We all know that a lot of paper is used in writing classes, after all everyone in this class has had at least two during their time here at Mercyhurst. For this class alone, we have printed out over 1700 pages of work as a whole. I was even surprised by this, but those pages add up fast. Especially when there are 26 students in our class, we had three large papers, for each of them we had to print out three copies of the rough draft to be peer reviewed, they also had to have a bibliography and letter to the reader, and there were six smaller assignments on top of all of that.

While that may seem very high for one class, it’s not that far off from the norm. We surveyed seven professors in the English Department here at Mercyhurst and all but one had over a thousand pages of assignments, the other had about nine hundred. We asked how many classes each professor taught a term, the average number of students in their classes, how many writing assignments they give, and the average number of pages for the assignments. The answers provided were rough estimates and did not include drafts or handouts the professors may have provided. However, we did get an idea of the minimum number of papers that are printed out in one term for the classes these professors teach.

Using that information and the numbers we received from professors about how many papers they assigned and how many pages they are, we came up with a rough number of papers used. The average came out to be over fifteen hundred pieces of paper per professor in one term. When this is broken down into professors who teach three classes and those who teach two, we found something interesting. The average for professors who teach two classes is over eighteen hundred while the average for professors who teach three classes is only somewhere over fourteen hundred.

Now, that is presuming that none of the papers are recycled, we actually only had one professor talk about how he recycles. Dr. Gregory Brown replied to the survey and added, “As for the papers, I keep the drafts and only hand back a finished copy. I keep them, and when I have held them for a time I recycle them, so they don’t necessarily end up in the landfill, though one doesn’t know what happens later down the line.” Even though this is a step in the right direction, not everyone recycles like they should.