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SMC Library raises eco-friendly awareness

| Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a three-part series exploring the new initiatives at the Cushwa-Leighton Library, which will showcase the life of Sister Madeleva Wolff, cater to students’ writing needs and raise awareness for eco-friendly printing.

In an effort to conserve resources and create awareness of ways to be more environmentally friendly when printing, the Saint Mary’s Cushwa-Leighton Library has spearheaded the initiative to display used printer-paper boxes on the main floor of the Library.

The idea first came about during a meeting between a member of the Library’s outreach team and reference team and librarian Jill Hobgood, she said.

“We have been talking this idea over for a few years now about how much paper goes through the printer on the main floor [of the Library],” Hobgood said. “While working the reference desk, we [librarians] constantly reload the printer throughout the day.”

Hobgood said the outreach and reference teams were stunned by the official number of pages produced each year by the particular main floor printer, totaling nearly 500,000.

“The printer is by far the busiest printer on campus—more than the second and third printers in the Library combined,” she said. “That’s a lot of paper.”

In the 2013-14 school year, the pages printed and toner used cost the library almost $8,000, which could be better spent on new books or journals, Hobgood said. In addition, the amount of paper printed totaled 80 empty printer-paper boxes — the equivalent of 33 trees — each containing 5,000 sheets of paper.

The idea to create a display of empty printer boxes and stack them near the printer is a tangible way to show students how much paper is used and wasted, Hobgood said.

“We want to try to show people in a visual way how the resources are overused,” she said. “This way, having it right in front of you, it is really impactful.”

Hobgood said there is also a bulletin board nearby the printer displaying other useful facts about this initiative for students to read over while waiting for their pages.

“We aren’t suggesting that people just stop printing, but there are little things you can do that will add up in the long run,” she said. “For example, making sure to print on both sides of a page, or deciding not to print a title page of an article … things like that will save paper as well as print limit money.”

Hobgood said many of the College’s professors have remained receptive to the goal of saving paper by giving students the option to read or complete assignments online, rather than printing all the items needed for class.

Senior Madison Maidment said she noticed the display during the first week of classes and was immediately interested.

“I am always surprised by Saint Mary’s ‘green’ initiatives, and it is no wonder that the Library followed suit,” Maidment said. “The display is small now but is growing, and it has already made me more conscious about how much I’m printing at a time.”

Maidment said it is nice to have a daily reminder in the Library to be environmentally aware, as it is the first place many students start their days.

“I hate throwing away huge stacks of paper, and it’s nice that so many of my classes have transitioned to offering assignments and readings online,” Maidment said. “Part of being ‘green’ and eco-friendly is doing little things each day, and it’s awesome that the Library is playing its part.”





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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

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