Since December 2009, Lasell College has used 104 acres of trees in paper alone. That’s almost 10 million pieces of paper in less than seven years. We are just one small school among a sea of colleges, offices, and homes, who use about 187 billion pounds of paper every year. Jim Ostrow, Vice President of Academic Affairs, recognized how much waste was happening from printing and took the initiative to cut costs.
“We have a responsibility as an institution in the area of environmental stewardship,” Ostrow said. “We also have a responsibility to lower the cost of education.” Wasting paper doesn’t just mean affecting the environment, but also college students’ wallets. The college’s budget for printing and copying last year was over $54,000, due to the cost of paper, ink, and toner. However, this is all money used from our tuition. It also costs money in energy to run the 266 printers on campus.
Ostrow sent an email to all faculty at Lasell encouraging the switch to technology. He asked that everyone follow guidelines in order to reduce printing costs and support the college’s increasing focus on sustainable practices. These guidelines included utilizing Moodle for all course materials and conducting quizzes, prepare for meetings by emailing supporting documents and using note-taking programs rather than handing out hard copies or writing things down on paper, and not printing out emails unless absolutely necessary.
Kathy Zeek, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, has also played a big part in the initiative and urges teachers to visit the TLC if they have any questions or need help in implementing new technology into their classrooms. There, teachers and faculty can find videos, how-to documents and online resources, and she will also be offering workshop opportunities throughout the year.
Hopefully this year, Lasell College can see an improvement in a greener campus and less costly use of resources.