In the age of electronic banking, e-mails and e-books, the University has turned to greener ways of dispersing information.
In March, the bursar's office stopped printing student account statements and made them available online only, and also started the electronic bill payment system, through which families can pay the University online.
Assistant Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services Elizabeth Gentry told The Herald in February that she estimated a $40,000 to $50,000 per year saving on printing, paper-use and mailing. Student Financial Services Director Wynette Richardson estimated a decrease of paper usage by 6,000 to 8,500 statements per month, The Herald reported.
The bursar's office also made the University's Installment Payment Plan available online in May, Gentry said. She added that the loan management system will also become available on the Internet in the spring so students and parents can view their loan statements and make payments online.
Richardson said this will reduce paper usage by 2,500 to 4,000 statements.
While the bursar's office has not made a formal assessment of students' reactions to the online-only statements, Richardson said the general reaction has been positive because they allow for quick transactions.
The change has been most beneficial to international students, Gentry said. "Before, it would take forever to get the paper statements to them, but now they can just go online, see their statements and make the payment."
The Office of the Registrar has also significantly reduced paper usage since the implementation of Banner in 2007, University Registrar Robert Fitzgerald wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.
Fitzgerald added that to reduce paper usage, the office created online transcript requests, eliminated the printing of the three-year course bulletin and decreased the number of annual Course Announcement Bulletins printed. The registrar's office will also launch an online tool next month for course proposals, "moving it to a more transparent and streamlined process," he wrote.
He added that other areas are also being considered in the effort to make Brown greener. Some ideas include electronic official transcripts and online grade changes for faculty, but Fitzgerald emphasized the significant amount of technical work that Computing and Information Services must do before these changes can come about.
Gentry also hinted at other paper-saving initiatives around campus, such as a possible textbook rental system in the bookstore. The bookstore also considered the use of e-books, but the idea was not widely accepted because students dislike electronic readings, Gentry said.
Graphics Services has also been using special inks and recycled paper to be greener, Gentry added.