Written by Jennifer Low, Peak Associate
SFU is known for being an institutional leader when it comes to environmental sustainability. But how is this possible when academia demands the constant use of paper? Look no further than SFU’s main recyclable product: its syllabuses.
Students often notice that dates on their syllabuses may be long gone. While this is usually written off as a typo or accident, what students do not realize is that they have stumbled upon just another way SFU is saving the world.
Dr. Evan Ilo Thearth and Dr. Ima Noctavos, professors of history and biological sciences respectively, have collaborated to create a new online campaign called “Save the world by ‘40”. This campaign challenges teachers, professors, and other educators to reduce their environmental footprint by recycling their syllabuses until the year 2040.
“This way, students can just keep purchasing their books from one another instead of buying new copies and making more paper waste,” Dr. Thearth explains. “Only the SFU rookies and the socially confused ever buy textbooks new from the bookstore, anyway.”
Despite a generally positive reaction from professors, SFU students are more skeptical of Noctavos and Thearth’s campaign. Though most students have, as usual, remained almost totally unaware of this SFU-based movement, a few have lodged complaints about “Save the world by ‘40” with the Human Rights Office. According to Thearth and Noctavos, they mainly argue that professors that reuse the same materials do not keep their classes up to date on the evolving nature of their fields of study.
“I teach history,” Dr. Thearth says in response to these concerns. “Barely anything ever changes!”
Certain students have even challenged their professors with counter-proposals.
“I think a lot more paper could be saved if my professor stopped printing off those weekly quizzes! This is extremely wasteful and ultimately super disrespectful to the environment. #dum” Evanna Help, mathematics major, stated in a Facebook comment tagging the campaign.
Dr. Noctavos explains that the goal is 2040 because by then, his 19-year-old son will be 40 years old.
“I want my grandkids — if that boy ever gets off his videogame long enough to find himself a wife — to be able to play outside without wearing a hazmat suit or turning into those characters in Wall-E,” Dr. Noctavos said.
“And that’s not going to happen if our professors just lounge around, leisurely reading the latest academic journals and selecting timely, thought-provoking research for those over-privileged talking waste receptacles seated in their lecture halls.”