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Speaking Out

Pondering Conservation Postcards

I doubt I am the only person at Penn who has wondered why staff members have needed four postcard mailings about conserving resources. I won't even venture a guess about how much of the University's resources--human and financial--have gone into repeating something that we have all been living with for months now. The message is good, but the means of delivery via these postcards is questionable. Is there a reason for these multiple mailings so late in the summer?

--Rosemary Connors,
Wharton Alumni Affairs
and Annual Giving


Thank you for your feedback and the opportunity to address your concerns. Perhaps the same message could have been delivered using fewer postcards. The postcards are in response to feedback that more educational information needed to be provided on the results of the campus communities' efforts to conserve resources. Initial postcards provide information on the types and amount of energy used at the University; comparing the last several years. Later postcards provide information on possible personal conservation measures. Finally, information on what our conservation efforts mean environmentally in terms of reduced emissions and equivalent cars removed or trees added is the last information being provided.

As far as your concern about the timing of this information. This information was intended to coincide with the summer electrical energy conservation period. Our intention was that by providing this type of information during the summer peak, which is our peak electrical rate setting period, we could reinforce the importance of everyone's efforts and the benefits of heightened awareness.

Originally it was hoped that these same messages could be sent by means of a mass e-mailing with attachments. Unfortunately, due to the size of the attachments and concern for slowing down the servers, this approach proved to not be feasible. Another option we considered was to send one mass e-mailing with an embedded link to a Web Site where the postcards could be viewed. This approach made it too easy to simply hit the delete key and miss the message. The intramural mailing of postcards allowed the information to be physically delivered so that each individual could choose to either read it or recycle the card. Also we had hoped to use postcards made of recycled paper, however the address label machines required a stiffer paper.

--Barry Hilts, Associate Vice President
--William Anderko, Director
Division of Facilities Services


Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues will be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated. --Eds.

Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 4, September 17, 2002


September 17, 2002
Volume 49 Number 4

The School of Veterinary Medicine invites the Penn community to celebrate 50 Years of Excellence with an Open House on September 21.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn #4 in it's annual Best national Universities survey.
The Penn Humanities Forum dedicates the 2002-2003 lectures, seminars, and exhibitions to the topic of The Book.
New Bioterrorism Legislation affects laboratories and clinical facilities.
Speaking Out about the conservation postcards.
Honors for faculty and staff
The 14th annual Career Conference for graduate students starts on September 17.
The 10th annual Penn Family Day is scheduled for October 5.
Research Roundup: Nurse Shortage; Alternate Tobacco Use; Immune Cells Fight Cancer; Head Start.
The Annual Crime Report from the Division of Public Safety.