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DoTS rolls out pay-for-printing system, aims for sustainability

September 19, 2013

Students have noticed various changes implemented on campus this semester, including paying for printing, which was put in place to offset costs and increase convenience for students.

Paul Blado, desktop support manager for the Department of Technology Services (DoTS), said that having students pay for printing out of pocket will help make printing a self-sustainable program on campus.

“This is a campus-wide initiative and we’ve been working on it for a year,” Blado said.

Lindsay Willaby searches the queue for her document using the newly implemented pay-for-printing system in the University Center.
Lindsay Willaby searches the queue for her document using the newly implemented pay-for-printing system in the University Center. Each student receives $10 to use for printing. (Britany Bonney/Student Voice)

Students may not know that all students paid a fee to use campus printing in the past. The new way of paying, which is 10 cents a sheet and uses Falcon Dollars, will allow for only the people who are using printing to pay.

All students receive $10 for printing, and students are no longer required to bring their own paper to print, which Blado said he’s heard positive feedback about.

However, not everyone is happy about the new system.

“I think it’s cheaper to bring my own paper,” said sophomore Chris Jankowski.

DoTS is rolling out the paid printing in a step-by-step approach and installing the new system in printers that have the highest usage on campus, such as the Davee Library and the University Center. Blado noted that the printers will be faster and more reliable.

The printers will also be able to handle the volume of printing that occurs on campus. The Green Lab, in the library, had 20,000 print jobs in one week last semester. The printers were only meant for 5,000 pages before they would go down.

The new printing system also allows greater convenience for students. Students can print not only from campus computers, but from their own desktop computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones. Blado said that students living off campus can even print from their homes, where the print jobs enter a queue. Students only need to release the print jobs at any printer on campus.

Blado said that DoTS knows a lot of people are logging onto campus computers for five to 10 minutes, inferring that students are only using the computers to quickly print something. Therefore, the ability to print from home could greatly convenience students.

Dominic Riel, chair of shared governance in Student Senate, said that he has heard several times that students believe Senate made the decision to switch to the new system of printing, but the decision was made by DoTS.

“I can understand it’s more difficult, more of a hassle for students,” Riel said.

However, Riel also said that he can also see why the new system will be more sustainable for campus. In fact, since Aug. 31, students have printed 26,000 pages on paid printers but have also canceled 12,000 pages, which is a savings of about $1,000 directly to students.

There is no data about printing from previous years, but Blado said that he hopes students see this as an opportunity to find print alternatives, such as reading documents digitally or only printing a small range of pages from a large document.

“Printing is not sustainable if there are other options,” Blado said.

Blado also said that he hopes that professors eventually start to view laptops and tablets in the classroom as tools, not hindrances, so students can take their devices into the classroom and decrease their printing.