Printing forum fails to get student involvement
March 12, 2009
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For all the hype over the new printing quotas, fewer than a dozen students showed up to last Thursday’s forum on the issue, the first of two. Those in attendance, though, had a platform to share their views.
“The purpose of this event is to solicit information and opinions,” said forum moderator and Campus Sustainability Coordinator senior Karlis Rokpelnis. The event also featured an update on GoPrint from Associate to the President and chair of the Conservation Committee Jed Schwendiman and WCTS Middleware Analyst Mike Osterman.
In effect since January, GoPrint is a new printing management system that requires students to release their printing jobs in order to reduce waste. As they release their print jobs, printing fees are deducted from students’ $60 printing credit.
WCTS statistics prepared by Osterman show that implementing GoPrint has reduced paper consumption by 40 percent compared to Fall 2008: over 25,000 sheets of paper. That’s roughly equivalent to lining up the saved paper from one end of Walla Walla to the other.
The decrease is better than expected. “[Other] schools typically noticed a 20-30 percent reduction in printing by implementing a [printing management] system,” said Schwendiman.
More telling statistics for Whitman’s progress won’t be available until the end of the semester, though.
While GoPrint is generally considered a success, students certainly have their opinions.
Sophomore Jeremy Guggenheim suggested switching to a system that doesn’t involve an additional login. “I have to log into the computer, and I have to print. Often I’ll have to log into CLEo, then I’ll have to log into some weird printing program that’s not related to GoPrint, and then I’ll have to log into my GoPrint account, also, and then clear it,” he said. “It’s really rather irritating.”
He suggested using Green Print to save paper, which works by eliminating unneeded sheets of paper such as banners and title pages.
Still, Guggenheim said most of his initial concerns about GoPrint have been resolved. Originally upset that students may have to pay out-of-pocket for their printing, he now feels that “the printing quota is sufficiently generous, generally speaking, to allow people to print without going into their own money.”
Paper Campaign leader and sophomore Guari Mirashi said her one concern is that once people get over the initial shock of the printing quota, they’ll print more.
“I felt like the first initial shock was ‘oh my God, every page must really matter’ and now everyone’s sort of [wasting more],” she said. “But it’s still way less than it used to be.”
For next year, a quick vote among attendees showed support for lowering the printing quota to $50 (1,000 sheets or 1,110 sides when printing double-sided), the original suggestion of the Conservation Committee. An exception might be made for seniors, given the extra printing required for theses.
At such a level, most students still would not need to pay out-of-pocket.
Halfway through the semester, 90 percent of students still have $43 or more in their account, according to Osterman.
Schwendiman noted that “we could look at the people who use up most of their [free printing] money and go back and see, are these seniors? Were they working on a project? Is there a reason we have these little blips out here on the edges? And then try to make a decision about where a reasonable limit is based on what’s producing those outliers.”
Osterman considers the forum a success. “A lot of important issues were discussed,” he said.
A second forum will be a held at a to-be-determined date later this semester.