The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Sustainability fair welcomes Yalmaz Siddiqui

While last Thursday’s weather managed to keep many inside, the sustainability fair kept drawing students, faculty and visitors into the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Before exploring the fair, Office Depot’s director of environmental strategy Yalmaz Siddiqui spoke about how to make your office green, and how businesses are now making an effort to use sustainable products.

Siddiqui had an audience of nearly 40 people – many were from maintenance, purchasing, sustainable committees and few were students. He said that in his many efforts for Office Depot, he asks one question: “How do you nudge people in a greener direction?”

There are natural aspects in society that are helping to solve this question. In his hour-long talk, he pushed two main themes: green is no longer binary, nor is it perceived the same way it used to be.

Siddiqui said a product or person’s lifestyle no longer has to be defined as “green” or “not green.” Today, we have an entire spectrum of green. At Office Depot, a customer can buy products that are light green, bright green or dark green. The darker one goes, the greener he goes.

“Eco-purity is not often the path,” he said.

He even feels that it is inefficient to have everything 100 percent green, so people don’t need to feel overwhelmed when trying to help the environment. They can easily go 50 percent recycled or 70 percent green, and still know they’re having an impact.

Along with the newer “shades of green,” the perception of the green lifestyle has changed since the first green movement in the 1960s. Siddiqui said the once popular image of a tree-hugging hippie has been replaced with a “fresh and clean” look.

The citizens who choose to buy and use sustainable products aren’t ones who grow their hair long and wave peace signs, but a larger group that feels the environment is a serious issue for each of us.

According to Siddiqui, these two new perceptions are ones that can motivate people to either slowly or thoroughly go green. One more aspect to consider is the belief that “being green is expensive.” It’s one that is being dismissed.

Companies are constructing their buildings with one color in the plans. Many are using sustainable furniture, building offices with more natural light, efficient energy and less water usage. Not only can they promote that their company constructed a green office building, but they’re benefiting from it financially.

While the businesses spent more on these projects than they would have normally, they received nearly 130 percent back in the first year and a half.

The audience members left discussing how they were each going to make their offices greener. Next stop was the fair.

Around 25 green-practicing businesses filled the Hughes-Trigg ballroom. Each table had a representative who explained how the business produces green products, and how both private and commercial customers can benefit.

Haworth Furniture has some Cradle-to-Cradle certified products. This certification means that the pieces to make the product are green to begin with, and then they can be recycled when the owner no longer wants it.

While Dale Halvorson, Haworth Senior Business Development Manager, is proud of the company’s efforts, they are still continuing to be even better with each production.

“All of our new products are on a rating scale,” he said.

Jay Cole, district manager for National Furniture, a sustainable furniture company, said his company’s furniture fills many rooms on campus,

“We’re known for our wood – many of your professor’s offices have our desks,” he said.

While the fair showed faculty, students and visitors alike that SMU and other businesses are staying green, Yalmaz Siddiqui illustrated how everyone can continue to make even more of an effort.

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