Greener Campus


The SOU Sustainability Council is considering making a big change to something that

may seem small—how the University handles printing.

As it turns out, according to IT Department head John Stevenson, the amount of printing

could be centralized and lessened making the University greener.

This came out in a recent Sustainability Council meeting where students and campus

leaders discussed ways of making the campus more sustainable in its practices.

Stevenson proposed to centralize the university’s printing and copying activities

to combat the costs and amount of paper that is generated from the campus-wide

tendency to print documents in excess and the vast number of devices that are being

used. A survey of the university found that “there were four-hundred [printing]

devices across the campus,” according to Stevenson, and that SOU had printed over

three million pages the previous year, which used approximately thirty-one trees,

and released eleven thousand kilograms of CO2. “The irony of it was that we found

some departments, such as the ESC had more printers than they did employees.”

The council was quick to move on this issue and voted seven to zero in favor of

Stevenson’s proposal to begin efforts in reducing printing on campus.

Craig Morris, vice president of Finance and Administration, also proposed that two of

SOU’s four boilers be replaced by a co-generation plant. Morris told the council that SOU

received a grant 18 months ago to perform a thorough study of running the plant on

biomass and that “ all of the data has come back to suggest that biomass is a very

feasible alternative.” Town hall style meetings will be taking place soon to garner

community feedback.

Additionally the group began to consider the idea of doing carbon emission offsets

related to air-travel.  Morris spoke on the importance  of students and faculty being able

to travel if they need to: “The intention here isfor the campus to recognize that this is a

part of our carbon foot print that we can’t just eliminate.” The council agreed

unanimously to start dealing with this issue by charging a one-percent fee on every intra-

continental airline ticket purchased and that the money from those fees be used to aid

carbon offset efforts.

Other issues ideas to make the campus more sustainable include a possible bottled

water ban, campus ride-share efforts, and pollinator-friendly landscape practices.

The SOU Sustainability council, which was established to aid the president and

the executive council in matters of sustainability and environmental impact,

also manages an array of sub-committees that deal with current issues of food,

transportation, education, research, etc. surrounding Southern Oregon University.

The council meets again next quarter.