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Printing Costs on Campus

Billy Achnitz

As many of you have probably noticed, C.W. Post has implemented a new printing policy in all of the computer labs around campus. In my 5th year at Post, I have to say that I was a little perturbed when I was asked to break a dollar to only print 1 page during the first week of school. However, I took my 9 dimes and figured I could use those dimes the next time I went to print something out.

I also reflected on the amount of good that this policy brings to the campus in terms of sustainability. In past years, I have noticed numerous times that students have taken advantage of the printers by printing out eBooks and PowerPoint presentations consisting of 50 slides or more. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the computer lab sifting through papers that people left there in order to find the one page that I printed out. If you have been a Post student for more than one year, I am sure you have had a similar experience.

Although this policy virtually fixes the problem of paper waste, many students are angry that they are now being charged for those services, particularly after it has been free for so long. Senior Early Childhood Education major, Crystal Lopez, said “As a senior at Post, why is it that our incoming class had no sort of incentive, yet now we have to pay for our own paper?” Senior Music Education major, Mikhail Brown, says that “It doesn’t make sense that we’re being charged because in recent years it was free and we pay enough in tuition already.” Senior Public Relations major, Kiara Rondon also raised similar objections, saying “My thesis is over 30 pages and now its ridiculous that I have to pay to print my thesis out after I already pay over 40,000 dollars each year.”

Thinking that this might only be an issue for seniors, I interviewed how some freshman feel about the new policy and they also expressed similar views. Raheem Barnes, a freshman who is undeclared, said “We pay thousands of dollars for an education, but why should we have to pay for printing that should be free?” Fredy Cruz, a freshman accounting major, said that “If they’re concerned about wasting paper and ink then they should tell us how much we should print.”

In previous years, students were allowed to print up to 10 pages a day. However, this was rarely implemented due to the fact that there wasn’t always a staff member monitoring the computer lab. Now, the new software will make it to where the IT employee must approve your printing job. Freshman Accounting major, Katlyn Gernavage, a work-study employee of the Hillwood Computer Lounge, said “I understand the need for this program to approve the jobs because some people print stuff out on accident so it is a good program to cut down on waste, but I think anything under 10 pages should be free.” Katlyn also added that “Everybody has been pretty angry about it,” meaning the new policy.

According to Nancy Marksbury, the Deputy CIO, over 100,000 dollars was spent in paper and toner last academic year. Additionally, IT estimated that 30 percent of jobs printed never even left the lab. “What we found was an enormous amount of waste. Online books and websites were printed and left behind.” Nancy Marksbury also added that while “surveying other institutions on Long Island, we found that C.W. Post-and the IT labs in particular- were the only lab environments not charging for printing.”

Although that is true, I did some research as well into other Long Island schools and found varying results. Adelphi University allows students 500 free copies per semester. However, there will be a charge of 5 cents for each additional black and white copy and 15 cents for each additional color copy after those limits have been reached. Hofstra, on the other hand, has software called PridePrint that you install on your laptop and you must add money to your student account in order to print. Hofstra also charges 10 cents per black and white copy. Stonybrook probably has the fairest system in place regarding their printing policy. Each student gets a 2.00 daily balance, which equates to a daily quota of 40 pages. If you don’t use your 40 pages, however, they rollover to the next day. But this system resets itself on Saturday morning as well as Monday morning. So, they will only rollover for that week, and then it goes back to 40 pages again.

It should be noted that there will be a print amnesty period. Nancy Marksbury said, “No printing charges will be assessed during mid-terms and finals.” Therefore, students will catch some sort of break. Maksbury also added, “No charge will be assessed for printing documents from MyLIU such as class schedules, financial information, transcripts, and degree audits.” The IT lab also offers free services like faxing to anywhere in the continental US and scanning to email. So, the student body isn’t getting completely shafted in terms of having to pay for those extra services as well.

Another concern raised by Kiara Rondon was the lack of student input that went into the new policy. She said,  “The students make the school, so something like this should have been brought to SGA to get student input. They didn’t give us any type of message.” I didn’t think any sort of message was sent out either, but then I spoke with IT employee Monet Barley and she insisted that an email was sent out to all students regarding the policy. Sure enough she was right and she helped me find the email in my Trash Folder on my MyLIU account and even offered to print it out for me. I asked her if there would be a charge and she jokingly replied, “I might have to charge you a dime.” So, as the policy may not have been advertised very well, all of us did indeed get an email informing us of the changes. That email was sent out September 2nd, Subject “Welcome to the fall semester from IT”.

I believe Nick Ciborowski, a Junior Broadcasting major put it best. “I understand why they implemented this policy because people always take advantage of things that are free.” Unfortunately, many people did take advantage of the previous system and now we all have to pay for it with our dimes. So, a few tips for the computer labs. Don’t get mad at the work-study students. They can only help one person at a time. They did not implement this policy. So, do not take out your frustration on them. Carry 1 dollar bills on you because it will be hard to break a 20. And try and realize the good that will come out of this policy. I believe we will significantly reduce our environmental impact with this new policy. 

Perhaps, in the future, students and IT can work together on a system similar to those of Adelphi or Stonybrook, where a minimal amount of pages can be printed for free and then anything extra will be charged. Until then, save up those dimes and understand that we are literally paying now for the waste that others have done in the past.

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