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Printing policy shows improvement


The student printing policy began in the 2011-2012 academic school year. Since its implementation by students have printed 149,585 fewer pages. | Melissa Torgerson

Students printed 149,585 fewer pages compared to this time last semester.

In a joint effort, IT Services and the CSB sustainability office instituted a student printing policy beginning with the 2011-2012 academic school year. This policy affected students, student clubs and student organizations. The policy created big changes, as student printing overall decreased by 36 percent.

“We really went into it having no idea how much we would save,” Judy Purman, CSB’s director or sustainability, said. “We were shocked at how much it went down.”

“Just putting a limit on it has halved printing on student printers,” Purman said.

IT Services approached Purman in 2010, which was also the Year of Sustainability at CSB/SJU, about instituting a printing policy. IT Services explored other school’s policies, as well as printing trends at CSB/SJU and tracking software.

IT Services utilizes a software program called PaperCut to track printing and was installed during the spring semester in 2011. The data collected is used to compare printing trends before and after the policy was implemented. Students can also track their own printing using PaperCut.

“For my major I have to print quite a bit,” said junior Nikki Orth, who is a communication and English double major. “It allowed to visualize how much I was printing.”

PaperCut shows the number of sheets, pages and trees used, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, which are expressed in carbon dioxide equivalents.

For instance, students saved 6.58 trees and printed 4,987 fewer pages per day this semester compared to last semester.

Students printing documents for class were not the biggest concern. Rather, there was a trend of students printing something off and not picking it up, in addition to downloading e-Books and then printing the entire book off on student printers.

While there were complaints from both students and faculty when the policy was first introduced, Purman said negative comments this year have been far and few between. She believes more professors are using Moodle or are encouraging students to bring laptops or tablets to class.

Overall, there’s been less printing from both students and faculty, said sophomore Tyler Olson, who is a lab assistant at the Clemens Library computer lab.

“There’s been a lot less printing this year,” Olson said.

The current policy gives each student and club $25 of printing. Each single-sided page costs 5 cents and a double-sided page costs 6 cents (or 3 cents per side), which translates to roughly 500 single-sided pages or 830 double-sided pages, according to the CSBSJU Student Printing Policy.

“I’m the first to admit, if there’s a huge document, I’ll print it,” Purman said. “But you can print responsibly. It’s not about not printing. It’s about thinking before you print.”

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