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WEDNESDAY. SEPTEMBER 29. 2010 // PAGE 3
University expansion affects paperless campaign
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SARAH BETH COSTELLO I Graphics Editcx
As Elon University continues to
implement a paperless campaign in an
effort to reduce paper usage and increase
efficiency within the administration,
the expansion of educational facilities
is causing a rise in paper usage.
“The objective is a reduction in
paper usage for this year or at least no
increase in paper usage," said Elaine
Durr, sustainability coordinator at
In the Feb. 25, 2009 issue of The
Pendulum, an article stated the
university had decreased paper usage
from 10 million sheets of paper to 2.8
million sheets since the beginning of
the paperless campaign in 2006. Since
2009, it has risen to 3 million sheets,
which is about a 7 percent increase.
Chris Fulkerson, assistant vice
president for technology, attributes the
increase to the addition of computer
“We don't want to negatively affect
instruction,” Fulkerson said. “But we
also don’t want to waste paper. It’s a
Elon encourages the use of
technologies that serve as alternatives
to printing. Fulkerson suggests using
network storage, the digital drop box on
Blackboard and a flash drive to reduce
the amount of paper usage.
“Now students can share documents
through Google apps,” he said. “Google
docs are the newest technology that
would further the campaign.”
Older tactics are still in place, such
as the print management system, are
still in use and aim to reduce paper
The print management system,
installed at the beginning of the
campaign in 2006, limits the number
of pages an individual can print free of
charge. For any document that is more
than three pages long, students must
use printing dollars or Phoenix Cash.
In 2006, 10 to 12 bags of paper left
the library per day, but the number of
bags has decreased by 20 to 25 percent.
The library now sees an average of two
to three bags of paper usage per day.
Fulkerson describes the system as
self-check and said he believes students
are now hesitant to print an article that
is 300 pages.
“What it’s saying is ‘are you sure
you want to print this?’” Fulkerson
said. “Before implementing it, students
would see an article and print it and
then see a better article and print that,
leaving the first article to be thrown
The campaign aims to raise student
awareness about the impact printing
has on the environment.
“We want to promote a continual
increase in awareness of paper usage,
which prompts people to think before
they print,” Durr said.
An electronic application process
has also furthered the university’s
sustainability initiatives. The provost’s
office, the human resource office and
the registrar office have adopted a
“If you think of all the paper we
handle on campus and make all those
key offices paperless, we can reduce
our paper consumption by quite a bit,”
An electronic database also
expedites data processing.
“There isn’t as much data entry
because we are taking an online
application and just having the data
flow into the system instead of printing
out data and typing into the datatel
system,” Fulkerson said.
Mail sent to Elon still produces paper
waste, he said.
Although scanning and shredding
material does not reduce the amount of
paper usage, the electronic conversion
of correspondence and transcripts
reduces storage space needed.
Similarly, the admissions office
converts tangible documents into
electronic form. Prospective students
can still apply to Elon using paper, but
the application is scanned and becomes
a paperless document.
“Mail in the admissions office
gets scanned daily and then routed
electronically to the right places,”
The education department
implemented a similar conversion
process to reduce the amount of storage
space needed. Prior to the paperless
campaign, a classroom served as a file
room for teacher certifications and
records concerning alumni. Those
records now exist electronically.
“We converted all paper to electronic
documents and converted the space
back into a classroom," Fulkerson said.
Although recycling is important,
Durr said she does not believe it is the
“Recycling paper that is used is
certainly important,” Durr said, “but
not using it in the first place is the
better option. One should think —
reduce, reuse and then recycle — in
Elon attempts to balance
JULIA MURPHY | Staff Photographer
Elon’s Sierra Club president Eliza Gibson offers her ideas about a possible Green Fund to help
support Elon's Sustinability initiatives.
Students and faculty gathered to
discuss sustainability initiatives and
organize the Student Sustainability
Council in Lindner Hall Thursday
Members from Green Team
Environmental Service Learning
organization, Elon’s Sierra Club chapter
and Sustainable Living Learning
Community were in attendance. A
representative from each organization
described potential projects for
this academic year. These included
contributing to Timber Lake Farms,
creating a compost system and tending
to the community garden outside
of the Truitt Center. Students not
associated with these organizations
voiced concerns as well.
The Sustainable Living Learning
Community aims to increase
awareness of sustainable practices,
plan environmental events and create
a liaison committee to work with
Elaine Durr, Elon's sustainability
“The purpose of the Sustainable
Living Learning Community is to
discuss and implement sustainable
practices in our own lives and their
community,” said freshman Alex Papp,
co-president of thelearning community.
“We should model how to protect and
preserve the environment.”
Eliza Gibson, president of the Sierra
Club, said the organization strives to
promote environmentally - friendly
practices through the creation of a
green fund. The fund would sponsor
activities or structures that would
benefit the environment.
Students discussed implementing
a compost system outside each dining
hall and establishing a solar panel
work station. Application of the funds
or methods to raise funds has not been
“We the people, whoever organizes
the fund, can decide what to do with it,"
Gibson said. "The decisions are up to
anyone interested in getting involved."
Papp suggested adding additional
fees for practices that deter
sustainability, such as bringing a car
A committee is also looking into
bike lanes to encourage people who
live off-campus to walk or bike to class,
“There was a plan done for sidewalks
and bike lanes and lighting,” she said.
“Now it's in the process of getting pieces
of the project funded. It’s a step in the
right direction, but it’s a long way to go
to get full access to sidewalks."
Even if financial support is
available, Gibson expects cooperation
from the student body to influence
these programs success.
awareness (are large
said. “We don’t want a bin
of compost and someone
throwing trash in it. We
need to test that people
respect the process."
support moves programs
toward success, faculty
assistance is needed as
Those present at the
meeting requested an
organic food option in
the dining halls. Ryan Moore, assistant
food service director of ARAMARK, had
made strides to appease the request
for organic food on campus, but they
“We had tried to do organic fruit and
vegetables,” he said. “We had to throw
a lot of it away. Organic is really good,
but the demand is not really there.”
If the costs drop and demand is
there, ARAMARK can work toward
organic products, Moore said.
The Student Sustainability Council
aims to continue these discussions.
“Frequency of meeting times is up
to the students,” Durr said. “My job is
to give them a space
and to let them have a
council is already in
effect, it will undergo
new developments to
increase its influence.
the council will
be comprised of
environmental preservation. Anyone
interested is also able to join.
“In Student SustainalDility Council
last year there were so many good
ideas," Gibson said. “But we need the
people to come together. I found that
once you start meeting every other
week or every few weeks it stopped
They will meet Thursdays at
4:15 p.m. Location has not yet been
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Open for lunch and dinner!
Tuesday through Saturday
116 West Lebanon Avenue, Elon
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“The purpose of the
is to discuss and
practices in our own
lives and community.”