Moving toward a paperless campus


Ashley Balcaceres, Reporter

The depletion of natural resources is a hot topic for every occasion, but especially discussed in October as we celebrate Sustainability Month here at CSU Bakersfield. Sustainability is about the public being encouraged to find ways to reduce the amount of natural resources they use in their daily lives. One of the ways to be more sustainable is to limit paper usage, and CSUB is doing its part. The campus has made countless forms available online so that students, faculty, and staff alike do not have to print physical copies of these forms.

There are the various platforms available for everyone on CSUB’s campus that allow them to turn in things electronically instead of by hardcopy. Familiar platforms such as Blackboard and Canvas allow professors to post their slides, lectures, handouts, etc., to make teaching their students easier. These platforms also let students post and turn in their assignments online, which means that students are only required to turn in hardopies at the professor’s discretion.

“On some assignments it’s easier to do hardcopies (longer assignments, like essays) and on others electronically (quizzes, film analyses, etc.). I think it just depends,” states Mark Lamas, a CSUB professor of religious studies who uses Blackboard, ThinkWave, an online gradebook, and who requires hardcopies for some parts of his classes.

Being able to turn assignments in online appeals to a lot of the students here at CSUB, since printing paper requires one to pay, either at printing locations available on campus, a store, or at home.  It also saves time for students because they can turn things in with just a click instead of going to a location to turn a hardcopy assignment in.

“I prefer turning things online because then if I have to print here, I have to pay for the paper. Or if I don’t have a printer at home, I still have to come here and pay for paper. So I would rather turn things online than handing it in,” said Corey Collins, a senior public relations major.

CSUB has made countless other avenues available online to save time and paper. For example, graduating students can now file their graduation check online. It was not always this way, as students had to go and fill out the form on paper, then turn it in to the Admissions and Records office. Students applying for graduation now only have to go to their MyCSUB portal and look for “Apply for Graduation” in the dropdown menu. Paying for graduation can now also be done online instead of going to the cashier’s office. This option became available in the spring semester of 2019.

Other avenues available for submitting things online also benefit staff who travel on behalf of the university. Instead of taping their receipts to pieces of paper they can now use an application called Concur which allows them to file their expense reports easily and quickly. Other things that CSUB has made available on online are grant applications and club applications and renewals.

Director of Campus Programming Emily Poole mentions that while there are still some forms that are required to be printed because of signatures that are needed, she tries to email more than print.

“We implemented iPads and are working towards a paperless process for equipment damage reports, and hopefully soon, injury and incident reports,” reported Elaine Jenning, chair of the Student Recreation Center Advisory Commitee, in a committee meeting on June 27, 2019.

While not completely paperless, CSUB has made many things and processes available online, making life easier for the community on campus. There are some forms that are still required to be printed due to safety and privacy reasons, but CSUB will be implementing many more paperless options.