(Updated April 20, 2017—Earth Day 2017 features efforts for Environmental & Climate Literacy with a March for Science and MobilizeU, an initiative for higher education. In the spirit of recycling, however, we’re reposting this article from 2016. It’s a topic near and dear to our hearts—and one that can make you feel really good about the work you’re doing when you’re in a paperless office.)
Trees for the Earth
The folks at Earth Day Network (EDN) have set themselves a lofty goal: Plant 7.8 billion trees (one for every person on earth) in honor of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020. This is a group that knows how to aim high—and deliver. More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year and the group is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Since 1970 they’ve “worked with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries to build environmental democracy.” They’ve also got a pretty cool quiz you can take to see the impact your lifestyle is potentially having on the planet.
Kicked off in 2016, the “Trees for the Earth,” campaign continues today. Some key tree highlights: Trees help combat climate change. Trees help us breathe clean air. And trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy, and income. EDN also campaigns around reforestation. An estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest—an area roughly the size of the country of Panama—are lost to deforestation each year. That loss is responsible for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reforestation is one way to restore the balance in our forests. Another way is to reduce the amount of paper products used world-wide. We know there are great strides still to be made in this area within the higher education financial aid industry.
Paperless FinAid is One Way to Celebrate Earth Day
Here at CampusLogic, we’re inspired by EDN’s words: “Changing the world starts by changing your own little corner of it.” We believe that paperless financial aid not only improves the student experience, but it’s the right thing to do for our planet. Every piece of paper that we can eliminate from the financial aid process—and all of the energy we can save by reducing faxing and document imaging—means less strain on the precious resources our forests provide.
Dump the Paper Weight
Life in a Financial Aid Office can feel like a flood of forms, documents, letters, and files. It has been estimated that financial aid professionals deal with half a billion pages of financial aid documentation every year. Most of these documents are hard copies that must be requested, submitted, received, managed, filed, and then archived by hand.
Half a Billion Pages Equals 1,670 Walruses (no joke)
- 1 ton of paper = 200,000 sheets
- 500,000,000 sheets = 2,500 tons
- 1 ton weighs 2,000 lbs.
- Walruses weigh around 2,000 lbs.
- FinAid paperwork may weigh as much as 2,500 walruses
How do we get the walruses off of our FinAid backs, and out of our offices? Digital, mobile-optimized processes. Our technology allows Financial Aid Offices to convert verification, professional judgments, c code resolution, SAP appeals, and custom institutional forms into web forms including workflow, triggers, and student/parent e-signature capabilities. Read more about it in our previous post “Automate Any Financial Aid Form.”
One Tree at a Time
For more facts on why trees are so vitally important to life on planet earth, visit EDN’s “Top 5 Reasons To Love Trees.” And for the numbers folks among our readers, we leave you with this statistic: During a 50-year lifespan, a single tree will generate $30,000 in oxygen, recycle $35,000 worth of water, and clean up $60,000 worth of air pollution. Happy Earth Day from CampusLogic!