Processing the printer points

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Computing services has introduced a new printing points system that will provide them with statistics about energy consumption while also making it possible for students to print across campus with color printing options. The program will allow students to use any network printers from the wireless network.

Contrary to rumor, the program was not started by a student comp; rather, it came about as the college’s agreement with a supplying company reached its expiration. There was a need to provide adequate printing and copying services and a desire to provide a printing environment with greater access to public printers.

In order to test the benefits of such a program, a system was recently put in place that provides students with 1,600 printer points per semester, equal to about 500 sheets of paper. The system also allows the option of requesting more points from user services if necessary.

For some students, the problems of the system outweigh the potential benefits.

Austin Becker, ’13, dislikes the program.

“I need to print out notes for my biology class, about fifteen pages per class and I need to print out study guides,” Becker said. “I don’t think I will be able to make it through the semester. I understand that they are trying to save but it still sucks.”

Jessica Markiewicz, ’11, is also having some issues with the new system.
“I think the new print system seems like a good idea in theory, but I know it has caused a lot of anxiety among students,” Markiewicz said. “Since a lot of class readings are posted on Sakai, we have to choose between reading articles online, some of which are really long and hard on the eyes, and not having a hard copy to reference during class discussion, or not having enough to print essays. The print system needs to align itself with the demands placed upon students by professors.”

Other students are more optimistic about the program, such as Marla Sacks, ’13.

“I believe that the printing points system is a good system in practice and after the kinks are resolved, will prove to be successful in making students accountable for their printing in addition to supporting the college’s sustainability efforts,” Sacks said.

Extra points do not cost money. Students can request points online or by calling Ext. 2755. Students may  be questioned if they request extra points to help user services fully understand the printing needs of the community.  Color printing is also free, but will cost students 10 points to print a single-sided sheet and 9 points per side for a double-sided color print.

“If printing on campus is responsible and generally within limits then there will be few benefits to any type of fee for printing,” said Director of User Services James Fadden.

The program has been successful at solidifying goals of sustainability.

“There is work yet to be done to make the system more user-friendly, to continue to be aligned with community needs, and to engage in conversations of sustainability,” Fadden said. “All of this will require ongoing conversations to make sure the printing system is aligned appropriately within campus culture.”