The student printing limit for the Portland State computer labs has been reduced to a 500-page limit from last year’s 1000 pages as part of a plan to prevent waste of paper and use 100 percent recycled paper.
Though students previously needed to worry less about how many pages they print, PSU students and staff said large amounts of paper were being wasted and decided a lower limit would help prevent waste. The labs on campus now buy only 100 percent recycled paper, although they are still using leftover paper stock that is not 100 percent recycled.
"We met with a group of students [Advocates for Responsible Solutions] who were pretty passionate about this plan to conserve campus resources,” said Dan Ashcom, projects coordinator with User Support Services, adding that they met with the group numerous times over the last year. “They has some good ideas, and we decided to support their plan,” said Ashcom.
The plan was adopted by Office of Information Technologies and endorsed by the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) Student Senate.
The printing decrease comes after the incidental and technology fees for students have risen significantly from last year – the average 12-credit, residential undergraduate paying $48 more per term. These fees are decided upon by student government and approved by President Dan Bernstine.
"The Student Fee Committee considers a very comprehensive budget, but they don’t typically look at really specific services like the printing quota when making decisions on fees. If the department that provided the service asked for more money, that’s something they would consider," said Courtney Morse, student body president.
”The take from the sustainability group was that the extra cost of the [100 percent] recycled paper would be recouped by setting a lower printing limit,” Ashcom said. “The average student last year printed about 205 pages. We thought it wouldn’t affect most students, and it would make sense for environmental sustainability,"
According to statistics from the Office of Information Technologies, about 40 percent of the paper people print in campus labs is left unclaimed and recycled. The tighter limit on student printing may prompt a more frugal attitude for students deciding whether to click the print button in campus labs.
Once the 500-page limit is exceeded, students are assessed a fee of 2.5 cents for every single-sided page and 5 cents for every double-sided page. Charges are applied automatically to students’ university accounts.
The Office of Information Technologies said that the major cost in printing is not the paper, but the carbon toner used in applying ink to the page. Because of this, students are charged by how many sides of paper they print, not by how much paper they consume.
Myeonwoo Lin, who has worked at the Broadway computer lab for over a year, said that he does not see anyone getting mad about the stricter limit in student printing. “If you go over the limit, it can get really expensive, but it’s also expensive for PSU to print all that,” he said
Students can check how many pages are left on their term limit by logging in to webmail, clicking the “My Account” icon, and then clicking “Quota.” Unused printing privileges do not spill over to the next term, and the quota is reset to 500 at the beginning of each term.
The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science has an entirely different printing policy. Students of this college at PSU receive a $20 printing credit and are charged for printing that exceeds this allotment in their labs located in the Engineering Building and the Fourth Avenue Building.