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Campus Resources

ETSU Sustainability

LEAFThe Leaders in Environmentally Aware Functioning (LEAF) program is the environmental certification system for student organizations. In order to become certified, groups must adhere to the criteria for the certification level they would like to achieve. View the criteria for each level of certification below.

Note: Before beginning the LEAF process, group leaders must schedule a 15-minute meeting with a sustainability representative; this can occur at a regular meeting or an officer meeting. Email to get started!

Student organizations that become certified through the LEAF program receive access to recycled content paper (available in the SORC) and the LEAF event carts (see more info on the carts below the certification requirements) funded by the Campus Sustainability Fee.


LEAF Certification Levels

Certification Level One: Seed

  • Must allow sustainability representative to meet with entire group (if not already completed)
  • Day-to-day meetings must be sustainable:
    • Paperless meetings (No Mass Handouts)
    • Use of digital copies (emails, record keeping, attendance, etc.) or use only scrap paper when necessary for sign-ups, etc.
  • BYOWB – Bring Your Own Water Bottle! No throw-away bottles, cups, etc. may be used at group meetings

Certification Level Two: Sapling

Must satisfy all requirements in the "Seed" level in addition to the following:

  • Group events and events for students sustainable:
    • Use only recyclables (or better) for events, and compost when possible
  • No plastic water bottles; use pitchers and encourage attendees to use their own drink-ware
  • If tabling, paper handouts are reduced considerably in size and/or QR codes are used
  • BYOU – Bring Your Own Utensils (reusable utensils are available as part of a LEAF event cart – these carts may be checked out in the ETSU Sustainability Office on a semester basis - see below)
  • Must elect a sustainability officer (or delegate these duties to an already existing officer), self-sustaining insofar as these requirements can be maintained and passed down in this capacity
  • Volunteer hours required (see info below or speak to your LEAF representative) 

To obtain Tree Level, organizations must "pay it forward." This simply means to do something (a program or event) which is related to environmental issues with the purpose of making ETSU greener. There are no strict guidelines for this, just be creative.

To give an example, French Club could set up a table with information one day or conduct a regular meeting (open to all students) with the purpose of educating students about the measures France is taking to be greener. Again, you have creative license, so do not feel limited to the example provided above.

Certification Level Three: Tree

Must satisfy all Seed and Sapling requirements in addition to the following:

  • Advanced training seminar for sustainability officer with Kathleen Moore, Director of Sustainability
  • LEAF requirements must be passed down to a newly elected sustainability officer when an existing sustainability officer leaves the group
  • No single-use cookware serving-ware
  • If using flyers for advertising, use only 100% post-consumer recycled content paper (available in the D.P. Culp Center SORC for LEAF certified student groups)
  • Volunteer hours required (see info below or speak with your LEAF representative)


The hours required of a LEAF certified organization vary depending on the size of the group (outlined below). There will be event opportunities provided by LEAF but certified organizations are not limited to these events.

Groups with 2-20 members: 8 hours
Groups with 21-50 members: 12 hours
Groups with 51 + members: 16 hours


LEAF Event Carts

These carts are available in the ETSU Sustainability Office for LEAF certified groups. Your group may check out a cart for the semester for use in events that will involve food. The cart includes the following reusable dinnerware materials (20 each): plates, bowls, cups, forks, spoons, and knives. Please return the carts to the ETSU Sustainability Office in good condition (dry and clean) at the end of the semester. Email for more info.

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