In a bid to reduce the environmental footprint of the Students' Union, the Campus Recycling Board is recommending they introduce an online exam bank.
SU Events Commissioner Jennifer Smith, who is also on the CRB, brought the suggestion to the Tue., Nov. 18 meeting of the Students' Legislative Council. Currently, the SU Copy Centre maintains a paper exam bank, allowing students to request copies of past exams for a fee. The new system would still charge a fee, but exams would be accessed through the SU website.
"The CRB had ideas to make the SU more environmentally sensitive," said Smith. "One idea was putting up an exam online registry similar to UÂ ofÂ A."
Smith said the registry could offer PDF files students could download. Creating such a system, she said, would cost the SU $3,000 for the server and software.
SU President Jayna Gilchrist was reluctant to endorse the idea, pointing out many student clubs already have their own exam databases.
"This [might] affect a lot of clubs that depend on revenue [from exams]," Gilchrist said in the meeting, referring specifically to the Biology Students' Association and the Engineering Students' Society.
SU Operations and Finance Commissioner Lisa Willott favoured an online registry, saying the SU has the ability to provide this service to students.
"With respect to the environment point of the CRB, when reducing environmental impact, we can't control what other people do," said Willott. "[But] we can control our own impact."
Council's reaction to the idea was split. A non-binding vote was held at the end of discussion and the vote was tied with 10 in favour, 10 opposed and two abstentions.
BSA President Eric Fung said that while exams are offered for free to members, this is a large draw to the club, which gains revenue through membership fees. He also pointed to the BSA's relationship with professors that allows them to obtain exams.
"These days, a lot of profs have concerns with releasing information, and they prefer not to release exams some of the time," said Fung. "I think there is a certain trust built up between our club and certain professors. I'm not sure there would be the same type of relationship established with the SU."
The issue will likely return to SLC in the future, with a resolution asking for the required funds.