College life may look different in the not-so-distant future: Students squinting out dirtier windows, faculty offices with full wastebaskets and no phones, sporting events in which opponents never meet, and paper course catalogs existing only as artifacts of the wasteful old days.
While colleges and universities slashed their spending this year with wrenching layoffs, hiring freezes and halts in construction projects, they whittled away at costs with smaller, quirkier economies, too:
At the University of Washington, the communications department faculty did away with their landlines. (“Phones were our biggest line item,” said David Domke, the department chairman. “We’ve still got landlines in common areas and for staff, but we’re saving about $1,100 a month by getting rid of faculty phones.”)
At Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., the women’s swim team held a “virtual swim meet” with Bryn Mawr College, in Pennsylvania, about 112 miles away. Each team swam in its home pool, then compared times to determine the winners. (“We probably saved $900 on bus travel,” said William G. Durden, Dickinson’s president.)
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the traditional bus tour of the state for new faculty members was suspended this year. (“In a recession, people don’t want to see 100 faculty members traveling around and staying in hotels,” said Holden Thorp, the chancellor.)
Across the country, colleges have come up with a host of ideas that, taken together, stand as higher education’s household hints for living on a budget.
Campus life is getting a bit dirtier as housekeeping standards are relaxed. Oberlin College in Ohio saved $22,300 by scaling back on window washing, and Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., is power washing its sidewalks and windows once a year instead of twice. Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., is having office trash picked up weekly instead of daily, a change that eliminated three custodian jobs.
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Thanks, Carrie for the link!