It’s a familiar story. A student finishes a paper with only 10 minutes to spare and runs to the nearest printer, only to find it hopelessly jammed.
He or she fires off a barely coherent email to the professor and sprints to class, arriving sweaty and panting, only to hear that Dr. So-and-so doesn’t accept electronic submissions.
We at The Butler Collegian believe that Butler University must either keep the printers better maintained—which includes better technical staffing—or enforce wider-spread use of Blackboard and other methods of electronic submissions.
Maybe we only notice it when it doesn’t work properly, but it seems like there are never enough printers working.
And when they don’t, students could wait upwards of an hour for someone to fix it.
The problem is compounded by these two factors: Students struggle to find a way to print and aren’t always offered other ways to turn things in.
Printing might seem like a minor issue, but it affects every single student.
It can be the difference between getting credit for an assignment and failing.
Email is nothing new, and yet some professors refuse to accept digital copies of assignments.
Sometimes this makes sense; not every assignment can be digital, and not every professor has the resources to print out 40 term papers.
They might find more paper in the budget, however, if students did not print as much.
Butler definitely has the resources to help cover some of these concerns—they’re already paying to fill the student printers.
And for every paper that can’t be submitted digitally, there’s one that easily could be.
The university should consider redirecting their student paper budget.
If the administration pushes electronic submission, they will still have the paper—and the professors will have ample oppurtunity to use it.
As going green becomes a larger focus for many Americans, it becomes even more relevant for Butler to focus on digital submissions.
And if the administration thinks print credits are important, they should make sure that those credits are usable.
Students are familiar with the scenario of a jammed printer maliciously swallowing a dozen points from PrintSmart, deaf to agonized cries.
If poorly maintained printers are the norm, the print credits may not accurately represent student paper usage.
The university has multiple solutions available to them.
They could place a technician in the Atherton Union computer lab who made sure the printer ran properly.
Butler could add this position, and perhaps make more efforts to keep their hardware up and running on a regular basis.
Or the university could take a running leap into the future and wring students’ money’s worth out of Blackboard and Dropbox
If faculty and staff need more supplies to print out all of those digital copies, Butler will probably find students’ lack of consumption will replace the professors’ infamously depleted paper rations.