IT Raises Printing Concerns

by Jessica Gordon
Staff

Students at Transylvania may eventually have to start paying for printing.

Jason Whitaker, director of the information technology department, told the Student Government Association’s student life committee Tuesday that students are printing too much. To combat the problem, he presented the committee with a proposal to limit printing at Transylvania.

Transy has used an estimated 400,000 sheets of paper since September, according to Whitaker. At a campus of 1,100, students use on average an estimated 364 sheets of paper for printing. These numbers are likely to double by the end of this school year.

“The most common reaction I’ve seen from people is to agree that we do print a lot, and there is a lot of waste paper sitting around in waste baskets next to the printers,” Whitaker said. “We have to commit to making lifestyle changes to be green.”
Members of SGA agreed that paper waste seemed to be a problem. Yet, many pointed out professors often demand that students print many-paged PDFs for classes.

“The downside is that many professors post articles on Moodle … that students can easily print off without the hassle of buying a textbook for that material. Hopefully, professors will consider the costs of doing so if Transy students end up having to pay for printing,” senior Erin Overstreet said.

While Whitaker said he understands that printing for classes is a necessity, he also pointed out that many students are simply taking advantage of the free printing on campus.

Whitaker said that a possible limit is still in the research stage. He would like to have a test period to figure out how many pages most students print on average. In this test period, students would have to either swipe their crimson cards or use a log-in account to print.

After the test period, students would then get a limit on printing. Whitaker said after that, there may possibly be a fee for every sheet going over the limit. The fee would possibly be something in the ballpark of 3 to 4 cents per sheet.

At the meeting, Whitaker said that the next step is more research, and that his recommendation is not yet concrete. Whitaker reminded SGA that the administration will make the final decision. Whitaker can recommend the limit, but in the end administrators might not agree with the idea.
Students have already begun to debate the possible limit and fee.

“I understand the desire to cut back paper use and costs but many other options are available and should be followed first, such as double-sided printers,” said junior Kevin McLendon.

Whitaker said he is concerned about his fee proposal because the free printing policy is considered a selling point to potential students. However, Whitaker pointed out that the priority is limiting the amount of printing.

“We talk a big game around here about going green, but how willing are we to change our habits? That’s a discussion we all need to have,” Whitaker said.

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