It feels like we just wrapped up our 20th Anniversary Spring Summit in Philadelphia, and now our Fall Summit in October is right around the corner! We have been busy preparing and looking after the multitude of details it takes to pull together one of our educational events. There is one new endeavor, at this upcoming event that I’m most excited about. We are committed to being more eco-friendly by reducing our paper usage and waste.
With each event, we have found ourselves creating more paper items and throwing away countless “must have” items… everything from flyers, signs and information sheets to our large event binders. We have been a bit slower than some organizations to become less paper oriented, but change is difficult especially when the paper reliance has been hardwired into our expectations for so many years. Our co-dependency to paper goes way back. Most attorneys are accustomed to tangible reading materials – they love to follow the paper trail and squeeze copious notes into the margins, which often spill over onto yellow pads.
As a result, we were concerned about the impact of a major paperLESS move and delayed its implementation. We worried how attorney members and attendees would feel about not having their event binders, filled with hundreds of “cannot-live-without” pages of information. Would they experience the same value of our PowerPoint presentations without their paper counterparts? We hope they will and look forward to finding out in October.
At the Fall Summit, we will not only continue our 20th Anniversary Celebration, we will also mark a new beginning in which we will turn over a new leaf… of the paper-free kind. We are replacing our much beloved 3-pound event binders with power strips and free downloadable files. Our attendees can also choose to have the materials loaded on a USB stick. And for our die-hard paper fans, we are still making our printed event binder available for a nominal fee.
Our overall goal is to reduce our waste and gain a measurable amount of freedom from the burden of paper. We will never be fully free of paper, but we can do our best to curb the urge to memorialize everything using paper… only to find it later in a trash can or sitting on a forgotten shelf somewhere collecting dust. Wish us luck!
Have you incorporated paper-reducing efforts at your office? Please share your thoughts and ideas on how you are becoming less paper dependent.
Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555