Letter to the Editor Questions Whether SU Is Doing Their Best to go Green

Written by Walker Lukens
Megaphone Guest Writer
The excitement of being back at SU for a new semester always dissolves into the frustration of being back at a school with an enormous workload.

This is particularly frustrating given SU’s new limitations on printing at the computer labs. This is being done in an effort to be a more environmentally-friendly campus.

This is a good thing of course, but the printing system itself is rather poorly designed and isn’t really going to address the problems at SU.

First off, why am I being limited in what I can print while my teachers are not being limited in what they can assign?

I’m definitely going to exceed my limit before the semester.

Yet in an introductory class, I’m being assigned readings that I have to print, I was given a course packet, and I had to buy SIX books that we’re not going to read in their entirety!

Par for the course, in most of my other classes, I’m being asked to print articles nightly for class the next day.

It’s not just the volume of the workload that is frustrating. It’s the fact that the student a.k. a. the most important member in the SU community is being asked to make sacrifices while the professors apparently aren’t.
It is good that we have to print so many things off the internet for our classes. It saves money we would be spending on entire books. It saves paper for the same reasons.

No one should do away with the practice of assigning things online.

I’m frustrated because now we”the students” might have to pay to continue this practice while the academic mall is green and bushy during a drought in central Texas.

I would love to see how much money we’ve spent watering the mall during the last six months. Maybe thats where our endowment went. ZING! 

There is certainly some value to having a green mall. It’s nice to look at. It’s nice to sit on. It’s good for admissions. I think we would say that these things might outweigh the environment costs of maintaining a lush football field in the middle of our campus.
I’m frustrated because under the new reign of surface environmentalism something like the Kazoo couldn’t exist. For the first-years that don’t know, the Kazoo was a small journal created and run by students which was printing in the SU computer labs.

It printed poetry, prose and opinions which did not have an outlet on campus otherwise. I would argue the value of this was worth the printing costs. I’m sad that the people who ran it graduated and that the means to make another one do not exist.

My point is that for every conservation effort we make there is a sacrifice.
It often comes down to a question of what we value as a community. We have identified that we print a lot of paper at Southwestern, but have not placed a value judgment on what we’re printing and why.

I value printed PDFs over half- read books. I value a lush campus over the obvious environmental good it would do if we just stopped watering the mall (Although take note: having the ugliest campus in the southwest for environmental reasons might get us somewhere.)

My concern is that we’re doing things that look good instead of things that address real environmental problems at Southwestern like: Why is there not a bus that goes to downtown Austin every Friday and Saturday? Why don’t we have a Southwestern shuttle that will pick up students in and around town if they’ve had too much to drink and need to come back to campus? Carpooling is environmentally friendly and safe. Why do we still use styrofoam on this campus? Why don’t we compost (or at least pretend to sort) the enormous amount of waste in The Commons. Why are we limiting printing when if we look at paper usage as a whole the bigger problem is half-used expensive books?

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One Response to Letter to the Editor Questions Whether SU Is Doing Their Best to go Green

  1. Janet Hartwick says:

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