Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cost Cutters AND Mission Enhancers?

While the economy pervades the news I still don't see as many GREAT IDEAS on cost cutting and organizational reorientation as I would have expected. As we settle into what appears to be a more long term "new economy" I'm starting to see more reports of lifestyle and organizational changes which will make economic and cultural differences. Some actions, such as dropping phone land lines for cell phones, seem to be the new norm.

An article from the NY Times shares some intriguing actions on college campuses which save money without compromising the mission. In fact, some of these moves appear to enhance student education. Ever heard of the WooCorps?! Check out some of my favorite university cost cutters:

- "Virtual Swim Meets"- where competing universities swim in their own pool, against the clock, and then compare times, without traveling to a swim meet.

- Some schools have cut out their "free" laundry service! I had no idea any universities offered such things. :) This is a worthy education and cost cutter if ever there was one.

- This is one of my favorites. "Cafeterias, too, are saving money, cutting food waste and reducing hot-water and detergent costs by eliminating trays. When Whittier began “Trayless Tuesdays” last fall, lunchtime food waste dropped to 4.6 ounces per student from 7.4 ounces — and the college saved almost $30,000 a semester after going fully trayless in the spring."

- In similar fashion many schools have returned to tap water and dropped bottled water.

- Another favorite move saves money and gives students work experience. "Rhodes College in Memphis economizes — and gives students work experience — by hiring students in 25 professional staff positions, saving $725,000 a year. And the College of Wooster in Ohio is trying to hold on to financially struggling students, and their tuition dollars, by offering minimum-wage summer jobs in its “WooCorps,” which has almost 200 students painting rooms, landscaping and growing vegetables this summer. WooCorps students will get an extra $1,000 in their financial aid packages — and help the college complete more maintenance projects than usual."

Now I'm curious how Christianity might benefit from such thinking and actions. Do you know of any actions taken by a church, denomination, or the Church which is a cost cutter while maintaining or enhancing the mission? I'm not looking for mere budget slashing, but for ways of saving money AND creatively fulfilling or even growing ministries. Let me know what you think.

Find the full article at Higher Ed Cost Cutters

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