Columns, Opinion

PINION: Anything we can do to help

This semester, the College of Communication (that’s the College of Optional Math to those students actually learning marketable skills) higher-ups told the faculty to go paper-free, effective immediately, no ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ about it – unless your ‘and’ was an ‘and how great is that!’ Some people are wondering why this happened and what it means. Some cynics have suggested that the move was made to cut costs, but after hours of grueling research, I have discovered COM’s true motive: saving the world!

As anyone who keeps abreast of Al Gore’s spreadsheet addiction would know, little jagged lines are trending precipitously upward – especially those dangerous red ones. In unrelated news, the world is, if some panicky falsehoods are to be believed, about one month away from igniting into a greenhouse gas fireball that will flare, briefly, as the third-brightest object in the night sky (after Sirius and the Citgo sign).

Some of you may still be wondering what a semester’s worth of syllabi, hundreds of copyright-breaking ‘New York Times’ reprints, and the single exam being given in COM this spring have to do with Earth’s fatally fiery future. As the reaction to the recent ban of cigarettes being sold on campus has proven, most of you are hopelessly addicted to nicotine. So, take out your lighter, click it on, and put it to the nearest piece of paper.

Are you now huddled in a friend’s apartment, wondering just how your own dorm went up in smoke after you tossed the crackling T Anthony’s menu you torched into the garbage? Good! Then you now understand that paper is, by far, the most flammable substance on earth – and the third most inflammable! By doing away with the powder keg that is paper, COM’s policy will set back the Doomsday Clock by at least half a day.

Sure, some planet-hating professors might pipe up about the suddenness of this decision, the difficulty of uploading readings to CourseInfo (or is it Blackboard? Or do we use torrents now?), or the fact that the Marketing Department’s copier has been replaced by a spruce tree seedling for Earth Day. But it’s just that sort of selfish thinking that boiled away the Earth’s oceans, leaving behind naught but coral-covered desert.

Of course, if COM is going to grant the world a few more precious hours of collapsing stock markets, bloody wars and ‘Cops’ reruns on G4, then I think it’s only right that Boston University’s other colleges step up, hold their elementally powered rings aloft, and help summon Captain Planet! Or, failing that, they can help save the planet.

The most obvious first move is for the College of Engineering to unilaterally ban the use of calculators. It’s a terrifying truth that each of these massive, button-bedecked behemoths uses as many as four AAA batteries! ‘Terrifying?’ you ask incredulously, cocking your head to the side. Terrifying indeed, dear readers! Alkaline batteries contain the element zinc, which shares a space on the very same periodic table of elements as arsenic, the same poison that killed King George III of England. Eliminating these tiny, expensive, deadly cylinders (batteries, not cigarettes) from our campus is the least that ENG can do.

The College of Arts and Sciences needs a rule of inclusion rather than exclusion. Specifically, the school needs to open its doors to all the university’s trash. Now, I don’t mean to say that English majors need wade knee-deep in rubbish with their noses stuck in Proust! Rather, it’s about time that the school made use of its overabundance of locker space. Those formerly useless wall decorations could store (and this is a metric estimate) thousands of hectares of Starbucks cups, Subway wrappers and completed Daily Free Press Sudoku puzzles. Why let this garbage pile up in our fair city’s beautiful dumps when we have the perfect place for it here at BU?

The College of Fine Arts can chip in by hiring out its talented students as personal entertainment devices. Why use an iPod when you can strap a graduate-level violinist to your bicep? Tastefully done Cubist art is far superior to the stereotypical ‘Animal House’ poster. And who would rather watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ than have an acting workshop put on a production of ‘Equus’ in the middle of their dorm? The electricity saved by this could power dozens of copiers – if they were allowed, of course.

The deep-pocketed folks over at the School of Management can help out by using their limitless credit cards rather than cash. American money is printed on a largely cotton-based material, and that cotton comes from sheep: very, very warm sheep. Without their thick, pre-money coats to insulate them, these animals shed heat radiation into our atmosphere. Enough herds of these toasty ruminants could turn our winter wonderland into the solar system’s next Venus, if we aren’t careful.

I could easily fill another page with tips for the other schools, but then I’d only be adding more fuel to our planet’s future bonfire!

More Articles


  1. pinion!

  2. I have to start by saying that I appreciate sarcasm and satire, and this article is dripping with both. However, in the midst of the ecologic crisis that this world is facing, don’t you think it would be much more prudent to encourage the type of behavior that COM is trying to inspire? Sure, their individual “global foot print” may not be enormous, and cutting out paper in one college of a University certainly won’t make THAT much of a difference in the word’s survival or demise, but it’s behavior like this, when multiplied and answered by many colleges in many universities, that makes a difference. It’s part of the theory that “everyone must do their part” to make a difference, and I commend COM for taking that first step. I don’t think they deserve to be shot down so quickly and abruptly in that kind of sarcastic manner. If you’re a journalism student, then shame on you for not supporting your own school.<p/>Also, I can’t let this go and I need to clarify something pretty obvious for you. Cotton comes from a plant, not from sheep. (Remember Eli Whitney and the cotton gin? What is that, 3rd grade social studies?) Wool comes from sheep, and we don’t print money on wool. If you’re going to go off on ridiculous tirades and rant about nonsense to prove a point, at the very least, you should have your facts correct.