At first glance, printing policy a good thing

At the beginning of this year, STS introduced a new plan for student printing on campus. After years of free printing in residential dorms, every student in Washington University housing now receives a $40 printing credit. All degree-seeking students receive a $5 printing credit. On top of that, depending on their school, students receive an extra printing credit—for instance, engineering school students get $35 and business school students get $65.

As a result, student printing has been reduced by approximately 40 percent when compared to the same period last year. We think that this is a great achievement, and that STS created a very effective policy by establishing a printing credit.

On the whole, we are highly supportive of this change. The University talks a lot about “going green,” but many sustainability policies fail to create tangible change. Last year’s Green Cup was not entirely successful and was underpublicized. The new bike path has had various delays, and debates about its usefulness continue.

This is why the new printing policy is such a great thing. It was created with the goal of reducing the amount of paper the University students waste, and as of yet, has more than done its job. A 40 percent reduction in printing over last year is the result of a very successful policy, and we believe that the policy should continue.

At the same time, the policy is not perfect. We believe that some small alterations would make the system more effective and less of a burden on students, while maintaining the significant reductions in printing.

For students who do not live in Washington University housing, a mere $5 credit for students of Arts and Sciences seems inordinately stingy. That is a total of 83 double-sided pages, which over the course of even a single month is very easy to surpass. These students are still paying for room and board, albeit from a different location than Washington University. They should not be worse off in terms of printing simply because they chose to live off campus.

We believe that off-campus students should receive a higher baseline printing credit, regardless of whether or not they live in Washington University-owned housing. Those who do pay the University room and board should receive credit additional to this baseline.

One more issue arises if there is a problem with the printers provided by the school. In many cases, the connection to printing stations fails to go through, or the printers are out of paper or ink. Even so, students are still charged for printing those pages, which they ultimately do not receive. STS allows students whose documents print incorrectly to bring the flawed printing job to STS for a reimbursement. We believe that a system by which students could lodge a complaint online and be reimbursed without having to visit the STS office could be more efficient and less time-intensive.

If these small changes are made, we believe that the University’s printing system can remain effective and still curb the amount of paper that students use. This school talks extensively about going green, and it is nice to see a policy that is both effective and, with some minute alterations, fair.

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