Right now, there's a ship sailing on an ocean somewhere, filled with enthusiastic school students. That's the extraordinary reality created by Semester at Sea (SaS), a not-for-profit collaboration between the Institute for Shipboard Education and Colorado State University.
With students spending 100+ days at sea visiting 10-12 countries, the SaS team needs to be on top of the supplies brought on board. More weight means more fuel, so they aim to be as efficient and sustainable as possible – even down to the amount of printing paper they carry.
Ships can carry more than cargo; they can carry ideas
C.Y. Tung, co-founder of the Institute for Shipboard Education
Find a way to keep paper usage and printing-related cargo as low as possible
Among the numerous unique challenges facing the IT team of a floating campus is the need to travel lightly: "Every pound we carry equates to additional fuel cost," says Layne Hanson, SaS' vice president for public affairs. "We try to be as efficient and sustainable as possible".
An area that needed to be brought under control was the amount of paper taken on board for printing. And with new students each semester, it was critical that the print management solution was quick to understand and easy to use.
"We teach students about ocean awareness and sustainable practices," Layne continues. "Part of that is making them aware of paper waste. Wherever possible – exams and essays, for example – we try to use digital sources. But we still see a lot of paper waste."