Promoting Sustainability: The Power of Small Changes

Making a difference to help the environment doesn’t have to be difficult. Just a few small changes at home and work will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Turning your monitor off after 20 minutes of inactivity
  • Shut your computer down when you leave for the day
  • The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital
  • The more you do online, the less you need paper
  • Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets (use Royal Drive for documents that need encryption or the ERP Systems Imaging System – contact the Technology Support Center for more information)
  • Review documents onscreen rather than printing them out
  • Use double-sided printing whenever possible
  • Print in draft mode to conserve ink: It will generally lighten the shade, but you’ll still be able to read your copy clearly
  • Distribute memos, manuals, minutes, policies (documents) via email: Instead of printing out memos for distribution, email them and let employees decide whether or not they wish to print them
  • Reduce your margin settings so that your printer uses less paper
  • Send emails instead of paper letters
  • Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed
  • Turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied
  • Bring your lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work


  • Treehugger, T. (n.d.). 10 ways to green your work ethic. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from
  • 10 Awesome Going Green Tips At Work – Sustainable Business Toolkit. (2012). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from

May 7: Campus Electronic Recycling and Document Shredding Event

EcoLogosWhen: Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Drop off is located on Linden Street in front of St. Thomas Hall at the turn around circle
Cost: Free
This event is open to the public.

Bring your documents for shredding and your old electronics for recycling. Review the complete list of accepted and non-accepted items.

University staff and students will be collecting your old electronics. The equipment will be disassembled to salvage their parts for use in new electronics, and to prevent them from being sent to a landfill and damaging the environment. Make sure to only bring items that are accepted through this recycling program.

Cintas Document Management will also be sponsoring this event. Anyone can bring their documents and have them shredded by a certified Cintas employee in a mobile shredding truck. Further, all of the documents shredded by Cintas are recycled into secondary paper products, such as paper towels, to reduce waste and impact on the environment. In doing so, this saves trees, energy and gallons of water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Employees cannot bring equipment from on campus offices.  University-owned equipment can be recycled by contacting the Technology Support Center to schedule a pickup.

This event is organized and staffed by members of Student Sustainability Club and the IT Asset Manager Office.  We would like to thank our sponsors Cintas Document Management and Vintage Tech Recyclers.

Campus Thin Clients Save Enough Energy to Power 15 Homes for a Year

 Image by Peter Astbury

Over the past three years, IT Services has replaced 606 traditional computers with thin clients. Thin clients are computer terminals that are connected to a keyboard, mouse and monitor that have jacks and ports for USB and other devices. These thin clients have no hard drive or storage, as they remote into the University server to access our virtual desktop infrastructure.

The energy savings of thin clients are astounding. Suppose that our typical PC consumes an average of 30 Kwh per month. Then these 606 computers would have needed 218,160 Kwh of electricity to run this year. Using thin clients (consumes 8 Kwh per month on average), translates into a 73% energy savings (159,984 Kwh), which is enough energy to power 15 homes for an entire year.

In addition to consuming a lot less energy, they also yield additional reductions in our carbon footprint: a single thin client can be used twice as long as your traditional PC.



  • U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from
  • Wikimedia Commons, image by Peter Astbury. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from

Sneak Peek: Going Greener with Digital Signatures

An electronic signature, as defined by the US E-SIGN Act, is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

In short, e-signatures allow companies to process documents without requiring signers to put a physical pen to a sheet of paper, and a combination of state and federal laws have enabled an environment in which e-signatures are considered legally binding.

Due to an increasing campus interest in e-signatures, and due to its many cost saving and efficiency benefits, IT Development and Applications (ITDA) is currently leading a multi-departmental team focused on researching and reviewing e-signature software solutions that would make this technology available to the entire campus. Although the product would be managed by IT, each department would own its business processes and would be responsible for creating forms and workflows for their departments.

Reduce Costs
When we adapt to paperless processes, we see an immediate reduction in costs associated with paper, ink, print maintenance and shipping. Beyond the cost saving for materials, there is a time-savings as well as documents will no longer need to be printed, filed, faxed and mailed.

Faster and from anywhere at any time
Using digital signatures will make the document tracking more efficient with the use of an online dashboard. Using e-signatures also has a faster turnaround time as documents can be signed from any device, anytime for instant transmission.

Increased Document Security
Paper documents require filing and a subsequent locking mechanism to protect your files. Creating digital documents increases security by being equipped with digital encryptions and audit trails.

Specific University Requirements

  • Security
  • Ability to upload documents
  • Distributed departmental authority to create and manage documents, forms and workflows
  • Integration to our Ellucian Imaging system and Ellucian data

The initial work team included representatives from CTLE, Development, Finance, Financial Aid, General Counsel, GCES, Student Engagement, IT Security, ITDA, Human Resources, and Registrar. After presenting initial findings to the Information Management Advisory Committee (IMAC), this group has been expanded to include the Internal Auditor and the Academic Advising Centers.

The return on investment for implementing e-signature software across campus is still being researched. Candidate documents have been identified by several offices and include: Student Engagement Conference and USPB trip forms, Finance authorization forms and check vouchers, and various forms used by the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid and GCES (related to changing courses, withdrawals, internships, readers, probation, change of grade, etc.).

The next steps include refining the list of potential e-signature software solutions by the work team down to a single vendor, followed by presentation of the recommended vendor and ROI estimates to the IMAC and CFO to review and endorse. With proper approval, a pilot will be chosen and implementation would occur in the fall.