News

What Happened to Unlimited Printing?

Many students starting off the new semester are slowly beginning to realize that the little number indicating their printing balance at the top right corner of their computer screen has decreased significantly. What once was an unlimited supply of ink and paper now has 500-page restriction.

By Leigh Robertson

Many students starting off the new semester are slowly beginning to realize that the little number indicating their printing balance at the top right corner of their computer screen has decreased significantly. What once was an unlimited supply of ink and paper now has 500-page restriction.

The new quota system was discussed with the IT Advisory Committee, the Academic Computing Committee and Student Government and implemented at the start of the 2013 spring semester for several reasons.

From 2011 to 2012 alone there were 3.3 million pages printed out. Which racks up about $264,000 in annual printing costs. However, 1/3 of the printed pages were produced by only 10 percent of the students on campus.

In addition, many students were running off massive amounts of paper and then not even claiming them. The unlimited amount caused carelessness. This brought about a good deal of alarm regarding just how much we were printing out as a student body.

This new system has been put into effect to raise awareness concerning the volume of printing and to reduce the amount of waste being generated.

A limit of $50.00 or 500 sheets of paper was chosen based on statistics gathered over the past several years. More than 70% of students printed less than 500 pages per semester last year, and when you account for duplex printing that allows 1000 pages a semester, which covers over 90% of the student population.

Mike Gifford, the director of the IT Service center said that the goal is to raise awareness and to limit the amount of waste being generated with “free” printing.

Most computer labs have opted for this new limitation with the exception of some managed by various academic departments.

For students who exceed there printing limit, it is still possible to request codes from the IT or Circulation desks that will increase your Papercut software balance and allow you to print in 100 page increments.

Also, special PINs are available for student clubs and organizations so pages printed for these organizations are not charged to the student’s balance.  Club officers can request the special PIN for use by up to 5 members of the group by contacting the IT Service Center.

The new “limitation” was put into effect to simply show students just how much they are printing out. When you can actually see that number go down, you become more consciousness about how much you are really printing.

When it comes down to it, the new limit does not make the printing process more costly for the student, it just makes them more mindful. It is a temporary solution to a bigger problem, which is excessive waste.

Gifford said that this is a trial to see if the issue can be remedied, and if this does not work, students might eventually be charged for excess printing.

The university hopes the new quota system will help everyone realize the extent of their printing and reduce both paper waste and the chance for future charges.

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