Stanford launches ‘My Cardinal Green’ rewards program for students, faculty, staff

Under Sustainable Stanford’s new program, faculty, students and staff can receive rewards for doing simple but meaningful acts that reduce the university’s environmental footprint.

Stanford has launched a new program, My Cardinal Green, to reward faculty, students and staff for the valuable actions they take to make the university a more sustainable campus.

The program is focused on the contributions individuals can make to minimize their environmental impact and maximize their sustainability efforts.

The program was developed by Sustainability and Business Services (SSBS) within the Department of Sustainability & Energy Management in support of Sustainable Stanford, the university-wide effort to reduce Stanford’s environmental impact, preserve resources and show sustainability in action.

Commuters boarding the Marguerite shuttle

The ‘My Cardinal Green’ program rewards staff for simple but meaningful acts that reduce the university’s environmental footprint; for instance, using more efficient, sustainable means of transportation. (Image credit: Kate Chesley)

“We recognize that behaviors can have a significant impact on our sustainability efforts,” said Fahmida Ahmed, director of SSBS. “In creating this program, we wanted to make sustainability engagement relevant to our campus environment and emphasize the collective impact that our actions can have.”

Ahmed said the Sustainable Stanford worked with partners across campus to identify opportunities for faculty, students and staff on a variety of topics, including energy conservation, waste minimization, efficient transportation and lab operations.

Under My Cardinal Green, participants will receive customized lists of suggested actions – in energy, water, transportation, food, waste, purchasing and campus life – and earn points toward a reward for performing them. The platform includes a range of actions, from those users can do to “Take a First Step,” such as unplugging appliances when not in use, to more significant actions like removing personal printers or starting a carpool.

The reward allows Stanford to recognize the valuable contribution each person makes to the overall vitality of the campus. In that approach, it is like the Stanford BeWell Program, which provides incentives for actions focused on healthy lifestyles.

“So many people across campus work to advance sustainability on a daily basis,” said Lauren Hennessy, outreach program manager for SSBS.

“My Cardinal Green is the portal through which we can begin to connect the individuals, programs and resources available at Stanford to help guide people toward sustainable choices they can make to positively impact our campus environment, while giving them a sense of how that impact adds up in terms of resource savings when evaluated collectively.”

To participate, faculty, students and staff begin by logging into My Cardinal Green using a valid SUNet ID. The program is open to enrolled students and part-time and full-time employees at the university and at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. At this time, the program is not open to contracted workers or bargaining unit employees.

Here’s how the program works:

  • Take the confidential survey. Individual survey results will not be published or shared, and will be used only to help customize the experience for participants.
  • Track progress on a personal dashboard. After completing the survey, participants will be automatically re-directed to their personal dashboards, where they can track their progress and results for the year.
  • Perform suggested actions. Throughout the year, as participants complete actions, they submit them for verification, including any relevant documentation, through the dashboard. A member of the My Cardinal Green staff will confirm that the actions have been received and will notify participants when they have been approved. They will also notify participants if they need to submit more information and if more steps are required. If actions involve working with others in their department or with Sustainable Stanford, the submission will be reviewed before it is approved.
  • Receive a reward. As participants complete actions, they earn two to 45 points, based on their difficulty. Once participants have earned 100 points, they will be eligible to receive a reward of their choice: a $75 cash reward; a sustainability-enhancing item or experience; or donating the money back to sustainability projects on campus. Participants can continue earning points after they have redeemed their incentive, and will be eligible for additional rewards as they do so.