Baylor can move toward paperless future

By Lily Parkin | Contributor

If you take a look around Baylor University’s campus, you would find students with stacks of papers, thick textbooks and lots and lots of PawPrints being used.

In the two years I have been a Baylor student, I have to admit I have been guilty of participating in several paper-wasting activities. As a student body and a campus, I say we can all do better to reduce the amount of waste we contribute to as students.

According to the digital data management website iDashboards, the best way to reduce waste from paper and help the environment in your daily life is to use digital technology.

“Americans use 650 pounds of paper a year on average. U.S. businesses use around 21 million tons of paper each year and throw out enough to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City (that’s 2,794 miles if you were curious),” the website said.

The world around us is now available at our fingertips, and we can reduce our environmental impact by cutting down in ways that are already readily available to us. Every Baylor student has access to Canvas, which has a built-in ability to turn in assignments and documents. This saves students from having to print out excess papers, all of which will end up being thrown out eventually anyway.

Baylor provides many high-quality desktop and laptop computers in the tech center and in various computer labs around campus, if students don’t have one of their own. If Baylor and its professors adopted online textbooks from the many websites that provide this service, it would reduce need for large printed textbooks.

One concern might be that old-school grading on the part of professors is essential to giving feedback in classes such as English, math, or journalism assignments. One costly but cost effective solution would be tablets for such professors. This would allow for papers and assignments to still be turned in remotely, and still give the professors the ability to write out notes and edits.

Now, I do understand there isn’t a reasonable future in which Baylor or any college campus will be 100% paperless, but I argue that there are lots of ways we can choose cleaner options as a campus and individually to reduce the amount of paper we use and how we treat the world around us.

Going digital improves accessibility, reduces cost, reduces human error and allows for quicker reaction and collaboration. On top of all of that, it helps preserve the environment, one campus at a time.

Lily is a sophomore marketing major from San Jose, Calif.