a list of things I needed – a staple remover, tabletop brochure holders – those sorts of things,” Zampino recalled. “Serendipitously, that day, I received an email from the University’s Office of Sustainability announcing one of their open house events. So, I grabbed my list and headed over, and a very cordial student worker helped me obtain the items I sought… which got me to thinking,“ Zampino continued with a smile.

“My office is modest… well, tiny, actually,” Zampino laughed, “and it came with one of the smallest desks I’ve ever seen in my life. My other furniture comprised two mismatched plastic visitor’s chairs and my desk chair. Given my previous success at the Office of Sustainability,” Zampino continued, “I thought, ‘…a school this big must accumulate surplus furniture…’”

So Zampino called the Office of Sustainability and spoke with Recycling Coordinator Heather Stearns. Stearns quickly set up an appointment with Zampino and gave him a tour of a campus warehouse of furniture waiting to be repurposed. Zampino didn’t realize that the warehouse resides in the university’s former student center – about 15 feet directly across the breezeway from his office. 

“When we entered, it kind of reminded me of the ‘Island of Misfit Toys,’” Zampino laughed, “but hey, there’s a lot of good stuff in there and let’s not forget, there’s an industry based on used office furniture.

“At our appointed time, Heather arrived with a clipboard, tape measure, and sticky notes,” Zampino recalled. “As we toured the rooms, I indicated items I thought would work, and Heather tagged them.   

“I’m a function-over-form guy, so my ‘desk’ is a now a slab tabletop bookended by two short filing cabinets. I also grabbed a lateral filing cabinet for storing supplies I need when we exhibit the MBA program at career events… and I found a matched pair of gently used visitor’s chairs. As it turned out, the only original office item I kept was my desk chair.”

“The best part?” Zampino asked rhetorically, “I didn’t have to lift a finger. Scott Leighton, supervisor of the Facilities Operations Moving Crew, had his staff, a pair of student workers, deliver and set up the new furniture, and take the old stuff away.” 

“The Office of Sustainability works closely with the Facilities Operations Moving Crew to ensure that furniture no longer needed in an office on campus is properly stored,” Stearns noted. “The first priority is always to repurpose the furniture to other offices on campus,” she said, “but when excess furniture becomes available, we make every effort to donate it to local non-profits in the New Haven community. We implemented this program in 2017 and have donated hundreds of pieces of furniture helping businesses provide needed services to our community. This also reduces the waste stream here at SCSU, saving thousands of dollars every year in hauling costs,” she explained. 

“’Sustainability’ is one of the four guiding principles in the mission of our School of Business,” Dean Jennifer Robin affirmed. “We’re extremely excited about moving into our new net-zero home in early 2023, but we’re even more excited that our faculty and staff are living our mission today,” she said.

 “And, sometimes, charity begins at home, Stearns observed.  “We’ve already repurposed Mark’s ‘standing desk’ unit to Suzie Huminski [sustainability coordinator], right here in our office.”  


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