Thursday, January 24, 2008
posted by Q6 at 6:53 PM
Our latest problem is a shortage of paper--more specifically, we're going through the stuff like it grows on trees. Yuk-yuk.

Seriously, they bring us a pallet of paper every month and a half or so, and unlike previous years, we're running out before the new shipment arrives. The tech/administration has now changed the copier settings so that instead of department passwords, we're using individual ones in order to track who is using the most. It hasn't really changed anything; moreover, it really hasn't told us much.

Then IT sent out an e-mail about some new software they're testing. What bothers me is that it was sent out in an e-mail wrongly titled, "Save Toner and Paper." This software is designed to track computer printing (who's printing what, to where, how often, etc.). What's my problem with this? Simple: nothing in this software is designed to save toner or paper--it's merely there to tell us where the waste is occuring. We're supposed to use that information to put the smackdown on violators and, to be honest, we suck at that. (The whole thing reminds me of an attendance discussion I had with a teacher last Spring. I asked teachers to do more at the classroom level to reduce tardies, and one teacher gave me a five minute explanation of how she keeps a tardy book, makes the kids sign it, and knows exactly who to write up and when. "Yes," I told her, "you have a fine system for tracking tardies, but I asked what you're doing to reduce them--this system doesn't do that.")

What's my solution? Simple: find me software that allows teachers to print or copy up to a certain point, then cuts them off COMPLETELY from anything that excretes paper. Nothing inspires conservation more than desperation. The people on this campus--the ones who have so much technology and training that paper should be obsolete by now, anyway--might not appreciate the value of free paper until it's gone . . . not until it's limited, not until it's rationed, and not until it's at a price . . . until it's GONE.