This fall, WCU implemented an initiative reducing the amount of paper students can print at campus printing facilities and computer labs. The new standard lowered each student’s weekly printing allowance from 300 to 125 sheets of paper. As a result of the initiative, a counter is now displayed on all student use computers at the various computer labs across campus, monitoring students’ “balance” and letting them know how many of their 125 weekly sheets of paper have been used. A “Duplex Feature” of the initiative allows students to print double sided sheets in the Anderson Hall computer labs, while students may only be able to print 125 actual sheets, duplex printing allows 250 pages weekly.
Paul Gargiulo, coordinator of the Academic Computing Center, stressed that the regulation was created NOT with the intent to “save money” or “cut costs”, but has been developed over time as part of an “eight year campus wide initiative to eliminate the tremendous amount of wasted resources.”
“We want to make sure we can continue to provide resources.we’re not really cutting it (printing), we’re finding a way to accommodate student needs with less waste,” said Gargiulo. The ACC director said that “the ultimate path is to encourage students to duplex,” using the feature in Anderson Hall that enables students to use both sides of the paper, essentially doubling the weekly printing allowance.
For the past eight years, WCU has been struggling to eliminate wasted resources.
Gargiulo explained that the “paper cut initiative” started in 2002, when student printing was limited to 75 pages a day.
It was discovered that 75 pages daily was not accommodating to the needs of students, and discourse between SGA and WCU faculty lead to a change in Fall 2009, allowing students to print 300 pages a week, instead of 75 daily.
Significant waste of resources was still a problem. Clayton Garthwait, the Assistant Professor of Library Services and Access services Librarian commented on the issue, noting “bins filled with Facebook print outs, personal images and other discarded documents” commonly cluttered the printing labs.
Gargiulo said that the 2010 decision to allow 125 sheets printed a week was consistent with data formulated when monitoring printing trends. from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010, studies indicated that students printed an average of 85 pages a week, with peak numbers reaching averages of 125.
In 2010, the SGA, the WCU Library, and the Academic Computing Center used the aforementioned data to create the WCU current policy.
Garthwait said that the WCU’s goal is not to punish students; rather, “the goal is to be as accommodating as possible to the needs of students while finding a balance between resource needs and waste. we want students to be more conscientious of printing what they actually need.”
Student reaction to the initiative has varied.
Dom Frittelli, a senior, said that it was “limiting” and that he “doesn’t understand why we pay all this tuition but have our printing limited.”
Corey Barr, a junior, said that he thinks, “West Chester is trying to rip us off by saving money and cutting costs.”
Students who are displeased with the current WCU “paper cut” may find a comparative analysis of other PA schools helpful.
A source from the Bloomsburg University Library said that their students are allowed to print 500 pages per semester with a four cent charge being added to their tuition bill for each additional page.
Sources at other Pennsylvania Universities gave comparative insight into policy as well. Temple University’s library reported that students are allowed 300 pages a semester and charged for every additional sheet.
Villanova University’s library reported that students begin each semester with a $60 balance and print at six cents a page, buying cards to replenish their printing account once the limit has been reached.
Penn State University’s library reported that students are allowed 110 pages per semester, with a five cent charge for every additional page. University of Pennsylvania’s library reported that students are allowed no free printing, but deposit money into an account, and are charged eight cents a page.
With the current 2010 initiative, WCU students are allowed to print 1875 pages per semester, or 3750 if they use the duplex feature, and are subject to no additional fees.
Taking the details mentioned above into account, students may find WCU’s printing limit more reasonable than before.
Matthew Boyd is a practicum student. He an be reached at MB634884@wcupa.edu.