Administrators Explain Value of Paperless Goal (Part I)

by Owen Williams
Guest Columnist

I was disappointed to read [The Rambler’s] recent article on the paperless initiative, “Williams responds,” since I was unaware of having responded to any specific concerns.

After an enormous effort on the part of trustees, faculty, staff and students, the Transy community proposed a comprehensive, long-term strategic plan that called for a more sustainable campus. It is worth noting that the plan also called for an enhancement of campus technology. Since the creation of that plan, various constituencies have met to discuss ways in which to reduce Transy’s carbon footprint. As part of those discussions, I challenged the campus to become the first paperless campus in the country. Going paperless would render us both environmentally friendly and technologically savvy, thus achieving two of our primary goals.

Last year alone Transy consumed 2,588,281 sheets of paper, the equivalent of 2,575 pages per student, requiring the destruction of 312 trees. Is there anyone in this community who thinks that such unbridled avarice and carelessness makes sense or is in any way sustainable?

One of your letter writers suggested that this campaign is a “money-grabbing print scheme.” Nothing could be further from the truth. For Transy to become paperless, the university will have to spend substantial sums on electrical monitors and equipment that costs far more than what we currently pay for paper. That stated, no part of this initiative will increase tuition.

There are some on campus who have asked for a definition of “paperless.” Yet it seems altogether premature to worry about the finer points of this campaign given the exorbitant paper consumption currently taking place on our campus.

When I was in college, in the early 1970s, America confronted its first energy crisis and oil shortage. Nothing of significance was done about it, such that today we are still reliant upon foreign oil as we continue to wreak havoc on our globe. Protecting our environment is a serious matter of enormous responsibility. I hope today’s Transy students will live more sustainably than previous generations and not have to look back with regret on all the good they might have done.

Becoming paperless will not be easy. A project of this sort requires effort from everyone, but success will make us all quite proud. It is the right thing to do.
Dr. Owen Williams is the president of Transylvania University.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: