Dropping Paper, Adding Awareness

Chris Gonnella

Just one week into the new school year, the growing trend of “going green” has already begun to plant its roots in the Colgate campus. For example, the Office of the Registrar has updated this year’s Add/Drop process. Students did not receive a copy of their Drop/Add schedule in their Colgate mailboxes. Instead, Add/Drop schedules were posted on the Colgate portal, affording students who wished to participate in Add/Drop the ability to print off their own copies. The idea behind the move went beyond simple paper conservation.

According to Registrar’s Assistant Sue Solloway, “It’s easier for students. Students don’t need to come in to the office and request a copy like they had to in the past. Now it’s on the portal and they can print off a copy whenever they want, wherever they want.”

So far the feedback on the move has been extremely positive, so positive in fact that the Office of the Registrar will soon announce the next move in their paperless approach: online course booklets.

“The mailroom told us they’d find countless course booklets scattered on the floor,” Solloway said. “Plus, once we printed the course booklets they were essentially outdated.”

With the course booklet available solely online, the Registrar would be able to focus on keeping the booklet up-to-date. More importantly, the Registrar has calculated that the move to go paperless will save over 72,000 sheets of paper this year alone.

And the Registrar’s paperless campaign is simply the beginning.

“The decisions made by the Registrar are in line with an administrative movement to increase sustainability over time at every level,” Vice President and Dean of College Charlotte Johnson said. “In fact, President Chopp has put together a Presidential Advisory Board with the hope of taking ideas from across the campus community and finding the resources to implement those ideas.”

Some of the ideas making their way onto the agenda include a mandating double-sided printing, adding recycling bins everywhere on campus (including individual student rooms), and distributing “green” bags to cut down on plastic bag usage.

All of the ideas have come from the student community and have made their way up the hill through various student endeavours, including the Wellness Initiative, the Presidential Advisory Board, and the summer Leadership Institute.

“There are a lot of projects [and] ideas out there that bubble up from the students. We just want to help put them forward and see some results,” Dean Johnson said.

When asked about the rumor swirling around campus that the ban on beer kegs would be lifted in an effort to reduce unnecessary aluminum can waste, Dean Johnson laughed.

“That’s just a rumor. Kegs go far beyond an environmental issue; they are a social issue — something that touches upon the culture of drinking on campus. Kegs have been banned for a long time and will continue to be.” Apparently, there are some policies on which the University is not willing to “go green.”