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An open letter to those few printing abusers

Earlier this month, Student Technology Services revealed that there are some students who are outrageously abusing the free printing services it offers in Residential Life dorms. The e-mail more specifically indicated that the printing services are being exploited by a mysterious demographic: The top-10 largest printers at Washington University. These 10 people, according to the e-mail, are responsible for 10 percent of the total printing volume. In a school as green-obsessed as ours, this profligacy passes outrage and enters awe. Is this the work of a concerted group, a sort of anti-green coalition? Are they the same 10 every year? What can they be printing? We have no answers to these questions. STS plans to confront these wrongdoers in a weekly e-mail, but we feel they are also due for some more public shaming.

Dear 10 most wasteful printers,

We know who you are.  Though we cannot point you out in a crowd and belittle you for the gluttonous tree eaters you are, (which is what you all deserve) know that your acts do not go unnoticed—not by us, nor by any higher being. We would appeal to your empathy, point out how this community cherishes its printing, but such entreaties would only amuse you. We would exhibit your own selfishness to you if we thought you erred in ignorance.

We would demand your confession if we believed you were capable of regret. But when 10 threaten the resources of 4,000, we realize we are not addressing a conscientious bunch. Merely know that as bookbinding remains a minor at this school, there is no way your printing penchant is anything but criminal. If you are an English major printing out your latest novel-length effort, know that nothing that has happened to you is worthy of such waste. Or if you are a business school student intent on proving the tragedy of the commons, know that this is a stupid way to make your point. And if you are the kind of cheap student who will print out your American history sources rather than pay $11.95 for the paperback, know that your selfish ways are why you have such difficulties making friends.

It is unlikely that you will ever be able to repay the school. Present your penitence to whatever God you know. And hope that your fellow students, whom you have wronged irrevocably, will forgive you.
So please, go easy on the printing.

Student Life Editorial Board

  • Brandon

    Russell–you are correct. It’s the ten people who print the most each week.

    So that, in a week when 80,000 pages are printed on residential printers, 10 people comprise 10% (~8,000 pages) and the other approximately 3000 people account for the rest (~72,000).

    Those 10 people average 800 pages in one week, whereas the other 3000 average only 24.

  • Russell

    I had assumed the email meant that in any given week, the 10 most prolific printers account for 10% of that weeks printing, *not* that there were 10 people at this school whose printing accounts, in total, for 10% of the entire year’s paper use…. Unless I missed something, that’s somewhat less appalling, no?

  • P

    “We know who you are.”

    And who, Studlife editors, do you think YOU are?

    My tolerance for Studlife editorials is finally shot. This is the most abrasive, condescending, and utterly baseless editorial I’ve ever seen on this site, and that’s saying something.

    I am fully supportive of any effort on campus to conserve paper and other recyclable products, and I am frustrated by the prevalence of wasteful practices. But for all we know, there could be perfectly legitimate reasons for using all that paper. An English major writing a novel? Godspeed! Please don’t stop on account of this intimidation. I also happen to know some very serious students who keep archives of the articles they have to read for class. People who perhaps cannot afford a computer of their own and need a hard copy. I can assure you that these people are not “gluttonous,” nor are they “selfish,” nor are they “not a conscientious bunch.”

    In short, to see Studlife launch ad hominem attacks without knowing any of these individuals’ reasons for printing excessively–without knowing the facts upon which responsible journalism is supposed to be based–is nothing short of nauseating. For crying out loud, they explicitly suggest the possibility that these people are being intentionally wasteful!

    This flagrant lack of responsibility is compounded by the fact that STS has access to the names of these individuals. Was Studlife actually given any of those names? If so, shame on both Studlife and STS. Does it really matter if they don’t print the names? The Wash U campus is easily small enough for word of mouth to destroy reputations, encourage bullying, and cause serious psychological harm–all directed toward people who have no chance whatsoever to defend themselves. And given the unabashedly vitriolic tone of this editorial, something tells me that the editors would very much enjoy sharing the names with a few friends here and there.

    How is this acceptable? Does this newspaper have ANY standards anymore? ANY accountability? Does the truth even matter to Studlife?

    And Joel, I will gladly join you in your crusade to rank among these ten martyrs.

  • D

    I agree with the article in the overall meaning and tone. If people think wasting paper is funny, they could do with a little growing up.

    Environmentally speaking, StudLife should also quit wasting paper (as one of the commenters suggested). In this day and age, going digital would be much better for everyone.

  • anonanonanon

    horrible horrible horrible staff editorial. Yet another editorial fall through at the last minute?

    to address John:

    Student Life is printed on 100% recycled paper using soy ink. An estimated 4000+ people read each issue in print, including more online. Since you read this article and commented on it, I’ll include you in that number.

    All issues remaining in the news stands when the new issue comes out are recycled.

    It’s fun to throw stones at glass houses…. it makes an awesome noise

  • Kate Brugioni

    This “article” is absolutely unbelievable. And not in a good way. This actually makes me ashamed to go to the same school as you, StudLife staff. By what process is an editorial such as this not only thought up…but PRINTED?!

  • John

    Honestly, Studlife has no room to talk about wasting paper. I mean you print out a thousand copies of your newspaper and what, maybe a 100 people read it. Honestly, don’t throw stones in a glass house.

  • Joel

    Wow. Unfortunately, I am definitely not one of those ten, but this idiotic editorial makes me want to try to be one of them. What is the standard; how much do I need to print next week to become one of those reverend 10? The sooner I know, the sooner I can get started.