Please consider me, said the tree

We are starting a paper awareness program soon at the College. Even before starting my new sustainability position, I am stunned at how we use paper to do our jobs.  As faculty, I saw colleagues print reams of paper to share the internet with students. I saw one-sided printing of tests using 14 font burning through 6 pages times 50 students. I saw faculty print copies of documents that they forgot and didn’t even retrieve.  Responsibly, once a week, these unclaimed copies were recycled. Currently, I am housed in Engineering and Design.  BIG paper is used here as architectural designs.  This department also services all the bidding for engineering and building projects across the 4 campuses and 3 education centers.  Many copies are printed to keep track of bids and for reviews in bidding meetings. Recently, a "direction" was given from the Facilities Manager–she wants her departments to use less paper.  I congratulated her on her direction and reached out to those who would be faced with how to do that.  "More memory," one staff told me. To not print means saving information in another way. At meetings, I am now the "paper lady."  When handouts are distributed, they look at me and apologize with an embarrassed grin.  Do I look like a tree, I wonder? But I too smile because awareness is spreading.  I discovered a tool on my desktop that has helped me enormously in gathering, organizing and playing with information–OneNote.  It is also a treeless way to collaborate.  I found one other person in the district that has OneNote and we plan to teach this fun tool during Professional Development Day in Oct 09.  The secret to using technology, though, is not to print what you can keep as vibrating electrons in cyberspace.  This too I want to teach.

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