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2012 Fall Issue 1 (September 21, 2012)

McClellan: Printing and Sustainability

September 24, 2012
By Michael McClellan

I’m sure that many of you have logged into campus computers since arriving back on campus, only to have a moment of panic when you couldn’t locate the GoPrint button to print that reading or paper. While I don’t know if many of you actually mourned the loss of GoPrint, what I do know is that we now have its successor, PaperCut, on all ITS-managed computers. Late last spring, the CSA Senate had a meeting with ITS to discuss the details of such a program. Many concerns were brought up at that time, and I don’t believe all of them have been answered. Here are some of the chief concerns that CSA Senate, acting as the elected voice of the student body, would like to help solve:

Is this change for sustainability reasons? PaperCut will get people to think about how much printing they do, which is great. There’s a key piece of the program that severely undercuts its sustainable goals: as CSA Senate understands, students pay per side printed, not per page. The allotment per term is 800 black-and-white sides, whether they are on 800 one-side pages or 400 two-side (duplex) pages. This may save toner, whose production and use can be linked to environmental damage, but the reasons we’ve heard so far have revolved around saving paper.

What if I’m doing comps and have to print other people’s to critique? This is a concern that we’ve heard especially from senior humanities majors. One idea is offering a discounted printing package as a “textbook” for certain classes such as comps. Another is to get departments to help contribute.

What if I can’t at all afford to pay for printing past my quota? This concern is perhaps the most salient, especially in the wake of cuts to TRiO and its textbook lending library. What does it say about our system when students may not be able to afford basics considered “necessary” in courses such as readings and assignments?

Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more information regarding PaperCut from ITS and the Dean of the College. I will send a survey to all of you toward the end of the term so that Senate and I may be best poised to have productive conversations about the most important issues regarding PaperCut. I want to make sure that we all respond to specific concerns that students may have, but only after we have all had a chance to use PaperCut. Keep using it, keep telling us about it.

Only by working together, can we make Carleton better. 

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