Author: The Occidental Weekly Editorial Board
Last semester, senior art major Auddie Benavides spent seven days gathering excess paper from each printer in the Academic Commons as part of an art project. At week’s end, she displayed the seven piles—none less than a foot tall—at the building’s entrance for everyone to see. The display was a shocking visual representation of just how much waste 2,123 pressured and preoccupied college students can produce. ITS’ new printing system, which requires the swipe of an identification card in order to complete print requests, is the first step toward efficiently mitigating students’ irresponsible printing habits.
Despite the system’s sustainable qualities and its user-friendly interface, complaints about it dominate the suggestion boards posted by ITS near each printer. For a student body that voted to donate $10 of each student’s tuition to a Sustainability Fund, boasts Urban and Environmental Policy as one of its largest majors and is readily aware of the college’s less-than-stellar carbon footprint, it is inconsistent to complain about an administrative initiative that reduces waste at no cost to students.
The swipe process requires a negligible amount of effort. The additional moment one might spend printing are not legitimate grounds for complaint. If Occidental students cannot organize and practice this very minimal form of activism, then they cannot claim to hold concerns about the environment or living progressively.
We should applaud James Urhich and the ITS staff for bringing this system to campus. It is exactly the type of initiative that Occidental should pursue: a small, relatively cheap program that does not require tuition hikes or a blow to the endowment but manages to improve the state of the college. The ripple effects of the new printing system will reach many areas of life at Occidental, and it will surely not go unnoticed by the representatives from the College Sustainability Report Card when they visit campus next year.
At Occidental, sustainability is a constant topic of conversation, but it is time that we close the gap between what we practice and what we preach. Thanks to ITS, the first step has been taken for us. Perhaps now we might pay more attention to where we throw away our rubbish, how much time we spend in the shower, and whether or not we drive to the Cooler.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of the Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the Editorial Board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental community.
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