Rambler Supports Printing Proposal

Editorial

We’ve all seen it: the unclaimed 200-page document beside the printers in the library that will inevitably be thrown away, hopefully recycled, but wasted nonetheless. The issue of spendthrift printing on Transylvania’s campus must be addressed for the sake of the environment, yet any solution must still protect the financial security of students.

The Rambler applauds Jason Whitaker’s recent proposal to the Student Government Association’s academic life committee to implement a testing period in which the school tracks the average number of pages each student prints. Whitaker would then recommend a maximum number of pages which students can print for free each semester. During this tracking period, though, we hope that a survey of professors would be given to determine how many pages in PDF files and written assignments each expects his or her students to print per term. Doing so would allow the information technology department to compare expected number of pages printed to actual pages printed, in order to determine how much of the printing is indeed frivolous. It may even be found that a number of printed pages required of students differs by academic year and that a blanket limit for each student would be unreasonable or unfair.

Determining an appropriate but reasonable limit to free printing per term would allow Transy to further its dedication to sustainability without saddling students with another financial obligation. That is, printing would still be free, up to a point, but the cost would fall on students when their printing is unnecessary or for nonacademic use.

The goal would be to set the page limit high enough based on the poll of professors to make sure that all necessary printing would be covered for each student. Tuition at Transy is already on the rise and with the economy on the rocks, many students face financial difficulties. We need to make sure that those students who already struggle with paying for their education are protected and that the printing limit would not be a further burden.

Currently, students take advantage of free printing in any number of ways, from printing flyers for organizations that could pay for it out of their own funds to printing 40-slide class power points that could easily be reviewed online. As an institution dedicated to “going green,” students will have to make sacrifices, and as long as a realistic printing limit is set, this sacrifice would not be a hard one to make.

That said, Transylvania would need to make sacrifices, too, in order to reduce paper usage and help us stay below this printing limit. This should include investing in double-sided printers, like those located in the Forrer computer lab and the larger lab in the library’s basement, for every major computer lab on campus, if not every printer on campus.

Together, the administration and students of Transy can reduce our impact by cutting wasteful paper usage, and a fair and thoroughly researched printing limit seems like a good first step in meeting that goal.

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