Reuse, Reduce and Recycle: Tools to Help You go Paperless in 2015

As college students, using a ridiculous amount of paper seems inevitable. No matter how much we try to print- two sided or buy notebooks with recycled paper, by the end of the first week of every semester our back-packs are filled with a loose-leaf mess. As much as the study grind can make it difficult to cut down on paper products, there are a couple of tools that I have found super helpful when trying to de-clutter, decrease printing costs, and do a little good for the environment.

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Google Drive

If you haven’t discovered the beauty and convenience of Google Drive, now is the time. Google Drive is compatible with pretty much all tablets and laptops, offers basically unlimited file storage, and makes any document uploaded to your drive available anywhere with an Internet connection. There’s basically no limit to what you can do with Google Drive- taking class notes, making collaborate study guides, spreadsheets, forms, PowerPoint presentations- all of which are shareable via pixels instead of paper.

Personally I take all my class notes using Google Drive instead of carrying around Notebooks. Not only has it made my notes neater and more organized, it has lightened the load in my backpack a little bit.

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E-Readers, Online PDF’s

Using an E-Reader to read for class can be a huge money saver- especially for liberal arts majors. It’s easy to find free PDF’s of books online! The best part about e-readers is that you can also download a PDF of a class syllabus. Instead of having to dig through a bunch of folders to find an assignment due date or check out a grade policy for ne of your classes, you can just whip out your e-reader!

Pro-Tip- first generation nooks or Kindles are insanely cheap now, but for me they worked better than newer models! These older E-Readers don’t have a backlight which means the battery lasts forever and they’re a little easier on the eyes.

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I-Cal or Google Calendar

Online calendars make it super easy to leave behind scribbled to-do lists and cluttered planners. Being able to copy and paste your schedule every week is a huge time saver!

Pro-tip: When you add an event to a digital calendar, you can set a reminder for the event! Reminder settings are great for remembering work shifts or important meetings… like CEC meetings every Wednesday at 6:30!

Some final words of advice- many older professors don’t know about technologies that can help them go paperless! Don’t be afraid to talk to them about how they can help UT think green by reducing their paper use!

Thanks for reading!

~Samantha Meyer

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