Section: News

LBIS: free student printing presents cost, waste

Though no changes have yet been put to paper, Kenyon students may soon find themselves completing their schoolwork under a new printing regime.

At Student Council’s weekly meeting on Sunday, Ron Griggs, vice president for Library and Information Services (LBIS), said that, though usage of printing paper has decreased over the past year, it remains high.

In November and December 2014, LBIS installed new printers that operate on a server requiring students to sign in with K-Cards to print, a move intended to reduce print waste.

The number of pages printed at the library has decreased by 14 percent, but Griggs estimated the College still uses the equivalent of about 90 trees per semester, according to the Student Council minutes.

Griggs presented the findings of an internal analysis conducted by LBIS, in which the researchers found that students use an average of $26 worth of printer paper per semester, or 1600 pages.

The probe also found that seniors tend to print the most number of pages.

The library’s administration is now considering how other colleges manage the use of printer paper on their campuses, which may ultimately lead to a decision about whether to implement a quota system for printing to help contain usage, though LBIS has not yet reached a concrete decision.

“We now have two semesters of very detailed information about printing that we’ve never had before,” Griggs wrote in an email to the Collegian.

“The data shows just how much students (and the Kenyon community as a whole) print.”

Griggs added that LBIS will continue to collect data.

Griggs and Helpline Manager Brandon Warga, however, caution students against believing that quotas or fees will soon be enacted.

“There are no plans to enact a quota on student printing,” Helpline Manager Brandon Warga wrote in an email to the Collegian.

“I hope the notes from this conversation weren’t misinterpreted to suggest that a print quota at Kenyon is imminent.” 

“I’ve shared this data with Student Council, with the Sustainability Council, with the Senior Staff, and with the faculty,” Griggs wrote. “More thought is needed before we jump to any immediate policy change.”

Even so, Griggs wrote that  the current printer network would allow for an easy transition to a quota system that could charge student accounts when students exceed their printing limit.

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