Sustainability Corner: Are you ready to join the digital dance?

by Mickey Thaxton
Associate Executive Director

The British philosopher Alan Watts once remarked that “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” For the past several months, Riderwood’s Resident Life Manager, Fiona Divecha, has been leading an effort to expand the community’s access to information through the use of the “MyErickson” digital application, or “app” as it’s commonly called. “MyErickson” is part of a long-term technology approach throughout Erickson’s communities. It will include community specific information such as activities, menus, transit schedules, and a staff directory. Additional features will be added in future phases. Of course, the intent of this initiative is to improve resident access to information, to make information available on demand, and in a way that is most convenient for the user. In addition to the communication benefits, the use of the myErickson app has the added benefit of furthering Riderwood’s sustainability efforts by reducing waste, reducing our carbon footprint, and conserving resources.

An example of this secondary environmental benefit was realized in late February with the publication of the 2017 Community Resources Handbook, a guide to information about the clubs, groups, and activities available at Riderwood. In past years Riderwood has printed over 2,200 copies of the handbook; however, this year just over half that number were printed with the expectation that the difference would be bridged by the myErickson app. When you consider the fact that each handbook is printed on forty sheets of paper, that’s 88 reams that were saved, totaling 44,000 pages! The financial savings amounted to nearly $240 – and that’s just for this year’s Community Resources Handbook! Now extrapolate that to the many directories, pamphlets, flyers, cubby-stuffers, that are printed each year, and it becomes evident that the expanded use of digital technology will benefit not only our community but also our environment.

But of course, the realization of these benefits requires a willingness to change on our part. Many of us – myself included – have gotten used to accessing information in particular ways. Consider this edition of The Reporter: Did you pick up a paper copy or view it online? What about the Resident Handbook? In the near future, our desire is to see a marked reduction in the use of paper to communicate and to expand the use of digital pathways such as myErickson.

As of mid-March, 10% of Riderwood residents had access to MyErickson; our goal is to increase that to 50% by the end of this year. Are you willing to be a part of the digital conversation here at Riderwood? Are you ready to make the change and join the dance?

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