Simple Idea Nets Big Savings for GRCC Sustainability Efforts

[Corrected] Grand Rapids Community College employees have already helped the college save over $2 million dollars by using sustainable practices and environmentally sound choices. Those changes usually come from big efforts around utilities and equipment, but their approach also includes educating employees and students about individual habits. One recent change, although seemingly small, demonstrates that new awareness.

GRCC’s Human Resources (HR) Department is purchasing Nook Readers for screening committee members to use during first-round interviews. Previously, all interviewee application materials (cover letter, resumes, letters of reference, transcripts, etc) were copied for every committee member to reference during an interview.  When interviews were completed, documents were returned to the HR Department and shredded.

But now, thanks to Human Resources Coordinator Christine Davis, they have a new process:  HR downloads the documents onto a Nook Reader and a reader is given to each interviewer. After interviews are completed, the readers are returned to HR, the information is deleted and the readers are ready to be used again.

How does this original idea help save money? Here’s the math - based on the process used for an upcoming faculty position opening:

600 pages not needed to be copied =$30 savings
$30 saving x 23 current openings = approximately $700 savings

The readers cost GRCC $149 each, so the purchase price is recouped in a short time.

Cathy Wilson, Executive Director of Human Resources, said Davis’ idea was a simple one, but that her commitment to better use of resources was big.  “Everyone in our department agreed that we had to try this to do our part to save time, money and strengthen our commitment to sustainability. The feedback from screening committee members has been very positive.  We appreciate their commitment to change and sustainability as well.”    

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The Training Solutions department trained over 8,100 students in specialized training programs in 2009-10. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.