Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily flyer hinders sustainability mission, wastes paper, should ‘go strictly digital’

By Amelia Heath, Copy Editor

When I came to Pacific Lutheran University, I was excited about the university’s “green” efforts. Composting, banning the sale of bottled water, energy-efficient hand dryers in the University Center bathrooms and the fact that solar panels will be installed in the future are incredibly attractive to an environmentally conscious student.

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An issue of The Daily Flyer. Photo by Daniel Drake.

But now I’m confused: why, when we as a university are taking so many steps toward sustainability, do we waste so much paper on the Daily Flyer?

The Daily Flyer is, as the name suggests, a leaflet distributed every day across campus by ASPLU’s Impact. Each issue features a poorly-folded cover sheet in a vibrant color with a hand-drawn illustration and some witty commentary.

Some of these comics relate to current events on campus, such as Nov. 9’s cover advertising the Tobacco-Free Policy forum, but the majority of it is just silly.

Exhibit A: Two issues last month featured “Self Defense Against Tickling.” I did not realize that being tickled was a serious problem for students or that steps were necessary to prevent such an attack.

Exhibit B: The Oct. 25 issue features a sketch of a student doing a handstand saying, “Yesterday’s Flyer layout made me wonder… would my reading comprehension go down, or up, if I do a hand stand?”

The prior issue’s cover was about the stereotypical thoughts that run through the artist’s mind when Scandinavian heritage is mentioned.

My confusion grows.

Although the Daily Flyer is printed on paper containing 30 percent recycled post-consumer materials, this colored paper can cost up to $3.50 more per ream than plain white paper, according to officedepot.com. How many reams of this paper do we pay for every year just to read quotes from Winnie the Pooh?

Inside the flyer are advertisements for campus events and local businesses such as Garfield Book Company and 208 Garfield. While I have no problem with these things being endorsed, it isn’t as if there is any lack of endorsement all over campus. The bulletin boards in the University Center and every other building on campus are almost completely covered with posters advertising everything inside the Daily Flyer.

In addition, these advertisements are constantly emailed to students.

I get it. I can go to the Academic Center for help with my science homework. I honestly do not need another piece of paper to tell me.

Despite my critique, I have found two uses for the Daily Flyer: At lunch on Wednesday, I noticed that whoever sat at my table before I did used the cover to practice for a math test, and later that day I made a fantastic paper pirate hat.

The center page of the Daily Flyer advertises that digital copies are available on MyLuteLife.

Would it not be reasonable to go strictly digital and upload a new drawing every day for students to check out during their study break?

It would certainly save money on both paper and ink as well as save trees.

One of the three big themes of PLU 2020 is sustainability.

I find nothing sustainable, environmentally or financially, about wasting so much paper every day.