By Maya Lowenstein
When the clock hits 6:50 p.m. on a Monday night, those who find themselves in the general proximity of a campus printer might be faced with a line of five or six students in front of them, waiting to print something before seminar. Slowly, the line dwindles as students give up, walk away without the requisite papers and proceed to hide for the duration of a three-hour seminar, lacking their assigned reading or assignment.
Most students know the difficulties of printing on campus, from the frustration of finding out that both printers in Gund Commons are out of order to waiting in the library to print a single page. Kenyon’s Library and Information Services (LBIS) is attempting to combat this by bringing new printers to campus.
According to a Student-Info email sent over Thanksgiving break by Director of User Services Paul Mollard, “Beginning in early December, Kenyon’s public Canon printers will be replaced with new Ricoh multi-function printer/copiers … a new method of sending and releasing documents will be initiated.”
According to Helpline Manager and LBIS staffer Brandon Warga, the most immediate reason for implementing a new system was due to the fact that the “lease cycle on our Canon printers was coming to an end.”
Helpline employee Edgar Martin ’17 explained that the new system will consist of “printing to one queue on your computer and from there, you can go up to any single printer, tap your K-Card or enter in your [login] credentials and you can go ahead and print out everything you want.”
Warga cites reducing time and paper waste as a benefit of the new system. “When the Canon printers that we have now were first brought to campus, we found that students really took to using them between copying, scanning to email and printing and the overall print numbers increased,” Warga explained.
According to Vice President for LBIS Ronald Griggs, student printer use has increased over the last few years, which he said “is an interesting phenomenon because the number of students hasn’t changed.” There has also been a shift towards reading class materials on personal computers and tablets.
“Fifteen to 20 percent of print jobs never get picked up, and in 2013-2014, there was 35 percent [higher] cost for printing than the previous year,” Griggs said. “We thought that if we moved to a system where you actually have to release your job and you’re right there when it comes out, the number of pages wasted will go down and it will save the College money.”
Warga explained that in the past, “broken printers were repaired without the queue being cleared and print jobs that were sent hours before would come out, which would generate a lot of waste.”
“Students notified us that they weren’t happy with the ecological implications of the waste or being in line behind a print job that nobody would pick up,” Warga said.
Not only is the new system more ecologically efficient, but it is also more time efficient. “Students will be able to send multiple print jobs at a time without having to interrupt their work, and they can retrieve their documents up to two hours after at any printer,” Warga said. The new printers are faster and will cut down on the “printer dash” that occurs when students click print and immediately run to the printer in order to avoid the inevitable line.
The transition to the new printers will be completed by the start of the coming spring semester for all nine public printer locations, including Gund Commons and Olin-Chalmers Library.