Write and Respond: Reflection Writing Assignment

Before I have ever taken this class, sustainability has never been one of my main priorities. I have always tried recycling, taking quick showers, and turning the sink off while I brush my teeth but I never realized how big of an issue sustainability is for the human population. Throughout the past few years, sustainability has become a more controversial topic. One of the issues that stood out to me in this class was becoming a paperless society. There are many different opinions on this topic and this class has really opened my eyes on it. It gave me a new perspective that I did not think I would ever have.

Since being in Math 33, my awareness for the amount of paper we use has augmented. I have realized that although we recycle a lot of plastic and paper as a campus, we still waste and burn through a lot of those resources. In the beginning of the semester, professor deForest gave out an extra credit opportunity. It was to write an essay advocating for the development of a Penn State University map app. This was to allow students, faculty, or any visitors to have access to a map without having to use paper. I remember hearing about this project and thinking this was a good idea. If I had never taken this class, I would have never known about this app and project. Ever since I heard about going paperless, I thought if we could ever do that as a campus. I became very concerned with Penn State’s paper use. I thought about the classes I took during my time here and how many of them didn’t use any paper materials. After thinking about it, there were a few classes I had all my materials available electronically and did not have to use any paper. Even in this class, there are many ways to potentially cut back on the amount of paper we use. For instance, instead of using note cards to take attendance ever class, we could use clickers. And for the classes we have guest speakers, you could do the clicker questions at the end of class to hold people accountable for staying the whole class.

Reflecting back on this class, I definitely feel much more confident in my knowledge of climate change. After taking Math 33, I know more about the causation of the rise in temperature. One of the guest speakers had the topic of flooding and natural disasters. We learned a lot about flood insurance and the amount of times a certain region gets flooded. I realized that there is a strong correlation between the increase of climate and the amount and severity of flooding and hurricanes. Although I am no expert in climate change, I feel now that I have a stronger grasp on the causes and effects, all thanks to this class.

Math 33 has opened my eyes to the way Penn State stays accountable for all the resources they use. I have been introduced to the process of becoming a sustainable campus. I never used to be a huge environmental advocate, but this class has changed my mind. We only have a limited time on this planet and we must make it able to be used by the next generations. I am very lucky to have taken a class like this to change my perspective on the world.


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8 Responses to Write and Respond: Reflection Writing Assignment

  1. Trenton Quinn Wright says:

    I enjoyed your reflection on the class. Your thoughts and findings from this class are very similar to mine. I wrote a lot about climate change as well as you did. Math 33 also allowed me to feel much more confident about my knowledge on climate change.I agree with you about only having a limited time on this planet and we must take care of it.

  2. JoLynn Harper says:

    I thought your write and respond was very well explained and very relatable for me! I also wrote about how this class really opened my eyes to the subject of sustainability. Just like you applied this idea to other places on campus, I applied it to my involvement in THON and how my background knowledge gained from this class helped me in THON. I think your explanations about your thoughts really capture the changes this class made for you.

  3. kvm5732 says:

    I enjoyed how you connected your newfound awareness to how much paper you personally use to the amount that the university uses as a whole. I think your suggestion about using clickers instead of paper is a great idea! While I don’t think it is possible to go completely paperless, it is possible for professors to rethink certain teaching tools they use that normally involve paper and try to incorporate electronics instead.

  4. zml5135 says:

    I found your reflection on Math 33 very similar to mine. I was shocked by how much thought has to go into sustainability if it wants to make an impact. I also did all of the same things you did to be more sustainable at first. The action you took outside the classroom truly shows how impactful this course is in real life compared to a typical math course. The action you took prompted me to think about the amount of paper I use and how I could possibly change or substitute that level of usage. This is what I believe to be the true goal of Math 33. People causing others to come up with ways to be sustainable within our lives after realizing that this issue is not some mythological, distant threat.

  5. Lauren Elizabeth Jardine says:

    I though you had some really interesting ideas about paper and in many cases I think we should be cutting down on paper waste. However when it comes to using clickers instead of note cards I wonder how much that would really help the issue of sustainability. In theory its a nice idea, however I think there are some reasons why we don’t use them. Clickers are rather expensive and so using them solely for attendance puts a really unnecessary financial burden on student who most likely are trying to save every penny possible. The thing I always think of when people use electronics to go paperless, is in what ways might using electronics instead also negatively impact the environment. In most cases probably not very much because we all have phones or laptops anyway so it’s really doesn’t use up anymore electricity and just eliminates paper. However with an example such as using clickers for attendance, that might be the only reason a student has the clicker at all. Personally I haven’t had to buy one yet and I’m about to enter my fourth semester. So if you think about it for people like me, these clickers are being made in factories that produce air pollution, then they are wrapped in plastic and boxed into cardboard and transported to various store and schools and then paid for, producing a paper receipt. If this class did require clickers for attendance, I would buy one and use it only for attendance for this one class. All of this energy and plastic and paper and the batteries and gas were used in order for me to get this one little clicker to take attendance in lieu of using a note card, which most likely has a much smaller footprint than all of what goes into me getting a clicker, but then again I’m sure there’s a whole similar shipping/manufacturing process for note cards so why not just go old school and take attendance out loud? In most cases I think using electronics to go paperless is probably a good idea because we don’t really use more energy, but in the case of the clicker sticking to paper might be a good idea.

  6. cwa5234 says:

    Hello! I think your idea about going paperless is an interesting one. I don’t ever believe that any college campus will be completely paperless, but cutting back where we can is 100% possible and worth it. Things like making the map in map form is a great way to cut down paper consumption. When we talked about this in class, I thought about the ways in which our campus already does this, and the biggest one that came to mide was the Pollok Testing Center. With this testing center, I have never seen a paper test in some of my classes. I am happy that this class inspired you to get involved or even just educate yourself on something you might not of know about otherwise. Good job!

  7. Joy S Blazofsky says:

    Hello! I like how your final write and respond was related to the extra credit that you participated in. I agree that it is very important to cut down our paper use, especially as college campus. There are so many easy opportunities to convert paper materials to technology nowadays, and it is really important for faculty and administration at Penn State to recognize this and take action on the issue! For example, in one of my classes I receive at least 10 papers for every single class I attend, which could all be easily as accessible online. I like the topic you brought to the point of discussion and hope to see more advancements on changing this issue!

  8. gcg5081 says:

    I loved reading your essay, because it was super relatable! I shared a lot of your sentiments about sustainability, particularly those which involve how sustainability was incorporated into my life prior. I, too, attempted to incorporate it in any way possible, such as shorter showers, and unplugging electronics when I wasn’t using them, but never was able to constantly bring it to the forefront of my mind. Prior to attending this class, I didn’t know much of the specifics about the terrible implications of climate change that were actively changing the world around us. I especially didn’t think that math would be one of the keys to understanding and solving these issues! I liked all of your considerations as to how to better this class and university as a whole; although going paperless is an extremely ambitious idea, I think it could really make a positive impact going forward, and with time could be plausible at Penn State

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