Going green saves green for the students
Dawn Countryman, Instructor of Anatomy & Physiology
With the college’s initiative to become more sustainable, the Biology department has worked to make our courses more sustainable. Recently, the department made a change to the General Biology I and II (Biology 111 and 112) lab manual, a required component for both courses, to reduce paper waste. Prior to the Fall semester 2011, students who took either Biology 111 or 112 needed to purchase one combined 2-semester Biology 111 and 112 manual. The combined lab manual was a total of 324 pages with 162 pages used for Biology 111 and 162 pages used for Biology 112. While this worked well for students who took both 111 and 112, it became apparent to instructors in the Biology department that a lot of paper was being wasted because most students do not take both Biology 111 and 112. Many students who purchased the lab manual for just one course ended up discarding the unused half.
In the Fall 2011, the authors of the lab manual, Gretchen Bernard and Edward Devine, made the decision to switch from a 2-semester combined lab manual to a separate lab manual for Biology 111 and Biology 112. With each new separate lab manual containing 162 pages, it is estimated that this change saved over 500,000 pages (250,000 double-sided printing) during the period from Fall 2011 through Fall 2012. In addition to reducing paper waste, this switch has also saved students money because those that only take Biology 111 or Biology 112 are buying a lab manual at half of the cost they normally may have paid. For the Biology department, going green while saving the students money was definitely a win-win scenario.