Paper-Less Commitment

The Paper-Less Commitment is a voluntary initiative sponsored by the Sustainability Office that provides employees with a fun and easy way to collectively reduce the amount of paper we use.  The premise behind the Paper-Less Commitment is simple—we aim to reduce our overall paper usage by recognizing employees who intentionally act on specific paper reduction strategies and by making it easy for others to follow their example.  Certified Paper-Less offices will benefit from cost savings, public recognition, a Paper-Less decal to proudly display on their door, and entry into a drawing for a JAVA gift card.

Paper-Less Guidelines:

College entities may participate as offices, academic departments, or as individual faculty/staff members.  To receive Paper-Less certification, fill out the commitment form below and return it electronically to  All employees may complete sections B. or C. for individual certification.  Office/Department managers should fill in section A. to certify their office/department, and may additionally choose to complete section B. or C. for personal certification.  

In order to receive certification, individuals/offices must meet or commit to all listed criteria for their category unless that criteria does not apply or is impossible to meet (see FAQ below).  The goals of the Paper-Less Commitment are to encourage positive, active participation in reducing our paper usage and to encourage employees to develop creative, personal strategies for achieving this goal.  We are not interested in being sticklers for details, so feel free to use your own judgment with the guidelines.  Our hope is that this commitment will promote long-term stewardship habits with regards to our use of paper. 

Sample Goals (for ideas):

  • We aim to reduce the number of pages printed on our department copier by 20% during spring 2014.
  • We aim to reduce our use of white copy paper by 15% during calendar year 2014.
  • We plan to switch X PROCESS over to an electronic version before the start of the fall 2014 semester.
  • We plan to collect used, single-sided sheets of paper and reuse them for printing.
  • When possible, I intend to condense handouts to ½ page size.
   Download the PDF form

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What if a given criteria does not apply? If a criteria does not apply, please note this in your email when submitting the commitment.  
  2. What if a given criteria is completely impossible?  If a criteria is impossible to meet, please make an effort to offer an alternative commitment and note this in your email when submitting your commitment.  One example could be a faculty member who does not assign papers and for whom electronic tests are not possible given the nature of the discipline.  In such a case, please feel free to offer an alternative commitment, such as accepting homework on used paper, reducing handouts, or taking notes electronically during meetings.
  3. Who's going to check up to make sure I'm fulfilling my commitment?  No one.  This is a voluntary commitment designed to enourage intentional efforts to reduce paper usage.  The Sustainability Office may check in with you to assess the effectiveness of the program, but the certification is based on an honor system.  If you find that you can't meet your commitment, just let us know what you did accomplish and we'll celebrate that!  The goal is simply to reduce. 
  4. What if I need help identifying a paper reduction goal?  Just let us know--we'd be glad to help you identify a goal that is meaningful and achievable.
  5. How do I find out past paper usage for my office/department?  The Sustainability Office has estimates for past paper usage for all offices/departments on campus.  Just let us know and we'd be glad to give you that information.

Please free to contact the Sustainability Office with more questions at