Save paper, save students

Oswego State hosted the annual SUNY Sustainability Conference earlier this week. The two-day event brought together several companies trying to do better for the environment.

Sustaining our environment is something that should be on the mind of our student body. Little things can help, such as recycling that empty Pepsi bottle instead of tossing it in the trash or professors accepting papers electronically rather than requiring students to hand in hard copies. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper accounts for almost half of the recyclables collected. The American Forest & Paper Association reports that 19.9 million tons of paper still ended up in a landfill in 2013.

It’s interesting to think that in an age where we can connect through the Internet, paper still makes up more than half of all recyclables in the U.S., according to the EPA. Most buildings on this campus are littered with blue recycling bins reserved for paper only. Here at The Oswegonian we have a trash bin, a recycling bin for plastics only and a recycling bin for paper only. We go through quite a bit of paper, but we recycle that paper and we recycle that paper on a weekly basis. The paper we buy is already recycled. Hopefully other organizations on campus can say the same.

Professors not taking advantage of the ANGEL learning management system are not helping push the green image that Oswego State has been working on for a while now. With a move to ban all tobacco products in January 2015 in order to clean up the air on campus, one would think a move to reduce paper use would be in the works. Not all classes are required to be on ANGEL nor do they even utilize the service. For classes with multiple papers or lengthy ones, submitting papers online can go a long way with preserving the environment.

This isn’t about eliminating paper. It’s about taking advantage of our technology to reduce our wasted products from the environment. Reducing the waste we have on a daily basis does not take much effort. It’s as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room or even leaving them off during bright points of the day. Small steps can go a long way; don’t be afraid to ask a professor if it would be OK to submit a paper through ANGEL or email in order to reduce the amount of paper being used. It would not be shocking if they liked the idea.

The SUNY Sustainability Conference is an excellent way to get these messages across to the students on campus. With environmentally friendly companies lining the halls of the Marano Campus Center, students have the ability to learn more about sustainability while on the                way to classes.

When you go to throw out some paper this weekend, keep the environment in mind- toss it in the little blue bin.