Laurier’s environmental initiatives

By placing an increasing emphasis on
environmental sustainability Wilfrid
Laurier University has made, and will
continue to make, several changes to
its day-to-day operations. While the
benefits of these changes are primarily
environmental, they also extend to
reducing costs.

Since June, Laurier employees have
no longer received printed pay stubs.
Employees now have only an online
pay stub, which they are able to access
through Laurier Online Registration
and Information System (LORIS).

“For human resources, it’s a great
step towards a more green department,”
says Pamela Cant, director of
total compensation of Laurier’s human
resources department.

“[We are saving] between $20,000
to $25,000 per year in printing costs
alone, not including the staff time required
to sort [the stubs] and for them
to be distributed by department,” she
said.

It is estimated that the switch will
save over 5000 pay stubs from being
printed each month.

In January 2009, library receipts
also became paperless, saving an average
of 1000 slips being printed everyday.

Receipts are now only printed
upon request, as patrons can monitor
their accounts online through the library
system TRELLIS.

According to Don Hamilton, manager
of information and technology
at the Laurier library, 75 per cent of
library patrons have since chosen
not to have receipts printed. Cutting
down on the volume of printing not
only saves paper and extends the life
of printers, but saves about $300 per
year.

“Not a lot of money [will be saved],
it’s more the fact that it’s environmentally
friendly, saves you time and you
have up-to-the minute information
about your library account online,”
said Hamilton.

Beginning this September, the Laurier
Bookstore will also be working on
a number of eco-friendly practices,
such as charging $0.05 per plastic bag.

Such an initiative has taken the
same form as a recent Toronto bylaw,
designed to reduce the number of
plastic bags heading to landfills.
Gary Nower, assistant vice-president
of physical resources at Laurier,
states that the changes in production
are indicative of campus support for
more sustainable practices.

“Students and staff are right behind
it and [are] supportive of these
initiatives.”

Nower highlights the importance of
Laurier’s environmental sustainability
office, which will be opened in the fall.
At the 2009 Wilfrid Laurier University
Students’ Union elections, students
voted to increase the $0.50 per
term green fee to $5, with the profits
helping to fund the new office.

“WLUSU is moving to higher sustainability,
[by implementing] an officer
that can pull everyone together
effectively,” said Nower.

Nower continued, stating that
the most important environmental
changes on campus need to be
behavioral.

“We can put in new bins and
switches, but if no one uses them,
we’ve come no further.”

Nower states that the availability of
information, which will be provided
by the sustainability office, can help
generate change. “[More information]
needs to be made available. We’ve got
to let people know what they can take
advantage of on campus.”

Nower’s hope for the upcoming
year is to find an individual to fill the
role at the sustainability office.

“I don’t know where we’ve been in
the past, but I’m happy with where
we’re going. We’re moving forward
in a good way, and it’s exciting for the
university.”

Katherine Laycock, environmental
awareness co-ordinator for the
EcoHawks, a campus club devoted
to improving ecological practices at
the university, believes Laurier to be
an environmentally conscious community
and is happy with the recent
changes to operate in a more sustainable
manner; however, she knows that
there is still a long road ahead.

“There’s always room for improvement.
We’re starting [to make changes]
but it will take time to take us to
the level we should be at.”

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