Green syllabi

In an effort to put “going green” into the minds of professors and students, UVUSA is asking professors to stop printing out their syllabi at the beginning of each semester.

In a letter to Vice President of Academics Ian Wilson, which the council has asked him to pass along to professors, the executive branch of UVUSA stated that this is “an easy step towards saving paper and promoting a green, environmentally friendly campus.”

Some may wonder what type of impact such a move can have, a question that UVUSA’s Executive Vice President Cameron Duckworth was happy to answer.

“If you take 33,000 students and if we average that each takes about three classes (that’s one less than normal, but not all students are full time) and that the syllabus is only 1 page, we are talking about nearly 100,000 pieces of paper,” Duckworth said.   Duckworth also notes that most classes on his schedule have a syllabus of about 6 pages, which means he estimates that students are given between 100,000 and 600,000 pages of syllabi per semester.

Duckworth believes that the greatest effect of the elimination of paper syllabi by professors would be the example it would give to students.

“I think our generation is a generation of forgetters,” he said. “We all intend to do good and to be good people, but we often forget; there is just so much going on in all of our lives.”

According to Duckworth, if professors took the initiative to eliminate paper syllabi, it might help remind students to be more conscious of the need to go green.  Duckworth, however, does not think that all students should be forced to adhere to this idea. Those who want to print their syllabi can. “The real reason is to help minimize wasted paper,” Duckworth said. “If a student studies better by writing notes on paper, then by all means, that is how they should study. The idea with the syllabus is that students who actually want a paper copy can print it off themselves [with their print credits].”

Although the suggestion to professors is only that – a suggestion, Duckworth and his fellow UVUSA members hope that it will be another step in moving toward a greener campus.

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