Monday, 25 January 2010

Re-using labs, and getting rid of paper

Liaison Meeting with the Faculty of Science today- lots on the agenda, including big discussion on teaching space. We're trying to make the best use of our estate, and reduce space if we can - we need to reduce our carbon emissions, like all Universities, and reducing space is one way of contributing to it. In order to reduce space, we have to utilise what we have much better, and we were discussing today ways of doing that. Our common timetabling project should help, but we're also looking at other innovative ideas, such as using laboratories as computer rooms when they're not in use for practical classes. Obvous we can't have hard wired PCs in there, but we could have a stack of laptops using the wireless network that could be brought out when needed. Issues to address obviously such as what applications we can deliver to them, can we cope with 75 simultaneous connections to wifi, have we got the staff to maintain them - but nothing insurmountable. Of course students could also use their own laptops, if we could get the applications to them. Hopeful our new desktop project will solve that one...

Another area where we need to improve our carbon footprint is in printing - and we are currently going in to departments carrying out printing audits to see how we can help them print less, and where they do have to print, do it in a more efficient and carbon friendly way. I'm still amazed by how little people consider the cost (£ and C) of printing. The number of meetings I go to and see people clutching folders of single sided papers, carefully printed out by clerical staff I assume, often with colour banners, and presumeably filed when they get back - despite the fact that nearly all papers are held electronically centrally. Or thrown away, often having never even been referred to in the meeting. Hobby horse of mine I'm afraid!

Finally today we had a long look at our budget, and discussed costs, prioritisation and timing of our capital spending. Very difficult to do when you can't get good cost estimates for projects which are not complete, and will be making decisions about possible changes to technologies and infrastructure. Lots of flexibility needed!

3 comments:

Simon said...

Worth a read...

http://www.cio.com.au/article/333686/nz_school_ditches_microsoft_goes_totally_open_source

Anonymous said...

I have to say I find this a little ironic, having come in to work this morning to find a printed leaflet from Transport Services outlining the University driving policy. Given the current financial difficulties the University is facing, I find it astonishing that CICS are wasting money producing hard copy leaflets around a policy that affects very few staff – I for one don’t even have a driving licence. Why oh why could this not have been done via an email and associated web page?

Chris Sexton said...

I agree with you Anonymous - this should have been done via an email and a web page. the hard copy leaflets should have gone to those staff with no access to computer or email. I'm afraid it was a good old fashioned cock up - albeit a very visible and embarrassing one!