News | Student Life

Councils, green groups hope grids reduce fliers

Mudd’s chaotic bulletin boards, a familiar sight to engineers, are about to become a little less cluttered.

The barrage of fliers on the two large boards at the entrance to Mudd “makes a bad first impression,” Angel Say, SEAS ’13 and a representative on the Engineering Student Council, said. “That’s the first thing you see. It’s kind of imposing to see a mess of paper on the floor and the walls.”

Say and Zak Accuardi, SEAS ’11 and a member of Green Umbrella, a campus environmentalist group, plan to set up grids on the 8-by-12-foot bulletin boards this week so that club officers can fill the boards as efficiently as possible—one step in a campus-wide push by student councils and sustainability groups to reduce the waste created by fliers.

In Mudd, Facilities started removing old posters on Saturdays instead of every few months after students met with Audrey Bauer, associate director for human resources and facilities services at SEAS, at the end of the fall semester, Say said. But the grid will help reduce the clutter even more.

“If you allocate one grid spot to one poster, hopefully you get a more organized layout,” he said.

Last year, Brenden Cline, CC ’11 and former campus sustainability director for the Columbia College Student Council, spearheaded a movement to maximize bulletin board space use in freshman residence halls. Hartley and Wallach are now home to gridded bulletin boards, and Carman, Furnald and John Jay contain notices above bulletin boards requesting that only one copy of each flier be posted.

CCSC president Learned Foote, CC ’11, said the changes were “night and day in terms of number of posters that were put up.”

“We found that, by adding the grids, you could get about twice as many fliers up. It really maximized the space,” Cline said.

But delays in obtaining approval from the appropriate administrators has kept the new fliering guidelines from reaching other buildings.

Foote said that the guidelines—either grids on bulletin boards or signs asking people to limit themselves to one poster per board—could not be extended beyond the freshman dormitories and Lerner because the council doesn’t have authority over those buildings.

Last year, the Columbia EcoReps deliberated about the best method of enforcing the grid system, and some members sent friendly emails to clubs that were violating the suggestions.

“Ultimately there’s no way, without passing a policy, to actually penalize a group for not following it,” Accuardi said.

Misha Solomon, CC ’14 and director of publicity for Columbia Linguistics Society, frequently hangs up fliers to advertise his clubs, but he said he never puts more than one flier up per board.

“I don’t think that’s really helpful. I’ll put more than one on a floor, but more than one per board is too much,” he said.

Accuardi said that is the true goal of the grid system—to be self-policing—since it isn’t even official policy.

“It would be much, much better for everyone involved if this became the kind of thing that people were interested in doing this for the sake of doing it, for making advertising more efficient, for saving paper, and for saving their own time in having to put up all those fliers,” he said.

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