PrintSense has successful start, saves a million sheets of paper

One semester after the christening of the College’s new printer-use monitoring program PrintSense, the office of Information Technology (IT) hails it as a tentative success, citing a million-page reduction in printing from last fall.

“I think overall it went pretty well,” Frank Nardozza, assistant director of Access Technology, said. According to statistics provided by Nardozza, the Fall 2005 semester saw 1.5 million pages being printed in the campus’s computer labs – this in comparison to the 2.5 million pages printed in Fall 2004 and the 2.2 million in Fall 2003. This equates to a reduction of 4.75 tons of paper from last fall.

“We wanted to reduce waste, basically,” Nardozza said. “We reduced printing by over one million pages; that’s a 41 percent reduction.”

As students are by now aware, PrintSense imposes a 600-page limit on students’ printing. If students go above their limit, they are charged five cents per page – a necessary evil, according to Nardozza.

In the past, Nardozza said, IT has been notified of such abuses as two lab printers tied up printing complete copies of the Bible.

IT was cautious to call the program a full-blown success. “I want to see a full year,” Jeff Kerswill, director of User Support Services, said. “We may have cut back 41 percent, but it may increase. We don’t know.”

Nardozza, however, didn’t expect to see much fluctuation in the future. “I don’t think they’ll go down,” he said. “This really was our goal.”

“We don’t want to charge,” he added. “We want people to be responsible.”

According to Nardozza, savings from reduced printing will go toward operations costs. He noted that PrintSense was not devised as a money-making venture, but rather as a means of deferring costs. “We have to work with a fixed budget,” Nardozza said. “We were subsidizing the budget from other IT project lines (to pay for printing).”

Nardozza pointed not only to overzealous printing in campus computer labs as the compelling need for PrintSense, but also to an increase in the cost of printing supplies. According to Nardozza, the cost of paper has increased approximately 40 cents per ream in recent years, while the price of toner cartridges has jumped $35.

For the most part, students seem to have complied with the program. According to Nardozza’s figures, of the 6,205 users created on the system, 93 percent of them stayed within the 600-page limit. “I think the 93 percent really says it all,” Nardozza said.

As for the seven percent who went above the limit, three percent printed between 600 and 700 pages, two percent printed between 700 and 800 pages and two percent printed more than 800 pages.

Some students still have their complaints about the program. “When I would print things, the printer would print out blank pages or skip pages and not print them at all, but I would be charged for them anyway,” Marianne Keane, senior psychology major, said. “I’m sure I could’ve brought the messed up pages to some office or something and then they could have reimbursed me, but I didn’t really care that much and I didn’t have the time anyway,” she added.

Indeed, according to Nardozza, IT has addressed the issue of reimbursements, citing approximately 100 credit requests during the Fall semester. “We have not denied a credit request,” he said.

Despite her grievance, Keane was pleased with the program’s results. “I really do think that the program is good though, because it did save so much paper,” she said.

Likewise, Kerswill was impressed with students’ receptiveness to the change. “Students seem to have adjusted really well,” he said.