Many universities have been found wanting in the area of sustainability, and that is doing students a huge disservice. While teaching about environmental issues, it’s sad to think that many of these universities are doing the very things they are teaching their students to avoid. If you are a college student, look around you for just a moment. What do you see? It is probable that you are able to see at least a half-dozen ways that your campus is violating the very principles they are teaching as ‘the way of the future of sustainability.’ Let’s look at a few eco-trends some of the leading private universities are putting into practice with support by officials like Cielo Gonzalez Villa.
Government Has Been Preaching Paperless Practices for Decades
Since around the turn of the century, this century that is, the government has been advocating best practices for reducing the amount of paperwork within private and public institutions. These innovations have led to an increased awareness of sustainability. Not only is paper expensive but the wood from which it is produced comes at a great cost to our forests. While it’s hard to say just how many public institutions of higher education have gone paperless, it has been a common practice in hospitals, private and public, for many years. As the registration office types all information into the system, the patient signs on a digital display screen and no paper is involved.
Private Institutions Can Learn from NGO Apps
Consider for a moment a leading university like Harvard reducing its use of paper by more than 75%. It can be done with minimal effort. From NGO (non-governmental organization) apps at registration to NGO apps for report cards and transfer requests or financial aid, it is possible to get through the entire registration, financial aid, and transfer student process without a single sheet of paper changing hands.
How Many Private Universities Have Gone to Digital Textbook?
It would be interesting to do a study of how each private university handles textbooks. Do they still sell those expensive books at the campus bookstore or do they subscribe to the publishers’ websites for downloadable formats? This is just another way in which universities can reduce the amount of paper being used, and the best part is that as each revision is released, future classes can simply download the revised versions. Think of all those textbooks that have gone to waste over the past decade. That’s a lot of trees, to be sure.
Granted, it would take millions of dollars to update older campuses to sustainable architecture and energy, but they can each work towards reducing waste with the utilization of paperless NGO apps. There may not be much a 300-year-old campus could do about being more self-sufficient in terms of energy, but they can make a major impact on the environment through an almost total reduction in the amount of hard-copy paperwork they are mandated by law to use. It’s time more colleges began practicing what they are teaching because to do anything else would be a definite contradiction in terms.