A new environmental certification program was introduced last semester by the ETSU department of sustainability. Leaders in Environmentally Aware Functioning are having their first meeting  at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the D.P. Culp University Center Dining Room 3.

Sustainability officers, students chosen to be in charge of the concept of going green within their organizations, will be present at the meeting. However, organizations that are a part of LEAF but don’t yet have sustainability officers are also welcome.

“These sustainability officers are responsible for implementing sustainability within their organization, and this meeting will bring them together, not only to discuss and exchange ideas, but to also allow us to provide them with resources,” LEAF Coordinator Kevin Carlson said. “We’re going to seek as much feedback as the organizations are willing to give us because at the end of the day, this program is what they make of it.”

LEAF coordinators sought to have a collective meeting to get everyone’s ideas out on the table and prepare for this semester.

“I definitely have high hopes for leaf this semester and organizations seem enthusiastic about the program and becoming more environmentally aware,” LEAF Coordinator Alexandria Exley said. “I hope more people will become involved and take steps to take care of the earth; it’s a cool program with great goals!”

Once organizations become involved with LEAF, they can advance by levels of environmental awareness. It gives organizations an incentive to continuously make a conscious effort to improve their sustainability efforts.

“As organizations progress basically through the checklist, they advance through the tiers of the system and officially become the next level,” Carlson said. “The levels are seed, sapling and tree. They know what they need to do to progress, but it’s really up to them how far they will go.”

Carlson emphasized the importance of keeping up with organizations and their progress throughout the program. He hopes to gather the most feedback to see what it is each individual organization needs.

“We’re going to talk about what they like and don’t like, what they need and we are going to try to determine what is going well and what isn’t to determine what needs fixing,” Carlson said. “We’ve got some green fee funded items to promote sustainability that we will distribute at the meeting.”

While this meeting has the primary purpose of bolstering the success and involvement of those already in LEAF, organizations that are interested can contact the Department of Sustainability to learn more about getting involved.

“Taking care of the earth is very important; it’s so beautiful, and it’s our home,” Exley said. “I wanted to take every step I could as an individual to keep it clean and healthy, and LEAF is a great way for people and organizations to do that.”