Students act fast against new university printing rules
As of Aug. 31, full-time students using the university’s printers may only print 400 pages per semester for free.
Use more paper than that and the university will charge five cents per page printed. The money will be deducted from the students’ Pirate’s Gold account.
Part-time students are allotted 200 free pages per semester, according to a broadcast e-mail sent on Aug. 26.
According to Richard Stern and Michael Taylor, heads of the Digital Sustainability Committee, last year the university’s printers used in excess of three million pages, 80 percent of which were used in library.
“We wanted to find out what we could do to lower that number,” Stern, who is also a university librarian, said.
Stern and Taylor said that the effort to reduce wasted paper originally began as a student-run grassroots movement towards making the university greener a few years ago. According to Taylor, the students bought the issue to Univresity President Monsignor Sheeran, who then charged the university with that same goal.
The Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable originally tapped Stern and Taylor to head the Digital Sustainability Committee last year. The roundtable asked the committee to look into using teaching and technology to make Seton Hall a greener place.
Stern said that he saw the amount of paper students were printing in the library and thought that there had to be something the university could do to effectively reduce that number.
“There are many universities that don’t give students any free printing,” Taylor said. “Paper is one of the most polluting industries in the United States.”
Stern and Taylor said that they originally decided upon 200 pages per semester after talking to various administrators and faculty. However, the TLTR decided to up the number to 400 for full-time students.
“(In order to) err on the side of caution,” Taylor said.
Not everybody is happy with the new limit, though, and the Student Government Association is currently working on a bill that will increase the paper limit.
The movement, spearheaded by Arts and Sciences Senator Dana Kappel, will up the paper limit to 1,000 for full-time students and 500 for part-time students.
“We came up with this number because of it is high enough where we can be agreeable to negotiations without compromising the original purpose of the bill,” Melissa Boege, an Arts and Sciences senator for the SGA, said.
Additionally, the bill includes a provision to ask faculty to consider the printing limit when assigning lengthy articles and to reconsider banning laptops in the classroom.
According to Boege, the third provision of the bill is “an idea as to how Executive Board members of clubs and organizations could go about printing materials for their organizations without it interfering with their personal paper limits.”
Boege said that the solution suggested in the resolution is to install a printer in the SGA office.
“The basic idea is that club E-Board members could come during SGA office hours and print their materials, which would be supervised by SGA E-Board members and senators,” Boege said, adding that there would be a system put in place to ensure the printer was only used for club materials and not personal use.
Taylor and Stern agreed that they were open to compromise on the number, but that they also wanted to see the data for this semester in order to better analyze the amount of paper used.
“(By swiping the card) you might be more aware of how much you are printing,” Taylor said.
While Taylor and Stern said they were more than willing to work with the SGA and students, they also said that they have to balance the needs of the students with the goal of being more environmentally friendly.
Boege added that while some students have majors that require very little paper usage, others have majors or have joined activities that require a lot of printing.
Both parties agree that their numbers are estimates and probably will need some tweaking in the future.
They also agree that faculty should help with the new printing restrictions.
According to Boege, the bill to increase the printing limit has been drafted and is in the revisionary process. Boege said that the bill sponsors are hoping to present it at the Sept. 14 meeting.
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.