Over the years we’ve taken a number of steps towards making the library a greener space, such as introducing composting and a pen recycling program. We’re also pretty excited that the Brody Learning Commons, slated to open this summer, will be at minimum LEED Silver certified. But we’re always looking to improve, and we were thrilled to hear from freshman Biophysics major Jon Smeton. As a member of Students for Environmental Action and Eco-Reps, he had a great idea for reducing paper usage. Thanks to Jon for sharing his observation and story:

As a student affiliated with sustainability, I often catch the phrase “we are committed to sustainability” on every handout, sign, and mission statement I see. This phrase often becomes so oversaturated that I tend to take it with a grain of salt. Thus, when I saw on the Lav Notes in Eisenhower that very phrase, I couldn’t truly believe it unless I saw it in action.

For the past two weeks, every time I was to sign out headphones at the AV station, I was required to write my name and the date on a form which was used for bookkeeping purposes. I understood the necessity of keeping track of everything, but I would still feel like I was killing a little bit of tree every time I needed to hear my Orgo Lab pre-lecture slides. Testing the truth of the Lav Notes, I sent an email to Adriane Koenig, the library’s Program and Communications Coordinator and Green Campus Rep, asking if this information could be filed in a computer database rather than on these slips. Within the week, I received a reply with many thanks from Adriane and Lynn Mathieu in AV for “waking [her] up” to the impact of the request slips and a promise to discontinue them immediately.

It is a refreshing thing for your voice to be heard and even more so to be thanked for speaking it. What’s most refreshing is to be able to read those Lav Notes again and know that my library and my school are committed to sustainability.

Thanks to Jon, we’ll also cease requiring the paper request slips for AV Reserves at the end of this semester. Please keep the good ideas coming! E-mail Adriane your suggestions.

One thought on “Student Suggestions in Action

  1. Yes! I was thinking about the AV paper as I read this. I always come with the call number on one piece of (scrap) paper, and it always felt ridiculous to write it on another piece of paper. But Hopkins is so set in its ways, it never seemed worth questioning. Kudos to Jon and the library!

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