New technology changes garner mixed reactions
As the 2011-2012 school year commences, Washington University has introduced a number of technological changes to campus.
These changes include improved Internet service on campus, new printing quotas for students and a change to WUSTL Key that only requires the password to be changed once yearly as opposed to twice.
According to Student Technology Services Director Barbara Braun, the changes are geared towards aiding students throughout the school year.
The University has doubled the bandwidth on campus. The bandwidth is now 600 megabits per second (Mbit/s) during the day and 750 Mbit/s at night. This will allow students to have a faster Internet connection on campus during busy hours.
The University is also installing extra routers in places where the Internet connection has typically been slow.
“We’re hoping that by the middle of the semester, you should see improvements in the residential spaces,” Braun said.
Students are looking forward to seeing the effects of the improved wireless signal.
“I was excited when I got that email [notifying students of the change]. A lot of times last year, my signal would drop and I would have to use the ethernet,” senior Emily Averna said.
Still, some students see room for further improvement.
“Off-campus apartments still don’t have Wi-Fi. We’re not allowed to have Wi-Fi, even if we buy our own router. I’m sure they have a reason for this, but it is just not well-explained,” senior Bryan Baird said.
Braun asks that any student living on campus with a slow Internet connection in their room contact STS so that technicians can look into installing a new router.
According to Braun, the University is allocating a general printing allowance to all undergraduate students for the first time.
Every degree-seeking student on the Danforth Campus will receive a $5 printing allowance. Some schools add an additional printing allowance. This will give students who live off campus and do not receive a quota for Residential Life printing an opportunity to print class materials for free, Braun says.
“It allows all the students to come in at the same level with a flat five-dollar credit. If you are not a residential student you can at least to come to campus with a printing quota,” she said.
Students living in Residential Life housing used to receive unlimited free printing. This year, the University has imposed a $40 printing quota—added to the $5 allowance for degree-seeking students—above which students will have to pay for printing out of their own pockets, unless they are enrolled in the University’s engineering, business, social work or law schools, all of which provide additional balances.
According to Braun, this is to stop people from printing more than they need. She says that between 93 and 94 percent of students do not generally print $40 worth of pages in their dorms each year.
Most students have been understanding of the change.
“I liked having free printing, but I totally see where they are coming from charging us,” junior Adam Segal said.
Printing costs four cents for a single-sided page and six cents for a double-sided page.
Although students see the positive environmental effects that saving printing paper may have, some are concerned that it will interfere with their ability to print for class.
“It is understandable why they would do it, but a lot of people have classes they need to print a lot for,” sophomore Vinita Chaudry said.
According to Braun, STS decided on the $40 quota based on data for previous years.
“We thought it was a very fair number. We looked at all the numbers and we thought $40 was a fair number based on the data for the last two years,” Braun said.