Forum

Counterpoint: Printing quotas really aren't that bad

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Since I?ve come to campus, one of the biggist complaints students have had about CMU Computing is printing.
In the past, two bulk printers, known as Pear and Grapenut, were housed in the basement of Cyert Hall. It was hoped that cluster printers would be able to cover smaller print jobs, leaving Pear and Grapenut to handle bulk print jobs. This ideal was not realized.
According to Computing Services? three years of research, Cyert and Baker printers alone printed more than twice the amount of Pear and Grapenut, with 50,000 and 20,000 pages, respectively. In response, a new printing system was set up to maximize print distribution and better control the number of wasted pages students print.
Computing Services was forced to make some well-researched changes. First, Pear and Grapenut were retired, as despite all their available information, they were underused. Many students never had an opportunity to use them and the majority simply didn?t even know they existed.
Computing Services then installed a new printer kiosk in the basement of the University Center. Each cluster has also received new printer kiosks which can print considerably faster than their predecessors, alleviating long lines at cluster printers.
Most important, though, is the new printing quota. In the past, students had been able to run large documents to any printer on campus from a remote location. To students waiting in a cluster for a document, standing in line for a phantom student to retrieve their print job was unfair and infuriating. Even worse, students would often never show for the papers they had printed.
An even bigger problem was when a printout would fail. Fairly often, a student would print a large document ? say, 200 pages ? and, for some reason, the printer-computer communication would fail, resulting in hundreds of pages being wasted.
The waste of paper was completely unacceptable. With the new quota system, students must be present to start their printout, ensuring that those who are printing do not have to wait for phantom students and making sure that students are available to cancel jobs, if necessary. Michael Rivera, ccon and Windows Technical Consultant, said, ?I would like to point out that since the new printing system was established, I have had to recycle 500 sheets of paper. I used to recycle that much every shift, if not more.?
This allotment serves two purposes. Students will pay more attention to their printouts, as they have a limited free supply, and it allows for students who don?t need to print not to pay for printing they?re not going to use.
I understand that some majors may need to print large numbers of documents, but it?s part of your tract. The bulk of students on campus are forced to buy textbooks or supplies, which may cost in excess of $200 apiece. So think about it this way: I paid over $500 for my textbooks last semester. You spend an extra $40 on the paper you need to print your texts instead of buying books. Overall, the system is beneficial for you. You?re still saving money on buying a printer, so grow up ? and use the benefits of the new printing system.