Printing charges in Eads ArtSci lab drive paper use up in residential labs, STS says

| News Editor
Matt Lanter | Student Life

Printing on the South 40 has increased considerably after the implementation of a printing fee in Eads.

Students on the South 40 need to continue cutting back on paper usage, according to administrators at Student Technology Services (STS). Although PaperCut software is being used in these residential areas, there has actually been a substantial increase in the amount of printing done in residential computer labs this year.

The PaperCut monitoring software is used on main campus and in the residential areas. The labs use the program, in which students have to log in to print, to dissuade students from printing more than is necessary. While the labs on main campus charge for printing, printing in dorm computer labs run by STS remains free.

Barbara Braun, the director of STS, believes that the increase in printing is at least partially due to the newly instated charges for printing on campus. She believes that students are turning to the residential computing labs for free printing instead of paying for printing on campus.

Last academic year, about 2.25 million sheets of paper were used in the residential printing labs. This year, Braun predicts that the number will be higher than 3 million.

“PaperCut helps us manage printing and cut down on waste,” Braun said. “It does not cut down on printing. Only students can do that.”

The week of March 14, 80,000 sheets of paper were used in residential printing facilities.

In the month of February alone, 29,992 sheets of paper were used in the Dardick computer lab. According to STS, this is equivalent to using 37 percent of a tree, leaving a light bulb on for 8,512 hours or emitting 258 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Braun said there are things that students can do to decrease the amount of paper being used in these computer labs. Documents are already printed double sided. Students can print two pages per sheet of paper, which would halve the number of pages printed.

The Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) has started to e-mail the top 10 users of paper each week to notify them of the high volume of paper they are using.

According to Braun, this is to help the “resources to be allocated evenly.”

The volume of paper used, particularly given the University’s reputation as an environmentally conscious campus, surprises students and members of the University community. Even so, students recognize the amount of printing that is necessary for many classes.

“We use a lot of paper,” freshman Sarah Garay said. “I wish that teachers would be more willing to let you bring your laptops into class. It could cut down a lot on paper use.”

Senior Cristina Woodhouse lives off campus. She finds the newly instated charges for the Arts & Sciences printers to be inconvenient because she no longer has a source of free printing.

Adjusting to printing less has been a learning process for many students who live off campus.

“It is inconvenient, but it is probably helping the environment, which is something we should all learn to do anyway,” Woodhouse said.

Even though printing on the 40 increased this year, the University’s newly implemented printing software, and charges, have been effective in reducing printing on campus.

Earlier this year, the University campus ushered in a series of changes with its printing programs. Both on main campus and in the residential areas, the PaperCut software was installed on computers.

For the first time, students have been charged to use the Arts & Sciences computing labs. Prior to this, students in Arts & Sciences could use the lab in Eads to avoid the library’s printing charges.

According to Marcia Mannen, associate director for client support of Arts & Sciences computing, charging students to print has caused a substantial decrease in the amount of paper wasted every day.

Last year, students would sometimes leave the labs rather than wait for their print jobs to finish, and they would come back later to reprint. As a result, about 500 pages were abandoned in the Eads labs every week. This year, 10-20 sheets are left in the lab every week.

According to Mannen, 516,572 sheets of paper were printed in the Eads printing facilities in the fall 2008 semester. In contrast, 74,796 sheets were printed last term after the charges were instated.

The business and engineering schools also started to use the PaperCut software this semester, though their allowed printing quotas are higher.

  • D

    80,000 pieces of paper in residential areas? That’s what, like 40 pages a student? Considering at least half the students use their own printers, or other on-campus printers, that’s ike 80 a week. Even for a week of turning in research reports, papers, and other homework, that seems excessive.

  • a student

    If I had a dollar for every professor I’ve had in four years who put the reading on Telesis and/or ERes and then required us to bring the readings to class…

    And then another dollar for those same professors who didn’t allow students to use laptops in class…

    And then another dollar for every professor who only accepted hard copies of papers (including an extra 50 cents for professors in departments like History who have been told not to accept emailed papers because the department doesn’t want to pay for professors to print them out)…

    Well, I wouldn’t exactly be rich at 5 classes times 8 semesters, but you can get the point. Much as we might like to cut back on printing, we don’t have a choice. WU has passed on the responsibility for printing to students (seriously, when was the last time a professor xeroxed anything for you other than a syllabus or a test) at the same time that it has cut back on sources of free printing. We already spend plenty on tuition and books; of course we’re going to try to avoid the added cost of printing.

  • student

    how about kids shouldn’t print out 50 page pdfs of an article they read once, or the powerpoints they can look at on their laptops that they plug into the wall all day anyways?

  • Hey, StudLife, if you are reading this… why don’t we start a poll… “Who should be responsible for reducing printing? 1.) Students 2.) Professors”.

  • I couldn’t agree more with Stan. The problem is NOT the students; professors need to be encouraged to use electronic homework submission more than paper submission. I think the use of papercut is completely unfair to students and am annoyed that my previous unlimited quota in the Center for Engineering Computing (CEC) has now been replaced with a fixed paid quota. I very strongly prefer turning in my computer science homework as a *.tar.bz2 source code archive; however, many of my professors would prefer that I submit my homework by printing out thousands upon thousands of lines of source code, which makes absolutely no sense (for example, it needs to be in electronic form if you actually want to test it). Anyway, the bottom line is that the University is going about this in completely the wrong fashion. Quotas should not be attached to students, but rather the the courses that the students are taking. That way, the University can assess which professors are giving out excessive paper-consuming assignments, and which professors are taking advantage of, for example, electronic homework submission. It is reasonable for students to pay for personal printing, but for homework, such charging is completely unfair.

  • Stan

    Why is STS blaming this on students? Teachers require students to turn in hard copies of most assignments, sometimes multiple copies. And some teachers don’t allow laptops so students must print out slides beforehand. If Wash U is going to charge us for printing, we shouldn’t be forced to print.

  • kate

    Caption talks about S40, but image is of Village House…