It seems like many of the local colleges I see are building more buildings and the campuses seem to be getting larger and larger even though they are still cutting budgets. I know that there are many advantages to both students and the communities which these colleges reside, but let’s take another perspective. Let’s take the perspective of investing in individual students instead of the college campuses and keeping education green.
These large buildings that are built on the campus consume a lot of electricity and require the consumption of many natural resources when being built. I know many new buildings now a days are being built with recycled material and try and capture the sunlight to bring in power and heat, but I’m sure there are many other ways that they impact the environment.
What if we could use the money that would have been spent on those buildings to make all the homes in the community that university resides more eco friendly. Installing solar power on every roof top, converting cars to natural gas, etc. No matter if the buildings are built or not, the homes the students live in will still be there.
If our students are learning online we should invest in their individual classrooms at home and help them get the technology they need to access all the information we have for them to learn.
I know when I drive past the universities and campuses, I’m amazed at how much space is required just to park all the cars. How much land of potentially fertile soil was polluted with petroleum and tar filled asphalt just so we could park our cars. Think about the enormous footprint that university parking lots make.
I’ve looked into just replacing my driveway at home and was blown away at how much it was going to cost me to relay it. Imagine the expense in clearing the snow, keeping it repaired, etc. I think you get my point. Yet more money that could be saved or used to invest in the individual student’s education.
Transportation / Emissions
I understand the idea of close college housing which makes complete sense and my next argument is the obvious one of commuting. How many students commute? My previous argument about parking lots wouldn’t make sense if people still didn’t drive to school. We wouldn’t have talked about parking lots. Most colleges have done good by running shuttles across town and around the various college housing complexes but this doesn’t help the people not living on campus or near campus.
How much money could be saved on gas when you don’t have to go up to the university every night after work and work in a lab with other students after having gone to school that morning. There is a lot of gas consumed just in your common commute. How many college kids drive brand new, smart, clean, green running cars? I know most my friends and I had old beaters that were patched up and barely passing emissions.
I think by allowing the students to access class online we help eliminate a lot of the emission issues and help eliminate the need for parking lots and buildings. Celebrities can buy carbon credits to make up for the huge footprints their private jets make and all their various homes they own, why not reward students for studying at home and not actually creating a footprint. You get a tax discount for driving hybrids, why isn’t online education considered the hybrid of education? Why don’t students get a tax credit and a government grant for studying online?
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Another obvious advantage to online / digital education is the lack of printing that goes on. If a student has all digital class books then the expense goes down and the paper consumption also goes down. This eliminates a lot of material management and also editing. If a change needs to be made with the class materials it is made and all the information is updated without having to reprint.
I’ve heard all the arguments. Some of the people that are going to complain are most likely already employed by or know someone employed by the colleges. Some students want to move away and have the whole college experience. Some students love driving their cars around town. Well there’s always going to be opposition, but let’s think about what’s best for our environment. Let’s think about what creates the most opportunity for current students and people that wouldn’t be students otherwise.
There would be jobs that would be lost like maintenance jobs, landscaping jobs, janitorial jobs, even faculty jobs if we pushed online courses. I know that some colleges have been laying off faculty and increasing class size because of the economy. Right now it makes sense to make these changes. It would motivate a more intelligent work force and create more opportunities for anyone wanting to further their education along with decrease the expenses that most college campuses currently have.
I know we could not go completely online with all courses of study, but how much better would our environment be if we did?
Your Two Cents
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