A recent change to on-campus printing has many students thinking twice before pushing “print.”
A 500-sheet printing quota has been put into effect this semester in hopes of reducing costs to students and improving campus sustainability.
The quota was determined by the information technology department and endorsed by Student Senate.
“We did some surveying of local campuses, as well as campuses within the MnSCU system,” said Daniel Heckaman, chief information officer of the IT department. “The quota ranged from 200 sheets per student per semester to 1,000.”
Heckaman presented the data to Student Senate, recommending a 500-sheet printing quota, and Student Senate approved.
The 500-sheet quota equates to $25 per student. Additional pages can be purchased using a kiosk in the library or online for 5 cents per page.
“I don’t look at the quota system as a restrictive system,” Heckaman said. “I don’t really care how much you print. If printing a piece of paper facilitates a better learning outcome, then you should do it.”
Heckaman and Student Senate discussed the possibility of allocating certain programs more printing dollars due to writing intensive courses or other printing needs, but ultimately decided against it.
“Senate’s advice was to not go down to the program level because that’s no different than buying special equipment or buying an expensive book,” Heckaman said.
Changes help students make sustainable choices
According to the printing records, 90.6 percent of MSUM students were under the quota last semester
And as students become more aware of their printing habits, they are making more sustainable choices and printing less. Professors have also been encouraged to find ways to adapt to less printing, whether it’s using a dropbox, Google Drive, Desire to Learn or in-classroom technology.
“In the first two days of fall semester, the students printed 44,416 pages,” Heckaman said. “The first two days this semester, we printed 19,047.”
In just one semester, students cut their printing by more than 20,000 pages.
“Students are making better decisions, and the system is helping them do that,” Heckaman said.
Heckaman stated that there were an increased number of large print jobs that showed up on the release queue but were never printed. Before they would have just printed, but now students are making a choice and deleting jobs they don’t need, he said.
The newly implemented printing quota is expected to save $22,000, which will be used for technology upgrades in the classrooms.
Affected students plan to cut back or pay extra
While the data shows that the vast majority of students won’t be affected by the quota, a few students will need to either purchase additional pages or cut back on their printing.
Many of the students affected are either in writing intensive programs or are involved in student organizations.
Sally Lunde, an elementary special education junior, said many of her professors expect her to print full Powerpoint slideshows to review during lectures and take notes.
“I’ll have to be more aware of how much I print,” she said, suggesting she would probably spend the money to purchase additional pages.
Kendra Steinke, a communications and psychology sophomore, said she would also be affected by the printing quota. Steinke is in Gamma Phi Beta and often prints mailbox stuffers, posters and handouts for the sorority.
“It’s going to be a little more spendy this year,” she said.
But, that might not be true. Heckaman said IT and Student Senate are in active discussion to create an alternate environment for student organizations.
The goal is to set up a system that allows the student leaders to indicate if they are printing for class purposes or for their organizations.
BY JASMINE MAKI Email