Green is the new black. Ever since Al Gore went from boring to trendy, sustainability became the newest buzzword. In theory, this is good. In practice...well, let's just say it is often more marketing than substance.
During the latter weeks of class this semester, just take a wander by the computer center or the Lexis/Westlaw printing center and you'll see right where "green" fits into life. The stacks of single-sided printed pages are astounding and more than a little worrisome.
In the official "College Sustainability Report Card", GWU was graded a B overall for its sustainability efforts. Our esteemed university has a comprehensive website that outlines the detail of its environmentally responsible efforts here: http://www.gwu.edu/explore/aboutgw/strategicinitiatives/sustainability. A large part of the poor grades are related to our lack of transparency regarding the university's endowment, but one look at the law school printing room is enough to know that there is more our department can do to contribute to these efforts.
Coming from a company committed to going carbon-neutral, and actively running an "Earth Council" in pursuit of setting an environmentally responsible example, I have been coerced to act "green" whenever possible. As such, the exorbitant amount of paper usage at semesters' end is pretty glaring.
So, GWU, what would it take to default all printing, law-school-wide, to double-sided? And although it doesn't work for all printers, how hard could it be to use partial or fully-recycled paper when printing? Green benefits aside, the printing center will see a significant cost savings as well. Dare I suggest this go towards a free printing allowance for each student, every year?
In a perfect world, these changes would be easy to make. In a large organization, it can take a year or more to start the process of 'switching' default print settings and paper purchase. All it takes is one person with the purchasing power to make the change. Wait, we all pay tons to go to school here so we can lobby for change - let's start now.