Is it more important for universities (as educational institutions that create critical-thinking individuals) to put social responsibility over cost for students?
For example, let’s say a university is holding a social for every student and staff member. This social involves food and inevitably also requires plates for each person to hold that food. Given that the plates are going to run into the thousands (what with people coming up for seconds and thirds and separate desert plates), the cost of such plates are going to be in the hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Compound this by the number of such events the university holds throughout the year.
Students protest increases to the cost of attending the university (materials, fees, tuition, etc), and a large part of that cost covers operational expenses (including plates for events). It would be within the university’s best fiscal interest to get the cheapest plates possible.
At the same time, universities have a (if only expected) social responsibility. They teach equality, tolerance, respect and so forth for humans, animals and the environment. In this instance, it would be socially responsible for the university to use plates that are made from recycled materials. Better yet, they could use porcelain plates that can be washed and reused. Of course, both of these options incur a larger cost (more expensive to purchase, and in the latter case, staffing costs to wash them).
So which is more important? Cheaper or more socially responsible?