The University of Georgia (UGA), as the oldest state-chartered university in the United States, is a new leader in improved standards of campus operations and cleanliness. In October 2008, UGA completed the certification process for the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) with honors. CIMS is the first consensus-based management standard that outlines the primary characteristics of a successful, quality cleaning organization. Receiving this certification helps organizations to differentiate themselves and demonstrate their commitment to quality cleanliness and customer satisfaction. It''s a prestigious symbol of excellence and one that UGA holds proudly.
Theirs is the first campus with a "green" program to be certified under the CIMS standards. When UGA administrators first set out to establish their "Green Cleaning Corridors" program, they turned to John Chittom (CIMS expert consultant, Athens Janitor Supply) to answer questions and facilitate CIMS training. Chittom made several recommendations, including upgrading the vacuums UGA used. EPA data shows that indoor air pollutant levels are up to five times higher than outdoor—and considering that people on campuses spend up to 90% of their time indoors, maintaining indoor air quality (IAQ) is critical. A quality high-efficiency vacuum cleaner used consistently within a comprehensive cleaning program is one of the most effective tools for achieving green standards of indoor cleanliness.
Chittom encouraged the UGA administrators to choose vacuums manufactured by ProTeam, the Vacuum Company®, calling them "air filters first and vacuums second." He said he recommended ProTeam vacuums because they meet all The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval/Green certification criteria—the highest standards for machine operation and performance. Plus, he said, "ProTeam vacuums don''t break down," evidenced in them showing up the least amount of any vacuums in the repairs shops he has worked with.
Kimberly Thomas, UAG PPD Assistant Director—Services, found an instant increase in cleanliness and productivity by replacing their old machines with ProTeam backpack vacuums. "We switched to ProTeam vacuums for better air quality and technological improvements with (our cleaning) equipment. ProTeam''s equipment is more ergonomic and the staff loves it." She says that IAQ has dramatically improved as the amount of dust inside the halls and classrooms has diminished. She also believes that the overall health of the UGA custodial staff has improved, helping to reduce the absenteeism and improve staff retention.
Prior to switching to ProTeam, vacuuming on campus was not scheduled on a consistent basis, and the results were telling even with a custodial staff of 326 members. Now, the cleaning crews incorporate more frequent vacuuming schedules into their daily work assignments and are very pleased with the comfort and ease-of-use of the ProTeam backpack vacuums. They say they appreciate how much faster and easier it is to maneuver around desks and through large halls in the 275 buildings on campus. And the number of equipment repairs has dramatically reduced since switching to ProTeam vacuums. Thomas says that all of these factors have not only contributed to a happier staff but to an increase in overall cost savings.
"We are very happy with the service, and (with the) positive feedback our staff and campus clients have provided about the use of our ProTeam equipment. We selected ProTeam because of the high quality and craftsmanship, ergonomic design and most importantly, the ability of the equipment to produce great results."
Because of its leadership in being a certifiably green, clean campus, UGA received an "honorable mention" for the 2008 Green Cleaning Award given by American Schools and Universities Magazine. Thomas says that UGA is implementing ProTeam''s Team Cleaning® system this year, where four types of specialists concentrate on defined cleaning tasks. This is yet one more step UGA is taking in solidifying its place on the frontline of increased productivity, health and happiness on campus.