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May 12, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Vic goes double-sided

As of last Tuesday, all Vic Uni computers will print double-sided by default. The move is one of a plethora of ongoing projects to make Victoria a more sustainable university.

“Students can still change it if they want,”’ explains Vic Environmental Manager Andrew Wilks, “it’s just that double-sided will be the norm.”

It is estimated that around 3,600 trees’ worth of paper was used at Victoria alone. Printing double-sided was seen as an easy way to cut this figure down, in addition to the carbon footprint it would leave.

The change has already been seen to yield impressive results in a “tester” using staff as guinea-pigs. Since staff default printing became double-sided, the University has seen a 40 per cent decrease in copier paper used – from 50 million sheets in 2006 down to 30 million sheets in 2007.

Willks commends the staff on this achievement, explaining that the figures show that “it must be more than just double-sided printing; there is also a conscientious decision involved.” Whether assignments will be accepted doublesided will be up to the individual lecturers. When questioned, most staff were open to the idea.

“It’s a good idea from an environmental perspective,” Associate Professor of History Dolores Janiewski said, while Associate Professor of English Harry Ricketts added, “It saves paper and risk of missing pages.”

However, Law Professor Gordon Anderson said that he would prefer not to see doublesided assignments, purely for ease of marking, though he admitted that he “would not die in a ditch over this.”

Environmental Manager Wilks was enthusiastic about this reaction from lecturers, saying, “If they [lecturers] want to get on board – fantastic!”

So far there has been general student apathy to the move. The project has received “the official letter of endorsement” from Joel Cosgrove, and has been supported by studentgreenies in Gecko.

Commerce student Anastasia Gyson reveals that she was not aware of the project, “but it sounds good – anything that benefits the environment is a good move.”

Wilks believes the move will be great for getting students more involved in Vic’s sustainability projects:

“There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes that students aren’t aware of – double-sided printing will have a big impact in regards to paper-saving. It’s a real thing that students can see.”

Salient encourages you to find out if your lecturer will accept assignments double-sided, and to do your bit to reduce paper use.

All campus printers are expected to be printing double-sided by default by this Tuesday.


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  1. Gibbon says:

    so what if we aren’t allowed to hand in double sided assignments and we, by mistake, (because it is default) print out a double sided sheet?

    assume I have a ten page assignment:
    I print that out once double sided by mistake = 5 pages
    I have to reprint it = 15 pages


    I print it the right way first time = 10 pages

    which is better for the environment

  2. Superior Mind says:

    You know what? The jolly good feeling I get out of saving the environment one piece of paper at a time isn’t really enough to get me to care. Sure we’re told to believe every little bit helps, it’s logic the Planeteers would really get behind but really all the good it does is allow the University to say “look how good we are at saving the planet.”
    Call me self-centered but all I care about is how it benefits me rather than how it benefits the University’s ego. Seeing as there’s no cost benefit despite students using fewer resources and there is the chance, as Gibbon says, to make mistakes and end up paying 1.5 times what you meant to this double-sided printing thing seems like it’s just going to end up being an unnecessary annoyance.

    Then again maybe I’m making mountains out of molehills. I tend to do that.

  3. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    “Since staff default printing became double-sided, the University has seen a 40 per cent decrease in copier paper used”

    Doesn’t this seem to allay your fears about producing MORE paper by accident? It might happen once or twice (i.e. when you are printing off an assignment to be submitted), but I imagine for the most part it will save a huge amount of paper that is being unnecessarily printed.

    My work introduced the same scheme – you get used to it pretty quick. On the rare occasions you specifically need something not to be printed double-sided, it takes about half a second to do it.

    Arguing whether or not this strategy is aimed solely at ‘benefit[ing] the University’s ego’ doesn’t change the fact that it, along with so many other greener methods of production and consumption, are absolutely necessary – regardless of ego. The public declarations by most nations about green initiatives most certainly also serve a PR purpose – should they, too, can the whole thing simply because it provides them with an ego boost on the international stage? Just because any particular action may or may not ‘benefit the ego’ of the vested party, does not imply that said action isn’t justified and worthwhile in itself.

  4. Gibbon says:

    In COPIER paper used?

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