Campus committee promotes paperless initiative

November 13th, 2014



As technology develops and learning styles change, universities are beginning to adapt in order to stay up-to-date. John Carroll University has recently undergone multiple changes recently to try and update our style. This “facelift” is just the beginning for JCU.


John Carroll students and faculty have begun adapting JCU culture to become more eco-friendly and “green.” Part of a new campaign by the Revenue and Spending Committee at JCU is to promote going “paperless.” This committee is geared around reducing unnecessary spending at John Carroll and they believe that next step is to further integrate technology on campus.


The campaign for JCU to go paperless is built off of a desire for sustainability. Supporters of the campaign believe that becoming more tech-savvy and reducing waste is a way  for John Carroll to grow as a modern university. Desmond Kwan, a chemistry professor and member of the Revenue and Spending Committee, explained what spurred him into action. “I went on an Alaskan cruise and was amazed when they were explaining that in a few years, the glaciers could be gone,” said Kwan. “We should be doing something to stop that from happening.”


It’s recommended that both students and faculty reduce waste by not using paper and embracing modern technology. This means buying online versions of textbooks, taking notes on a tablet or laptop and taking advantage of Canvas and other sharing sites. Kwan recommends products such as “2-in-1” laptops, which can be a laptop or tablet, to reduce waste, energy, space and time.


In 2012 and 2013, JCU used over 1.5 million pieces of paper. Using this much paper is not only bad for the environment, but it also requires printers to be constantly running and space for desktops and printers.


There has been little resistance to this campaign since its introduction a little over a year ago. There have also been arguments that more laptops and tablets will result in more e-waste. However, the campaign is to encourage students to use their technology more than they currently are and reduce the amount of paper used (rather than purchasing new products). Kwan recognizes the struggles with such a movement, “A lot of people view green as a destination. We believe green is a journey. Anything has potential. Any tiny thing shows improvement.”


The paperless campaign encourages JCU faculty and students to re-evaluate how they use technology. Members of the John Carroll community have begun raising awareness through a Facebook page and promotional videos (


These students and faculty have also reached out to the local Microsoft store for support and advice regarding the shift towards a paperless campus. The Microsoft store has agreed to help any JCU student as much as they can without charging a fee.


Joe Henrichs, a senior enrolled in a new iPad Journalism course in the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, expressed how his study habits have changed using the iPad. “I use the iPad for many more tasks than I thought I would,” said Henrichs, “I take notes in class, interact on Canvas and use it for social applications.”


According to Kwan, “We need to continue to inspire students.”


John Carroll wants to be a part of the growing trends in technology and to keep up with students’ learning styles. As younger generations enter college, they have become dependent on technology for all their educational needs.


Students are the ones who will kick off this campaign. The Revenue and Spending Committee are not suggesting that every student run out and purchase a tablet, and they are not expecting JCU to go paperless next semester. This campaign wants to show that technology is the future for the environment, for education and for John Carroll.