AU strides to decrease carbon footprint by 2020

AU offices have reduced the amount of paper used on campus this year because:

The Center for Teaching, Research and Learning certified 485 courses as “green,”

Payroll stopped offering paper paychecks to employees in February and AU’s library has switched to 100 percent recycled paper in March.

“This will help us achieve our institutional goal of sending zero waste to landfills, as well as our ambitious carbon neutrality target of 2020,” Joshua Kaplan, sustainability outreach specialist in AU’s Office of Sustainability, previously told the Eagle.

Courses Go “Green”

CTRL evaluates professors’ sustainability efforts inside and outside the classroom through a questionnaire. A class is ranked by its amount of eco-friendly practices on a scale of one to four “apples,” according to CTRL’s Green Teaching website.

“One of the major parts of the program is to reduce paper consumption, and an easy step faculty can take is to post their syllabus for the class on Blackboard and not print it out for every student,” Sarah Howell, the green teaching program coordinator, said in an email.

Posting the 485 green-certified course syllabi on Blackboard has saved approximately 140,000 sheets of paper.

“Assuming that there are between 25 and 35 students in a class, and syllabi is about 10 pages, if each [green certified] course posted their syllabus online, that saved a total [about 150,000] pages of paper,” Howell said in an email.

Payroll Office Tosses Paper

The Office of Payroll transitioned AU to a “paperless” payment system in February.

Direct deposit was the “preferred” option for employees, because it reduced paper consumption and therefore minimized environmental waste and pollutants, according to a memo released on Nov. 9.

AU faculty and staff also had the option to switch to a TotalPay Card, similar to a debit card.

The switch was part of the Office of Payroll’s “2012 Green Initiative,” according to their website.

Library Works to Cut Down on Paper

The library changed the kind of paper they buy to become more environmentally friendly. Bender Library used paper that was 30 percent recycled, however, they have now transitioned to 100 percent recycled paper in all printers, library specialist and member of the Library Green Team Liam Tooher said.

By using only recycled paper, the library has prevented the creation of 35,724 tons of greenhouse gases, Tooher said. However, the paper costs $8.36 more per box than the paper that was 30 percent recycled, according to Library Monitor Specialist Lindsey Christensen.

AU uses 390,000 sheets of paper every calendar year and a significant portion of library printing are class readings from e-reserves, Tooher said.

Next year, the library would like to see a drop in printed pages, he said.

“We want students to do their academic readings, but to consider reading them on a computer or e-reader,” Tooher said.

Student Green Eagles have also helped with paperless initiatives at AU this year.

“I believe the Green Eagles have been successful in making students more aware of sustainability issues and that has impacted their personal habits,” Josephine Chu, a Green Eagle, said. “For next year, I hope we can expand our outreach programs so that more students are aware of what sustainability efforts are taking place at AU and how they can get plugged in.”

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