By Dave Robertson
Beginning in the Spring Semester of 2008, students will be charged for printing from computers in labs across campus once they have printed 400 pages, according to a plan approved by the college’s administrative council (including vice presidents, top managers and the president during Fall 2006.
Charging for printing is not a new concept, according to Dr. Esther Iglich, CIO.
Members of the Green Terra project, McDaniel’s latest effort to be me more environmentally friendly, and others brought the idea to people who run various labs and students who often use them. None of them complained, Iglich said.
This new plan, sparked by the college’s effort to go green, is in response to wasteful printing by students, whether for personal use or for clubs and organizations, Iglich said. Subsequently, the electronic costs and continually updating machinery have skyrocketed.
Starting with the major labs (i.e. the Writing Center and Library), the January term will be the trial run for this new implementation, Iglich added.
Many pieces of salvaged paper with little printed on one side will be placed in the printers across campus for the trial run.
This plan was initiated after growing concern that 50 percent of pages printed on campus machines are wasted, Iglich said. The cause for the waste? After talking to members of the college community, Iglich suspects that students hit print more than once and print brochures and fliers for clubs and organizations instead of using the copy center. Ultimately, the frequent printing heats up the machines and drains toner and ink cartridges.
Without actual print counters, the number of pages used is only an informal estimate, Iglich explained. With printing budgets up nearly $10,000 over last year (actual physical cost, excluding energy costs), this money “could very well have been used in other ways,” she added.
To implement print counters, the college will on need to invest a few thousand dollars on the software, Iglich said, and that software should pay for itself in less than a year. Once new software is installed in computer labs, each time someone hits the print option on the computer, a box will pop up and ask for a student ID number and a universal password (the one for email, Blackboard, and Archway) before processing the print job.
Many schools across the nation, including William and Mary, Carlton and University of Maryland, have implemented this change both in an effort to go green and to compensate for wasted paper in labs, Iglich explained.
“If they don’t have it, they’re on the verge or asking other schools about charging for printing in labs.”
An amenity which many students take for granted, free printing is a luxury that McDaniel College can no longer support, she added.
Though no more than 5-10 percent of students copy an outrageous amount, Iglich said: “Everyone else has to pay for it.”
As a side note, she added that McDaniel’s policy is probably one of the most generous of any schools that implements this additional charge to students.
Iglich said the faculty involved polled a variety of students emphasizing the last thing on their mind is trying to prevent or prohibit work. And all students supported the effort.
Regardless of the positive feedback she received, the first reaction of most students when told of this plan was one of severe and virtually unwavering disgust.
Responses like “We pay $30,000 a year to go here, and now they’re adding another expense to our tuition!” or “What the f**k?!” or “They can’t do that!”
But once informed of the situation, most changed their reaction to a more understanding, “Ok, I guess I can handle that.”
Sophomore Sarah Hughes said, “People waste so much paper. They kill trees and print more than they need. Also they don’t offer front to back copying, and no one recycles.”
Junior Neal Marcello said that considering we get 400 copies for free before being charged, “That’s plenty.”
“Recycling bins are everywhere on the Carlton campus—people harass you if you don’t recycle, just as much as if you refuse to vote,” said sophomore Ellie Camlin. “They’ve even started composting,” she added with a laugh.
Currently, Internet Technology workers are setting up the server and program where over the next few months many test runs will occur. But students will be notified well in advance about the fee-for-printing plan through campus-wide emails.