The Imprint's Footprint

by: Quenby Barris, Grant Carioni, Paul Gill, Lisa Kerry, Allison Young

Course: ERS 285, 1998
Supervisor: James Kay


The Imprint Footprint project was designed as a part of the "Greening the Campus" course offered in the Environment and Resource Studies Department at the University of Waterloo. The course is intended to create initiatives that work towards the sustainability of the campus. Our project was established as one of these initiatives, specifically dealing with the University of Waterloo 's Imprint newspaper.

This study is important because it is working towards the campus as a sustainable society. A sustainable society is one that manages its economy and population size without doing irreparable environmental harm (Miller, 1998). Our project is intended to be a first step towards achieving this goal. The ecological footprint model helps us to understand this concept. This model incorporates the requirements for a sustainable campus by directing our actions towards sustainable living. Therefore, the smaller the footprint is, the more sustainable it is.

By investigating the newspaper's impact on the campus' social, economic, and biophysical environments, we hoped to identify areas that needed improvement. In particular, we focussed on the excess paper the Imprint newspaper consumes. By reducing this waste the Imprint can benefit economically. We had four main objectives that helped us examine the Imprint system. The first objective was to determine if a reduction in the number of Imprints is needed. The second objective was to learn how students dispose of the paper. The third objective was to establish whether current distribution patterns are efficient. Finally, we wanted to determine if the Internet is a viable alternative to paper.

We discovered that there could be many improvements made. From our study we found that there was a significant number of people that returned their papers to the pile. This suggests that the papers are being re-read and therefore circulation numbers could be reduced. Ideally, the Imprint Internet site should replace the paper, however, we found that this is not possible. We found that a large number of students were not aware of the Imprint Internet site. We feel that the site should be better advertised so students are informed of their options.

This project could be useful for future reference because there are many aspects that are projects in themselves. For example, the distribution patterns could be thoroughly examined, the readership of the Imprint papers could be studied, and the Internet's viability could be researched.

This project is available for viewing by the UW community.

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Last updated: April 23, 1998 plc