The University of Colorado's Arts and Sciences Student Government recently announced a plan to cut its paper usage by 90 percent, saving approximately 1,800 pieces of paper every semester.
The Arts and Sciences Student Government will provide its 10 members with electronic copies of necessary documents, instead of making a minimum of 15 copies for every meeting. Important meeting information will be sent to members and cost centers via email, allowing members to print pages only as needed.
While the savings might seem small, ASSG representative Gregory Carlson said the move was not meant to save thousands on paper costs. The reduction is intended to show students that the administration is serious about cutting costs, even if it means small moves.
The administration promised to make college more affordable for students during last spring's campaign and Carlson said this is the CU Student Government staying true to its word.
CUSG president Will Taylor said ASSG's efforts are in direct alignment with the overall goals of the administration to eliminate wasted student fees.
"The paper reduction serves the sustainability portion of our objectives by mitigating the Arts and Sciences Student Government's negative impact on the environment while simultaneously keeping college affordable by cutting the costs associated with paper supply purchases," Taylor said.
As paper reduction and sustainability in general continue to take over the CU campus, Jack DeBell, development director of recycling at the Environmental Center, said the paper reduction could encourage other departments to follow suit.
"I wouldn't be surprised if ASSG sets a positive example for the other college representatives to follow," DeBell said. "I've seen recent CUSG leg council meetings where every college wants to do their part, so I do think this could potentially start a pattern of paper reduction."
So far, none of the other college representatives have reported a plan to reduce paper use, but CUSG members said they hope the change becomes a common trend.
The plan was initiated by former ASSG representative Alyssa Bamonti at the end of the spring semester and was finalized last week, Carlson said.
"ASSG prints about 2,000 copies every semester and there's no reason to continue using that much paper when we don't need to," Carlson said.
The reduction will help the overall goals of the university in achieving a 20 percent paper reduction by the year 2012, DeBell said.
"This is just another example of CUSG's efforts to reduce waste on campus and improve sustainability," DeBell said.
Carlson continues to impress that the move is minimal as far as cost effectiveness and efficiency for overall campus benefit, but hopes that ASSG's initiative will rub off and result in much bigger achievements.
"We're just doing our part," Carlson said. "Who knows, if everyone gets on board, we could be one of the first student governments in the nation to go completely paperless."