Waste Not, Want Not


You and your friends get together for dinner, and someone suggests a buffet. That sounds good to you because you haven’t eaten all day and you look forward to packing as much as you can on your plate, maybe even making an extra round. But how much of that food do you actually need in order to be full?

As if it was embedded in our DNA, we have a human tendency to over indulge in things that we consider to be of cheap or no value, in this case food. Students at Saint Peter’s College have in the same way abused the amount of paper they use and they may soon be required to pay to print.

“It’s our fault for letting it get to that point,” said Nadia, a sophomore, who did not want to give her last name. “People would print out whole books!”

Chief Information Officer and head of IT, Dale Hochstein has been working with the college for two years, and assists in the operation of the school.

“People  found hundreds of paper in the garbage in study areas around the campus, and the school decided we needed to change the student’s attitude toward their paper usage,” said Hochstein. “Let’s just monitor their print consumption and we’ll see how much they need to print.”

SPC student making copies

The Pharos system, part of the school’s plan to go green,  was placed at almost all the printers on campus. However, most students are unaware that the CIO receives a report every three months of how much paper each student prints. Someone  found over 500 pieces of paper in a library garbage bin, Hochstein could pinpoint exactly who that student was.

“I had no idea they kept track,” said Linda, a communication major who also did not want her last name published.

When you swipe your card at the printers, a computer logs it.  This is the same system that allows us access to certain building by scanning our ID’s.

“Once students had to swipe their cards and knew they were being watched, the number of printed sheets dramatically dropped,” said Hochstein.

Students that have wasted a significant amount of paper have not been punished; however their names do get submitted to the VP of Finance. Eventually, students at Saint Peter’s College won’t be allowed to go over average amount of printed sheets without facing a fee. Nadia and her friend Priscilla Ortiz agree with the school’s decision.

“People act differently when they’re being watched,” said Ortiz.

“I think it’s a good idea,” added Nadia. “We take a lot of things for granted.” 

According to the most recent Pharos System report, the current average for students is 256 over a six month period, with 2,974 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. 15 students were over the 1,000 mark.  Hochstein credits the drop in recent years to the Pharos system. So instead of stuffing the trash cans the way we stuff our plates at a buffet line, new green initiatives have students thinking twice about wasting.


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