This year, the Butler University PrintSmart program put into effect a paper allocation project to raise awareness about how much paper is wasted by students on campus on a daily basis.
The idea for this program developed because Butler was, until now, one of the few schools without a paper accounting program.
“The idea has been floating around for about five years,” Project Manager Tyler Johnston said. “Most other schools do print accounting, even most high schools even do it, so we were kind of out of the norm as far as not having allotments for students.”
Because it is unusual for a university to go without a paper allotment program, Information Technology (IT) began to seriously look into the program’s necessity during the fall of 2009.
IT’s newly purchased program shows students exactly how much paper they are using. The system shows not only the physical amount of paper used, but also its impact on the environment in terms of carbon emissions, the number of trees lost and energy used.
Johnston said he hopes the program will show the students that there has been a lot of carelessness in printing on campus.
“We’d seen a huge increase in the amount of waste that people were leaving,” Johnston said. “People would print a document and never actually pick it up from the printer.”
Freshman Ashanti Banks, said she doesn’t feel the allotments are necessarily a bad thing.
“[The allotments] seem like enough to print out papers and assignments,” Banks said. “It makes people think about what they print and whether it’s really that important.”
In January 2010, the PrintSmart software was installed to monitor students’ printing.
In August 2010, the PrintSmart allotment program was initiated.
Sophomore Sarah Ferry said, not all aspects of the program, such as the number of pages allotted, have been scrutinized enough.
“It’s going to be case-by-case really,” Ferry said. “There are just a lot of factors involved.”
Students in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) receive 4,000 pages, while all other students receive 1,200 pages.
“The amount of paper that [COPHS] students were printing threw off the campus average so much that it really just made sense to apportion the totals separately,” Johnston said.
He said part of COPHS students’ additional fee for the Mobile Computing Program goes toward the additional paper and ink.
Junior Yael Kurganoff said she thinks the allocation numbers should be based off the student’s department.
“I think they need to see per department how much paper is used,” Kurganoff said. “If they could do a study on what each college prints off, that would be interesting to see.”
Other students like sophomore Doug Johnson, a music education major, said that the amount allotted should be plenty for most students.
“I think unless you are actually wasting your printing, you should have plenty to last,” Johnson said.
Because this is a trial year for PrintSmart, students who do run over their allotment will not be charged any additional fees.