Section: Opinion

Save a tree, actually read your email

By Gabi Healy

One of the highlights of Kenyon’s campus is, undeniably, the fall season. Personally, the changing colors of the tree leaves are what I love the most — the reds and oranges, and sometimes even purple. The splendor of the season would be significantly minimized without the majesty of those trees.

Let me digress for a moment (bear with me, the connection is here). I was sitting at dinner a couple of nights ago, and the people around me were discussing how many emails we receive, how those pesky all-stus and Student-Infos will clog your inbox so quickly that sometimes it seems like the onslaught will never end. I mean, you’ve already seen the fliers advertising the same events all over campus, so perhaps it’s best to separate the (important) emails so that you don’t miss deadlines, or “real” emails that are from your professors or advisors.

It’s probably no surprise to you that event fliers come from trees. And although most office paper is made from wood farms, these controlled timberlands still provide an important ecosystem for the surrounding community while removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere before they’re made into paper. It takes 10 to 20 years for a forest to be eligible for harvest, so those trees are providing a service even as they grow.

I’m betting the reason why there are so many fliers is because the people running events know that students won’t always read the mass emails, so they have to advertise their events in other ways. As someone who planned many a high school event, I definitely understand this logic. However, if we all made a commitment to at least skimming most emails, we could at least cut down on the expensive ink used for fliers, as well as the paper that they are printed on. While you are using electricity and power when reading emails, the external cost to the environment is greatly minimized.

Admittedly, no one’s favorite thing is to sort through their inbox. But by doing so, you’re letting community members be heard, finding out about opportunities and conserving the environment. Your time matters, and by putting five minutes every so often into checking your inbox, people who are passionate about events and opportunities can be assured that their message is registering with the community. In addition, we wouldn’t be inundated with five messages about the same event or opportunity. Alternatively, tell people about the events you’re attending. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to let people know about something and accomplishes all the aforementioned benefits while decreasing the isolationism that technology occasionally encourages.

If we all make a commitment to be a little more aware, we can build a stronger Kenyon network.

Gabi Healy ’18 is undeclared from Fairhaven, Mass. She can be reached at   


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