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U-M honored for highest levels of sustainability, cleanliness

  • Contact Julie Metea, 313-320-3937,

U-M honored for highest levels of sustainability, cleanlinessANN ARBOR—Two departments at the University of Michigan have been recognized by the cleaning industry for exceeding the highest standards in care and sustainability­­.

University Housing and Plant Building and Grounds Services have been granted Cleaning Industry and Management Standard (CIMS) Certification and honors for maintaining Green Buildings by the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), a recognition widely viewed as the highest level of achievement attained in the cleaning Industry.

The CIMS designation occurs after six months of documentation, staff interviews and onsite observations by ISSA. CIMS organizations demonstrate to their customers on a daily basis that they run their business as efficiently and effectively as any Fortune 500 company. The university has put much strategy and thought into its overall processes and systems to maintain buildings for students, staff, faculty and the community.

"The University of Michigan has made the commitment to be one of the 'best of the best' cleaning organizations in the world and leaders in changing how the world views cleaning. This organization is one of the most unique I have seen," said Bruce Stark, an assessor for the ISSA.

In his certification report, Stark further noted that Michigan Housing cares for its staff and, in turn, the staff assures that U­-M students have clean, healthy, living environments.

Marilyn De La Roche, director of University Housing, said she is "pleased with the award, and it simply acknowledges publicly what we have long known: we have an exceptional staff who cares deeply about the university, their work and our students."

Beyond industry cleaning standards, U-M implements sustainable practices across operations. For example, the team switched its core cleaning system to Aqueous Ozone, a green method which eliminates the need for many chemicals. It is rated as a sanitizer and kills 99.999 percent of test bacteria within 30 seconds. Aqueous Ozone is used in approximately 90 percent of residence hall cleaning and throughout University Unions.

"The university puts great effort into standards for safety, comfort, hospitality and sustainability. Our staff work together for the highest standard of care and we're proud of our team and this achievement," said Loren Rullman, associate vice president for Student Life.

Early in 2007, the management team at Plant Building and Grounds Services began the process of gathering documentation for the new ISSA Cleaning Management Standard in hopes that with certification, the department would be a proven leader among cleaning organizations.

After an on­site evaluation, the department was recommended for the very first CIMS certification awarded to any organization. In 2012, the department was awarded the CIMS Re­certification with Honors. And in August 2015, Plant Building and Grounds Services was awarded the CIMS Re­certification and Green Building with Honors.

"This has been a learning process, and the department has shown with each on­site evaluation, that we have taken recommendations and turned them into action in order to create a safer, cleaner, more desirable working and learning environment. The ISSA certification process was certainly an informative and positive experience," said John Lawter, associate director of Plant Building and Grounds Services.

The University of Michigan Student Life supports student learning and builds campus community via its programs, services and facilities. Student Life's auxiliary units include University Housing, Michigan Dining, University Unions, Recreational Sports, Conference and Event Services, Auxiliary Marketing, and Auxiliary Capital Projects. Together, this group operates 18 residence halls, hundreds of apartments, seven dining halls, 24 markets and cafes, three student unions, three recreational sports facilities, and several other spaces and facilities, all committed to improving student environments and experiences.


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M planet blue: the sustainable differenceU-M Sustainability fosters a more sustainable world through collaborations across campus and beyond aimed at educating students, generating new knowledge, and minimizing our environmental footprint. Learn more at